University of Wisconsin–Madison

E-3 Toolkit

For general information about E-3s, visit here.

General Process

There are two ways to obtain or extend E-3 non-immigrant status:

  1. Outside the U.S. (most common)
    Obtaining or extending E-3 status while outside the U.S. requires only Steps 1 and 2 below. No petition is filed with United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (no Step 3, that is). Once Steps 1 and 2 are completed, the employee takes the certified Labor Condition Application (LCA) to a U.S. Consulate or Embassy abroad and applies for the E-3 visa stamp.

    At the consulate/embassy, the employee will have to demonstrate that they:

    • Are a national of Australia
    • Have a legitimate offer of employment in the U.S. (for example: an offer letter from the UW employing department or employment verification letter)
    • Possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials (for example: CV/resume, degree certificate, or transcripts)
    • Will fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation (for example: a position description, copy of certified LCA)
  2. Inside the U.S. (less common)
    Filing a petition to obtain or extend E-3 status inside the U.S. is very similar to the H-1B process. To start the E-3 process inside the U.S., you should complete Steps 1 -3 (below) and email the forms to the International Faculty and Staff Services office (IFSS) at We will accept one form at a time, a few at a time, or all forms at the same time; whichever is easier for you.

Step 1 – Determining the Wage

The first step in the E-3 process is to determine the minimum wage the UW must pay the employee for the position according to the United States Department of Labor wage survey. IFSS can determine the wage once the following forms are received:

When the wage determination is completed, IFSS will email the Department Contact a final wage determination with directions on how to proceed. We can complete the wage determination before you offer the position to anyone.

In rare circumstances, IFSS may not be able to determine the wage. If this happens, we will need to submit a request to the Department of Labor (DOL) to make the determination. This can take 3-5 months and will still require IFSS to have all forms above to proceed. Keep in mind, this could significantly delay your anticipated start date. There is currently no way to expedite the DOL wage determination. We will try our best to internally determine the wage and not through DOL.

Once you have made the offer to the individual for whom you are sponsoring the E-3, submit the following:

  • Department Request Form. BBe sure to fill in all relevant information. If an employee has held a position at the UW before, look up the Empl ID in HRS and include that on the form. Questions on this form should be directed to

You may also, at this time, send following form to your applicant/employee so he or she can start gathering the required documentation needed for Step 3:

  • Employee Intake Form (formerly the Beneficiary Information Form). A checklist of required documentation is on the last few pages of this form.

    *When obtaining of extending E-3 status outside the U.S., even though we don’t do Step 3, please have your employee still complete the Employee Intake Form again and submit relevant documentation so that we can verify the employee is still eligible for E-3 status since there is no external USCIS review.

Don’t forget to request the filing fees at this time! See below.

Step 2 – Filing the Labor Condition Application (LCA)

The UW must submit a LCA to the DOL attesting to compliance with the requirements of the E-3 program. IFSS can file the LCA once Step 1 is completed and the following form is received:

Once the LCA is filed, IFSS will email the Department Contact the LCA. The LCA must be posted in ALL the locations the employee will work. The LCA should be posted where other employee notices are posted. The LCA does not contain any information about the employee specifically, only general information about the position for which you are filling. IFSS will also post a copy of the LCA in the main OHR office located at 21 N. Park Street in Suite 5101.

*If the employee will work in more than one location on a regular basis, please include all work locations on this LCA. If additional work locations are added, please consult IFSS immediately.

LCAs cannot be submitted more than six (6) months before the start date of the period of employment.

Step 3 – Preparing the E-3 Petition

This is the bulk of the petition if you are obtaining or extending E-3 status inside the U.S.

This step is NOT required if the employee is obtaining or extending E-3 status outside the U.S.

You will need the Employee Intake Form (see Step 1) and the employee’s documents to complete this step. IFSS can review and prepare the final E-3 petition, once the following forms are received:

  • Form I-129. If you haven’t reviewed the instructions in a while, please take the time to review them again as we have updated these recently.
  • Copy of the Employee Intake Form
  • Copies of all the employee’s documentation
  • UPS or FedEx mailing label so that IFSS can securely mail the petition to USCIS. See below for mailing options and addresses.

Dependents (E-3D Status)

For immigration purposes, dependents are the legally married spouse and/or any children under the age of 21.

The Form I-539 is only needed if the employee’s dependents are inside the U.S. and need to obtain or extend E-3D status.

  • Form I-539
  • Suggested documentation to include with the I-539 application can be found in the Employee Intake Form.
  • Filing fee
    • Paid by the employee and cannot be reimbursed by the UW
    • Personal check or money order from a U.S. bank, made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Dependents who are outside the U.S. do not need to file the I-539. These dependents obtain E-3D status by requesting a visa appointment at a U.S. Consulate/Embassy and presenting the certified LCA or employee’s approval notice (the I-797A or B) along with the marriage certificate (for spouses) or birth certificate (for children under the age of 21).

IMPORTANT: IFSS cannot advise on the Form I-539 since it is the employee’s family member(s)’s personal petition. We cannot give legal advice to an employee’s family member(s). As a courtesy to the employee, we will send the Form I-539 with the supporting documentation along with the employee’s E-3 petition only. We will not review the I-539 for completeness or for errors. We will not submit the I-539 if we are not filing an I-129 petition for the employee. The I-539 can be filed separately from the employee’s E-3 petition. If your employee’s dependent(s) would like assistance on the I-539, please direct them to an immigration attorney. IFSS can provide a list of local attorneys, if requested.

Filing Fees

NOTE: if obtaining or extending E-3 status outside the U.S., there are no filing fees. The employee should be aware that there will be consular fees, however, just like any other application to obtain a visa stamp. Those fees are not reimbursable through the UW; they are personal fees the employee must pay.

If obtaining or extending E-3 status inside the U.S.:

  • All checks must be separate and payable to: US Department of Homeland Security
  • To request a check through Accounting, follow the normal procedures in your Department.

All check requests must be accompanied with this pre-signed Check Custodian Form. Accounting Services will contact IFSS to pick up the checks when they are ready.

Standard Processing Fee

  • Filing fee
  • Required for all petitions
  • University check only

Premium Processing Fee: This service is not available to E-3 petitions.

Mailing the Petition

NOTE: For those employees obtaining or extending E-3 status outside the U.S., a mailing label is not needed.

Preferred couriers that pick up daily at 21 N. Park Street already (no need to schedule a pick-up):

  • UPS
  • FedEx

Standard Processing

USCIS Vermont Service Center
Attn: I-129 E-3
75 Lower Welden Street
St. Albans, VT 05479-0001

US Postal Service

IFSS will prepare the mailing label for these shipments.

Fill out the Amendment Petition Determination Form. IFSS will evaluate whether or not we need to notify USCIS before those changes can occur.

NOTE: USCIS will not retroactively approve changes, so it’s very important to notify us at least 1-2 months prior to changes occurring.

E-3 employee leaving the UW?

Notify IFSS using this Departure Form.


  • Before leaving the UW, remind your employee to update their Glacier account.
  • Enter a term date in Compli-9 on this employee’s I-9.