Questions often arise regarding an applicant’s ability to renew their E-3 visa stamp outside of Australia. E-3 visa holders can become confused with the renewal process, which isn’t helped by the wide range of opinions made online and through social media. In the majority of cases, an applicant will receive their initial E-3 visa stamp from a U.S. Consulate in either Sydney, Melbourne or Perth. The visa stamp will usually be issued for an initial two-year period.
When an E-3 visa holder needs to consider their options to have the visa renewed, this can lead to the applicant seeking opinions of various types from employers, colleagues, friends and strangers. Unfortunately, there are numerous scenarios in which E-3 visa holders can face significant delays in renewing their visas. Careful research and planning on where an E-3 can be renewed can help avoid some of these problems. Two of these examples are outlined below:
Following some initial research on potential locations to renew their visa, the E-3 holder learns that a former colleague successfully renewed their E-3 in the Bahamas. The renewal applicant is now considering this option. Wait times to attend an available appointment in the Bahamas appear reasonable, with only a three-day wait. Only an additional two days will be needed to process the E-3 visa. The applicant also obtains additional suggestions from colleagues online for renewal locations in Canada, Mexico and Barbados. The applicant decides to attend an appointment in the Bahamas though, on the day of the appointment, the applicant is told they should instead attend an appointment at a U.S. Consulate in Australia. As a result, the applicant isn't able to obtain the new visa needed to return to the U.S. in time to complete a scheduled project.
Not knowing the unique policy of their Consulate of choice, the applicant schedules an appointment at the U.S. Consulate in Barbados. The applicant completes a visa application form (DS-160), though selects Vancouver as the interview location, in the chance they later decide to renew the visa in Canada. The applicant ultimately attends an appointment in Barbados. At the interview, the Consulate identifies that the DS-160 application is not linked to their Consulate in Barbados. The applicant is then told to re-file the DS-160 application, and reschedule their appointment at a different Consulate once the correction has been made. As a result, the applicant isn't able to obtain the new visa needed to return to the U.S. in time to complete scheduled work.
Generally speaking, U.S. Consulates prefer that E-3 visa holders return to Australia to obtain their new visa. Some U.S. Consulates in Canada and Mexico, however, are more accommodating to Australians renewing their E-3s within those countries. The following Consulates in Canada & Mexico permit non-citizens of those countries to apply for a nonimmigrant visa: Montreal, Calgary, Halifax, Ottawa, Vancouver, Quebec City, Toronto, Ciudad Juarez, Hermosillo, Matamoros, Merida, Mexico City, Monterrey, Nogales, Nuevo Laredo, Guadalajara and Tijuana.
This information is provided for educational purposes only. Always check the most recent rules for each Consulate as they apply to renewing an E-3 visa. As each immigration matter is different, this general information should not be relied upon as legal advice. You should consult with an experienced U.S. immigration attorney before making any decisions applicable to your specific circumstances.