Back to Top skip to main content
GandS U.S. Immigration Logo
Feb 24, 2021

BREAKING NEWS: USCIS Extends Premium Processing for E-3 Australian Specialty Worker Petitions

Jonathan A. Grode

On February 24, 2021, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that it would immediately provide the option of Premium Processing for petitioners filing Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, requesting a change or extension of status to E-3 classification, which applies only to Australian nationals coming to the U.S. to perform services in a specialty occupation. The USCIS premium processing service allows petitioners to pay an additional filing fee of $2500 to ensure a government response within fifteen days. Until now, this service was not available for the E-3 category. 

An Australian citizen who is outside the United States may apply for an E-3 nonimmigrant visa directly through a U.S. consulate abroad, or, if the individual is already in the U.S., by filing a petition with USCIS. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous Australian citizens have been severely hindered in their ability to obtain E-3 status for extensions and changes of employer, as nearly all U.S. consulates have been closed to routine visa processing. In addition, processing through USCIS has been subject to extraordinarily long processing times, in some cases up to eight months or longer, forcing many to cease employment pending the outcome of their petitions.  This announcement by USCIS will therefore come as welcome relief to many Australians and their employers.

More details:

To benefit from this new service, an employer must file an E-3 application on Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker with USCIS and must show that the beneficiary:

  • Is a national of Australia;
  • Has a legitimate offer of employment in the United States;
  • Possesses the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials; and
  • Will fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation.

Want to learn more? Join us for our February Update / Live Q&A: U.S. Immigration for Australians with Aussie Recruit on Wednesday, February 24 from 10:30 PM – 11:15 PM EST. This event is free to attend, register here.

As always, Green and Spiegel will monitor this situation and provide updates as needed.  Please reach out here to discuss further.

Related Team

Jonathan Grode

Jonathan A. Grode



email Jonathan

Philadelphia (US Headquarters)
Providence (New England)

Full Biography

Jonathan A. Grode

Related Services:

Recent Blogs

Apr 13, 2021

F-1 Students Seeking Optional Practical Training Can Now File Form I-765 Online

On April 12. 2021 USCIS announced that F-1 students can now file Form I-765 Application for Employment Authorization online when applying for Pre-Completion OPT, Post-Completion OPT, or a 24-month OPT STEM extension. Learn more in this blog.

Apr 07, 2021

H, L, J-Visa Holders No Longer Suspended from Entry into the United States but Most Noncitizens Remain Subject to Travel Restrictions

Presidential Proclamation 10052, suspending H-1B, H-2B, J and L admissions, expired March 31, 2021. Ongoing 2019 novel coronavirus (“COVID-19”) public health travel restrictions remain in place requiring travelers from certain areas to qualify for national interest exceptions. U.S. Consulates are still operating at reduced levels and will have to work through backlogs as the pandemic ends. Learn more in this blog.

Mar 23, 2021

U.S. Restrictions on Travel from Canada to the United States

Restrictions on U.S. – Canadian border travel will continue for at least another month. It is possible to fly from Canada to the United States. Those flying into the U.S. must have a COVID-19 test and may need advance permission. Learn more in this blog.