E-3 Visa - Australian Professionals
The E-3 visa classification applies only to nationals of Australia, and their spouses and children. E-3 principal applicants must be going to the United States solely to work in a specialty occupation. The spouse and children need not be Australian citizens. However the U.S. does not recognize de facto relationships for the purposes of immigration, and to qualify as a spouse you will need a marriage certificate.
The E-3 visa is similar in many respects to an H-1B visa. Important differences include the fact that spouses of E-3 visa holders may work in the United States without restrictions, even if they are of a different nationality. The E-3 visa is renewable in two-year increments, and the application process is typically much quicker. Australian citizens applying for an E-3 visa are no longer subject to the annual H-1B visa cap; although there is a separate annual quota for E-3 visas. Visas issued to spouses and children are not included in the E-3 quota. Spouses and children are not required to be Australian citizens.
In advance of applying for an E-3 visa you may travel to the United States to search for a job or attend an interview. However, you cannot apply for the actual visa from within the United States. All visa applicants must appear at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad to apply, and first time E-3 visa applicants will need to apply in Australia.