The REAL ID Act of 2005 established a new non-immigrant visa category: “Reciprocal Visas for Nationals of Australia,” otherwise known as “E-3 Visas.” There are 10,500 E-3 visas allotted annually to qualified individuals.
Though the E-3 Visa is classified in the same category as E-1 (treaty trader) and E-2 (treaty investor) visas, E-3 visas share some similarities with H-1B Visas (workers in a specialty occupation). Therefore, the E-3 Visa can be understood as a slight hybrid between the two categories, and the E-3 visa has unique traits such as:
• An E-3 candidate can work for any qualified U.S. employer – the hiring company does not have to be owned by Australian nationals;
• An individual in E-3 status can file for H-1B status; and
• An annual cap that is separate from the annual H-1B cap.