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News:

FSIS website under construction
Starting September 20, 2013, we'll be making changes to the format of our website. We ask for your patience as this may be a lengthy process. Contact Signe at signen@hawaii.edu if you have problems with website functionality or navigation.

New I-94 procedure
From April 30, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will begin implementing a paperless I-94 procedure at U.S. air and sea ports of entry.

EB immigrant visa availability
U.S. Department of State's monthly Visa Bulletin


Maintaining E-3 Compliance



E-3 duration

E-3 extensions

Changes to E-3 employment

Reporting changes of home address to USCIS

Dual intent

Travel abroad & reentry to the U.S.

Part-time E-3 employment



E-3 duration [top]

The initial period of E-3 status can be for up to two years; subsequent E-3 extensions of up to two years at a time can be requested thereafter. Generally, there is no limit on the number of extensions that are possible, but E-3 status is intended for temporary employment.

Period of authorized stay

It is extremely important to be aware of the period of authorized stay on the employee's I-94 record or admission stamp. If the I-94/admission stamp expiration date will occur before the UH employment resignation date or E-3 approval notice end date AND if UH has not filed an E-3 extension with USCIS on his/her behalf, his/her E-3 status will end on the I-94/admission stamp date. As a result, the person must leave the U.S. on or before this date to avoid accruing unlawful presence.


See Terms and Concepts for information on the functions of other immigration documents.

See Ending E-3 Employment for information on completing an employee's E-3 status or employment at UH.



E-3 extensions [top]

Individuals may extend E-3 status through departure from and reentry to the U.S. from abroad with an E-3 visa OR by USCIS extension petition approval while present in the U.S. The UH department should submit an E-3 request to the college/school/unit Administrative/Personnel Officer (AO/PO). The AO/PO will review the request, attach any necessary documents, and send the complete request to FSIS.

Submitting a late request may result in an E-3 beneficiary being unable to continue employment and/or losing his/her legal immigration status in the U.S.

OPTION 1: Reenter the U.S. in E-3 status

UH departments should submit these types of requests to FSIS through their AO/PO no later than 45 days prior to the E-3 end date. The E-3 employee should depart the U.S. before his/her E-3 status end date (stated on his/her I-94 record) and then follow the E-3 entry procedures.

OPTION 2: UH files an E-3 petition with USCIS

Deadline to submit requests to FSIS

The AO/PO should submit an E-3 petition request to FSIS no later than 4 months prior to the E-3 end date. USCIS must receive the properly filed E-3 extension petition by the business day on or before the person's E-3 end date. If USCIS receives the extension petition late, he/she will no longer be in valid status and will begin accruing unlawful presence.

Premium Processing Service for E-3 petitions is not currently available. In cases where there is not enough time to obtain petition approval to continue E-3 employment beyond a certain date, E-3 entry, rather than an E-3 petition, would likely allow the employee to obtain the necessary work authorization on time.

E-3D dependents

Be sure to ask the employee whether he/she has any family members who will require E-3D dependent status or extensions.

Petition duration & timing of filing

UH can request up to 2-year periods on E-3 petitions. Departments may choose to request shorter durations per petition due to funding or contract periods. Generally, there is no limit on the number of extensions that are possible, but E-3 status is intended for temporary employment.

UH can submit E-3 petitions to USCIS up to 6 months prior to the current E-3 end date.

USCIS receipt

If an E-3 extension petition is properly filed with USCIS by the E-3 end date, USCIS will issue a receipt notice. The employee may remain in the U.S. while the extension is pending. However, if the E-3 extension petition is still pending when the prior E-3 approval period expires, the employee must stop working. Unlike other nonimmigrant statuses (e.g. H-1B, TN, etc.), the automatic 240-day extension of work authorization is not yet applicable for E-3 status holders.

USCIS processing time

  • Regular Processing: Normally takes 2-4 months on average.
  • Premium Processing Service: Not available for E-3 petitions.

See the USCIS Case Status Service website to check the status of pending petitions and to see average processing times.

USCIS approval

The employee's E-3 status will automatically continue upon approval of the E-3 extension petition. He/She does not need to leave the U.S. to apply for an E-3 visa and reenter the U.S. to continue the E-3 period.



Changes to E-3 employment [top]

E-3 approval is specific to the employer that filed the labor condition application (LCA) and/or petition and covers only the particular position for which the LCA/petition was filed.

New E-3 employer

If an E-3 employee accepts additional employment from another U.S. employer while he/she is employed by UH, the other employer must file an E-3 petition with USCIS to request concurrent E-3 authorization for him/her. Likewise, if he/she is leaving UH to work for another U.S. employer, that employer must submit an E-3 petition to USCIS requesting a change of employer or he/she must depart the U.S. and reenter with the new employer's LCA, offer letter, etc. In both cases, the person cannot begin working for the other employer if he/she only has E-3 authorization for UH employment.

Changes to current UH employment

If substantial changes to current UH employment will occur, prior authorization must be obtained before the changes take place. UH departments should notify FSIS immediately about impending substantial changes in the terms and conditions of an E-3 employee's appointment. Some examples of substantial employment changes include:

  • Changing from full-time to part-time or vice versa (e.g. 50% FTE to 100% FTE)
  • Appointment to a position with a new title (e.g. Junior Researcher to Assistant Researcher)
  • Moving to or adding a new work site
  • Significant changes to duties (e.g. taking on teaching)

NOTE: For non-union positions, FSIS may need to obtain a prevailing wage determination (PWD) prior to completing the E-3 LCA/petition. PWDs can take up to 3 months to obtain, so departments should allow extra time for these types of E-3 requests.

Prior authorization for substantial changes to E-3 employment can be obtained in one of two ways:

OPTION 1: Reenter the U.S. in E-3 status

The AO/PO should submit an E-3 entry request no later than 45 days prior to the planned departure date. After receiving the necessary documents for the change in employment, the employee should follow the E-3 entry procedures. The department should issue a letter explaining the changes to employment that he/she can present at the port of entry.

OPTION 2: UH files an E-3 petition with USCIS

Deadline to submit requests to FSIS

The AO/PO should submit an E-3 petition request to FSIS no later than 4 months prior to the E-3 end date. USCIS must approve the E-3 amendment petition before any changes to employment can take place.

Premium Processing Service for E-3 petitions is not currently available. The changes to employment may need to be delayed until petition approval is received. It may be quicker to receive authorization for the changes through E-3 entry (see above) instead.

E-3D dependents

Be sure to ask the employee whether he/she has any family members who will require E-3D dependent status or extensions.

Petition duration & timing of filing

UH can request up to 2-year periods on E-3 petitions. Departments may choose to request shorter durations per petition due to funding or contract periods. Generally, there is no limit on the number of extensions that are possible, but E-3 status is intended for temporary employment.

UH can submit E-3 petitions to USCIS up to 6 months prior to the current E-3 end date.

USCIS receipt

If an E-3 extension petition is properly filed with USCIS by the E-3 end date, USCIS will issue a receipt notice. The employee may remain in the U.S. while the extension is pending. However, if the E-3 extension petition is still pending when the prior E-3 approval period expires, he/she must stop working. Unlike other nonimmigrant statuses (e.g. H-1B, TN, etc.), the automatic 240-day extension of work authorization is not yet applicable for E-3 status holders.

USCIS processing time

  • Regular Processing: Normally takes 2-4 months on average.
  • Premium Processing Service: Not currently available for E-3 petitions.

See the USCIS Case Status Service website to check the status of pending petitions and to see average processing times.

USCIS approval

E-3 status will automatically continue upon approval of the E-3 petition. He/She does not need to leave the U.S. to apply for an E-3 visa and reenter the U.S. to continue the E-3 period.



Reporting changes of home address to USCIS [top]

E-3 employees and their E-3D dependents are required to report all changes of residential address to USCIS within 10 days of moving. The easiest way to report any changes is through the USCIS online change of address form. If an individual currently has an application pending at a USCIS Service Center, he/she should also contact the USCIS National Customer Service Center (toll-free number: 1-800-375-5283) to report the change.

Please also remember to notify FSIS about the employee's new address.



Dual intent [top]

Unlike H-1B classification, E-3 classification does not explicitly provide for dual intent. That is, when an individual applies for an E-3 visa, he/she must be able to demonstrate that he/she intends to leave the U.S. at the end of E-3 status. That being said, the filing of an immigrant petition or permanent labor certification on the person's behalf cannot be the sole reason for a denial of an E-3 visa or entry to the U.S.



Travel abroad & reentry to the U.S. [top]

If an E-3 employee is planning to travel abroad, UH departments should issue him/her an employment confirmation letter to facilitate reentry to the U.S.

The employee will need the following items to reenter the U.S. in E-3 status:

  • Copy of a valid E-3 approval notice (if E-3 status was obtained/extended by petition)
  • Valid E-3 visa in passport (see the U.S. Department of State's U.S. embassies and consulates website for visa application requirements and to make an appointment for a visa interview)
  • Passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the E-3 visa/approval notice end date (if the passport will expire before the E-3 end date, he/she may be granted a shorter period of stay, so it is best to renew the passport before reentry)
  • Employment confirmation letter from the UH department

If E-3D dependents are traveling abroad, each dependent will need the following items to reenter the U.S. in E-3D status:

  • Copy of E-3 worker's valid entry visa or E-3 approval notice(if E-3 status was obtained/extended by petition)
  • Valid E-3D visa in passport (N/A for Canadian passport-holders) (see the U.S. Department of State's U.S. embassies and consulates website for visa application requirements and to make an appointment for a visa interview.)
  • Passport valid for at least 6 months beyond the E-3 visa/approval notice end date (if a passport will expire before the E-3 end date, that person will be granted a shorter period of stay, so it is best to renew the passport before reentry)
  • Copy of marriage certificate for E-3D spouse
  • Copy of birth certificate for each E-3D child
  • Employment confirmation letter from the UH department (to show financial support)

Visas and/or approval notices will not guarantee entry to the U.S. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer at the port of entry will review all immigration documents and ask each person questions about his/her stay. These officers have the discretion to admit a person in E-3 status and any family members in E-3D status and may refer them to a more detailed secondary inspection.

When the E-3 employee is admitted into the U.S., his/her documents should be returned and he/she should receive an admission date stamp in his/her passport with the notations “E-3” (principal E-3 worker) or “E-3D” (dependents) and a date indicating the period he/she is authorized to stay in the U.S. He/she should also receive instructions on how to print an I-94 arrival record on CBP's I-94 website. The admission stamp with notations and the I-94 printout function as proof of admission to and legal immigration status in the U.S. In some cases, a person may be issued a paper I-94 at entry, but CBP is phasing out this process. If he/she is issued a paper I-94, that card is evidence of his/her legal status in the U.S.

When the E-3 employee is admitted into the U.S., his/her documents should be returned and he/she should receive an admission date stamp in his/her passport with the notations “E-3” (principal E-3 worker) or “E-3D” (dependents) and a date indicating the period he/she is authorized to stay in the U.S. He/she should also receive instructions on how to print an I-94 arrival record on CBP's I-94 website. The admission stamp with notations and the I-94 printout function as proof of admission to and legal immigration status in the U.S. In some cases, a person may be issued a paper I-94 at entry, but CBP is phasing out this process. If he/she is issued a paper I-94, that card is evidence of his/her legal status in the U.S.

E-3 employees and E-3D family members should keep copies of all passport biodata/expiration pages, visas, admission stamps, and I-94 records permanently in case any of the documents are lost or stolen.

Each time an E-3 employee and E-3D dependents reenter the U.S., please provide the following items to FSIS so we can update our files and check that they were properly admitted to the U.S.:

  1. Copy of both sides of the I-94 card or I-94 printout from CBP's I-94 website
  2. Copy of admission stamp with notations in passport
  3. Copy of E visa in passport
  4. Copy of passport biodata and expiration page (if new/renewed)
  5. Copies of #1-4 for each E-3D dependent (if applicable)

Traveling abroad while an E-3 extension is pending

An E-3 employee must be physically present in the U.S. at the time an extension of stay petition is filed, but he/she may travel abroad while the petition is pending. However, if he/she leaves the U.S. while the petition is pending, it is very important to consider the following:

  • If the E-3 visa and/or approval notice will expire before he/she plans to reenter the U.S., he/she must remain abroad until a copy of the extension LCA/approval notice can be emailed to him/her by the UH department. He/She will need to apply for a new E-3 visa (if applicable) to reenter the U.S.
  • If the E-3 extension petition is still pending when he/she plans to reenter the U.S., he/she can apply for an E-3 visa using a copy of the extension LCA along with other required supporting documents and "extend" his/her E-3 status through entry to the U.S.

Traveling abroad while a change of status to E-3 is pending

If UH is filing a petition for a change of status to E-3 from another status (e.g. H-1B, J-1), the individual should not leave the U.S. until the petition is approved by USCIS. If he/she leaves the U.S. while the change of status petition is pending with USCIS, the change of status will be considered abandoned. If an employee will need to travel abroad while a change of status petition is pending, be sure to consult with FSIS BEFORE the petition is sent to USCIS.



Part-time E-3 employment [top]

Part-time E-3 employees must keep a written record detailing the number of hours worked each day and each week, regardless of whether they are being paid a salary or an hourly wage. If a UH department is employing a part-time E-3 employee, the employee may not work more than the number of hours per week stated on the E-3 Labor Condition Application and he/she must complete time sheets stating the hours worked every day. The completed time sheets should be kept in the employee's personnel file for at least 3 years from the date they were created.


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