TL;DR: renewing your E3 visa in Canada is possible, but there’s a bit of a quirk that means rolling the dice. This an outline of how I did it in Vancouver in late June 2015.
Almost four years ago I wrote a long and detailed blog post going through the process of obtaining a visa to live and work in the United States known as an E3 visa. Still restricted to just Australian passport holders, the E3 visa class allows people with a university degree and a job offer in a role that utilizes their qualifications – and because there’s 10,500 visas available a year, and less than half of that number were granted in 2014, it is pretty much a sure thing if you’re eligible, the employer doesn’t screw up the (pretty simple) Labor Condition Approval (LCA) and you convince the consular officer you’re a professional (have a degree) and the company and role is the real deal.
One of the few downsides of this visa (which compared to the misery American’s put other professionals through with the H1B visa is nothing at all) is that it is only good for two years – if you change employers or the two year period comes up, you need to get a renewal visa, known as an E3R (the R being for renewal). There’s no limit on the number of times it can be renewed, but each one is a pain.
Practically, the E3R is the same as getting an E3 visa for the first time – you need a new LCA, you need a new DS-160 (the visa application), and of course a new appointment with the consulate to hopefully get them to approve your visa; it is practically lower risk than your first time through (as with all bureaucrats, State Department officials find it easier to approve something someone else has already taken the chance on approving first – stick with the herd, don’t get fired), but still means running the gauntlet. Oh, and of course, the renewal has to happen at a US consulate, ie, not in America*.
The challenge, of course, with your E3R is that you have to leave the US, and since you’ve already got an E3 visa you’ve probably got a place to live (and thus rent or a mortgage to pay) in the US, a job that will miss you more (since the first E3 happens before you start work, so they don’t miss you yet) and probably a bunch of other stuff (friends, commitments, a girlfriend/boyfriend/dog/cat/Tinder-hookup) that will miss the fact you’re out of the country for a while. So, getting it done with as little cost, time and hassle as possible is a priority.
This means it is a lot more desirable to get your E3 visa renewed a little closer to “home” than flying almost half way around the planet – twice – to get your visa renewed in Sydney, Melbourne or Perth. My friend Lee published an awesome post about how to get it done in Mexico City, but I decided I’d try my luck getting it renewed in Vancouver, Canada.
The LCA application process/system hasn’t changed since my first post about getting the LCA in late 2011. To help further, the LCA website shows you a list of all of the previous applications you’ve submitted, so if your role has hardly changed and your employer hasn’t changed, you can download your old application in PDF format and speed the process up with a copy and paste.
Note: the 2 year term for your visa commences the date your LCA is granted. Note that you now can’t book your visa appointment until after you receive your LCA, so it is a balancing act to get the LCA request in with enough time before you want to travel so you can get it early enough to get the appointment time you need but not too soon that you burn months of valuable E3 validity.
The DS-160 application has been enhanced significantly since my first blog post, and is vastly improved. It is probably one of the most impressive online government application forms I’ve ever used, and is completely different to every other experience you’ll have with US government.
The DS-160 application is an application built on top of Force.com, and uses a lot of smarts and logic to get you a completed application without any confusion or grief – note though that as soon as you tell it you’re doing an E3 visa, it will want your LCA confirmation number (hence needing to do that first), and you can’t get an appointment without a DS-160.
One critical piece of advice: make sure you make a note of your Application ID from the first screen after you choose to commence a new application. If your browser crashes (as mine did) you’ll need it, and when you’re tracking the visa approval after your appointment you’ll need it too.
The Appointment Process
Booking an appointment is also pretty easy, but there were a few wrinkles that caused me a lot of grief – hopefully these tips will save you the same pain.
The State Department does a pretty good job of showing folks how long the wait for a visa appointment is at this website. When I was looking into getting my visa renewed in early June, the waiting time was 8 days for Non-Immigrant Visas (the type you want for an E3). At the time of writing, it at 17 days.
Since my visa wasn’t expiring for over a month (early July), I thought, awesome, this will work a treat! I went and booked my flights from SFO to Vancouver (the strangely coded YVR) for late June (flying in on Thursday, appointment on Friday morning, spending the weekend being a tourist and flying back early the next week) and thought, right, this will work out well. But, the most important piece of information I didn’t know is that the visa waiting times the State Department disclose don’t apply to people coming from a third country to renew their visa.
Given its proximity to the United States, US consular offices in Canada are a popular place for non-Canadians to visit to get their visas issued/renewed. To give the Canadian’s a chance at getting appointments in a timely manner, the appointment system treats non-Canadian residents very differently – but I didn’t find this out until I’d booked flights and made arrangements!
When it comes to booking your appointment, the first thing to do is go to canada.usvisa-info.com – at the time of writing, this will redirect you to a website that looks like the image below. Fairly obviously, you click “Apply” if you haven’t already gotten into the Canadian’s visa appointment system (your email address is unique to this system).
The first page is a static page which aims to route your request properly. I ticked the box saying I was a non-Canadian citizen residing in the US – it doesn’t really matter though, because these first questions are just to try and route you to the right answer.
The system then warns you that Third Country Nationals (TCNs) might have to wait longer and that a visa might not be granted by the US.
Once you’ve passed this point, you need to enter a couple of details and choose a password, as well as accepting the standard terms and completing a captcha. Easy enough. Then comes the fun part – filling in the specific details for your application (DS-160, visa class and more).
It is the last radio button on this form that makes all of the difference. If you tell them you’re traveling from another country to apply for the visa in Canada, your appointment time will stretch out – in my case, from 8 days to 8 months!
Given I had to renew my visa by early July, and it was currently early June, and I’d only returned a couple of weeks earlier from my quarterly trip back to Australia and didn’t fancy spending $2000 on flights (northern hemisphere summer is high-season for most airlines), I figured I’d roll the dice and tell them I was not traveling from another country – I ticked no and booked my appointment for June 27th.
The last confusing piece in the process is choosing where you want to get your passport and the visa mailed to if it is approved. The drop-down list of places is suburb/city names, which probably make sense to someone in Canada, but since I’d never visited before I required a bunch of Google Maps searching to find out what the heck each one was (since there was no “Vancouver” option). The closest location to downtown Vancouver is Burnaby, BC.
After completing the form and paying the fees (which include the courier fees for Loomis Express, a subsidiary of DHL), all I had to do was wait and stress about the fact I’d claimed to be based in Canada when in fact I’d flown in the day before my appointment.
Entry into Canada
Flying into Vancouver was easy (and really pretty), but I do have one word of advice when you get to Customs/Border/Passport control. When they ask what brings you to Canada, do not tell them you’re there to get your US Visa renewed. This is a very bad idea – basically, the Customs lady took 10-15 mins of going through all my visa paperwork to form her own opinion on whether I’d get a visa from the US guys or not, and there was a very real possibility she could have denied me entry and told me to head back to the US.
This is because, from a Canadian perspective, if the US said no to my visa renewal, I was now going to be Canada’s problem. So, tell them you’re taking a few days off to explore their beautiful city/country for a holiday – you’re a tourist, plain and simple. They’ll then stamp your passport (under the Visa Waiver program, Aussie don’t need a visa and you can stay for 90 days in Canada) and you’re good to go.
One other small point about Vancouver – they’ve got one of the neatest metro systems in the world. It is called Skytrain (much of the track is elevated) and since the mid 1980’s this thing has run super reliably because none of the trains have any drivers! Very very awesome, and super convenient to use when getting from the Airport to the City, and then from the City out to Burnaby when you go to pick up your passport.
Attending the Appointment
Because I booked my appointment 20+ days out (when the wait time was just 8 days) I got a very early appointment – 7:30am. In addition to your Passport, your DS-160 cover page, your LCA and your employment letter of offer (and potentially your degree, but I didn’t bring mine), you’ll need to bring two passport sized photos. I didn’t see this in the instructions for Vancouver’s appointment, and thus I joined a line of folks at a photo place across the road who didn’t realize it either.
Additionally, do not bring anything bigger than a lunch-box – the storage lockers they use are only suitable for small purses, phones, etc. I had to leave my smartwatch downstairs too – if you bring a bag (I bought my laptop bag) you’ll need to go to one of the cafes across the street and pay them $5 to stick in the corner for you (they make no promises as to its safety – all care, no responsibility).
When you check in and hand over your switched off phone, etc, you’ll queue up outside (this must be really unpleasant in winter – it does have a roof though to keep the rain off) and you then get bought through in group of half a dozen or so to be metal-detector scanned, etc.
After you get through the metal detector, you join Line A where an officer who’s sitting behind a counter (as opposed to glass) goes through your paperwork and makes sure you’ve got everything you need.
This was the big risk in my case – my appointment was clearly for someone who had not traveled from a third country to get this appointment, and he was asking everyone their legal status in Canada. When my turn came, and he asked me my status in Canada, I said “I’m here under the 90 day Visa Waiver Program”. My hunch/hope was that this legitimate legal basis for being in Canada would satisfy the requirement (even if it was a bit sneaky). I didn’t offer anything further – no “I flew in yesterday”. I think he asked where I was staying to try and establish legitimacy, and the fact I’m a bit of a maps/geo nut helped because I said “Oh, I’m based in Yaletown” (a local district, highly recommended by the by) which also helped him decide I was in Canada legally and thus wave me through.
A girl who was in the queue downstairs around the same time as I was from Europe and she’d left her work permit card in her bag (downstairs, back out through security, and across the road), so she had to go down and get it out and come back before the Line A guy would let her go to the next stage. I think it was the Line A guy who gave me my “number” from a ticket machine like you get at the DMV/RTA – this number was my number for the rest of the appointment process.
The Line A guy took my passport and DS-160 wrapper form and passed it back to some folks behind some serious looking glass in a control room type thing, and told me to go to Line B (right next to Line A). The people in their control room did whatever they did (perhaps a desk-review of the passport, etc?) for what probably took 20 minutes or so (they spent more time in mine than anyone else’s, which was a source of concern), and then they call your number (roughly in the order that you were in) and then you take it down the back of the room to Window C (where a guy does the biometric fingerprint capture).
Since the E3 requires a consular interview, you then queue up again and wait to go upstairs (can’t remember which floor, but it was a fair way up in the elevator) and then you wait up there for your turn to go to the window and have someone ask you questions about your work, employer, education, role and the rest to determine if they’ll grant your visa.
In my case, the interview went pretty smoothly and the guy told me my visa was approved, but there was one problem – the State Department’s global system for granting visas had been offline for over two weeks, and they had a pretty insane backlog. He couldn’t tell me when the visa would be printed and put in my passport because their computer systems in Vancouver hadn’t yet been “cleared” to do their job at that point (Friday the 27th).
So, while the return date wasn’t known (and that was a worry), I felt super relieved the guy in Line A let me go through even though I’d ticked the box saying I wasn’t traveling from a third country to get my US visa in Canada, and the guy upstairs said my visa application was approved!
Tracking your passport
From the appointment onwards you track progress using the same canada.usvisa-info.com website you used to book your appointment – by entering your email address and the password you chose in that step, you’re able to track where you are at in the processing process.
While your visa is being processed (before it is released to the couriers), the blue Canadian visa-info website will actually direct you to track progress using a different system which is tied to the original DS-160 application system. This system uses the DS-160 Application ID you got right back at the start of your DS-160 process to tell you where you’re up to.
Once the visa is “Issued” the canada.usvisa-info.com website will show you the tracking number for Loomis and you can focus tracking your passport.
In my case, the backup in visas because of the tech problems meant I was expecting to be waiting a few days longer than usual to get my passport back. However, at one point I checked the DS-160 website (Monday night) and saw my status had changed to Administrative Processing. When this happens, it usually means you’re facing a delay of weeks (the website says it normally gets resolved inside 60 days!!!) – and obviously, as I’m sitting there in Canada without a passport I was pretty panicked about this state of affairs! The good news is it only sat in the Administrative Processing state for a day, and then by Tuesday night its status had changed to Issued. Phew!!!
When the visa is issued and delivered to the courier (Loomis Express) the canada.usvisa-info.com website will give you a tracking number, which you can then track with Loomis directly. In my case, it didn’t quite work this way – July 1st is Canada Day, and in addition to most businesses being closed, the Loomis website decided to take the day off too – from 7am until 11pm (my first and last checks that Wednesday) the website timed out with a 500 error and I couldn’t track my passport at all.
The good news was that come Thursday morning, 6 calendar days and 3 business days since my interview, my passport was showing up in Loomis’ systems as being at their Burnaby address and ready for pickup.
Picking up your passport from Burnaby
Returning to trusty Google Maps, I saw that the Loomis location Burnaby wasn’t too far from Lake City Way skytrain station. I headed down to the Granville skytrain station, bought a 2-zone ticket (they’re good for 90 mins or so) and rode the 30 mins or so out to Lake City Way station. Given these trains have no drivers, if you’re lucky you can get the front seat – pretty cool view and way to ride a metro!
If you do this, the main thing to know is that you have to get off the Skytrain at Commercial-Broadway station, walk along a passenger walkway back towards the city for 5-10 mins, and then board a train on another line in the direction back to downtown (Waterfront station) to get to Lake City Way station the fastest. The reason for this is that the trains leaving the city travel in one direction around a loop, finishing near Commercial-Broadway – the Lake City Way station, though is near the top of the loop, so by changing trains and direction, you save 20 mins of extra travel time by cutting out the largest part of the loop.
When you get out at Lake City Way station, you’ll want to walk up the road called “Lake City Way” for half a mile or so and turn right onto “Express Street”. Note that you’re probably one of the few people who go to Loomis Express on foot – the road, pictured below, isn’t at all pedestrian friendly, with no footpath and a lot of trucks going back and forth. But with no Uber or Lyft in Vancouver at the time of writing, I figured it was better to take on this challenge than support the taxi cartels.
The reason for the passport photos (that I didn’t bring originally) at the appointment is made a bit clearer when you pick up your passport – inside the package at Loomis Express is one of your passport photos so the courier guy can check it really is you.
So, a little before 11am on Thursday July 2nd, I had my passport and new visa!
The recommended timing for doing the Vancouver visa renewal (if you decide to) is as follows:
- Week 1 – apply for your LCA. Note that the date the LCA is granted is the date that your new visa expires, so don’t get your LCA until you’re ready to then go onto getting your DS-160 (which you need to then book your appointment).
- Week 2 – get your DS-160, and book for your appointment. Your LCA should only take a week to get approved (if you’ve done it right) and the DS-160 is just a process (no review/approval required there) so you should be able to get your DS-160 and appointment the day you get your LCA back.
- Week 4 – attend appointment. Assuming an appointment delay of 10 business days, you’re probably going to be waiting until into Week 4 to get your appointment.
- Week 5 – passport and visa returned. The Consulate says that it should take 3 business days for your visa to be approved and issued which tallies with my experience. If Canada day hadn’t occurred I would have had my passport back on Wednesday after a Friday appointment. If you have an appointment on Monday, you should have your visa back in your hand on Thursday.
In conclusion, it is very doable to get your E3 visa renewed in Vancouver (and since a renewal is functionally no different to getting one for the first time, new visas should also work fine). However, the fact you have to lie on the appointment application form to get an appointment in a reasonable time means that doing so is pretty risky; I think I got pretty lucky with the Line A guy waving me through after I told him my legal basis for being in Canada was the Visa Waiver program. If the Line A guy doesn’t let you through you’ll end up being turned around and you’ll need to book a flight to Australia (or Mexico City) and apply to an appointment there to get your visa processed (with no refund for the Vancouver appointment you got turned away from).
The other factor to consider properly around the process is costs. My two reasons for choosing Vancouver over Sydney were time and cost. The flights to Australia take a day each way, and the cost at $2000 or so is a lot more steep than $350 return to Vancouver from SFO.
However, if you can stay with family or friends when you’re in Australia, you’re avoiding the costs of hotels or AirBNB accommodation in Vancouver. I ended up paying around $1300 for accommodation (Thursday to Thursday), which makes the price difference pretty small ($1900 for flights and accommodation), and because of the Canada Day and backlog delays I had to do a change of date on my return flight which had costs as well making the Sydney vs Vancouver cost difference all but disappear.
While I definitely came out ahead on time (and being on the same timezone as my US team when we were announcing our fundraising round was really beneficial), in my case the benefits of Vancouver were positive but not as overwhelmingly as I thought that’d be. If I was paying Sydney hotel prices though (more than Vancouver prices) the Vancouver option would be a long way ahead on the cost side of things.
Hope this helps other folks who are running the gauntlet – would love to hear people’s own experiences in the comments below too!
I’ve had a bunch of people email me and ask how they can say thanks for the advice. If you’d like to say thanks and you don’t already have an account with Uber or Lyft, feel free to say thanks by using my invite code (below) and you’ll be helping me out with extra credit and getting some credit to start with yourself too:
- Uber: 9xybb
- Lyft: GEOFF304
* There is one exception to this, which is where you nominate to have your visa assessed and approved on-shore with USCIS – the downside of this is that it is like a really long visa interview which leaves you unable to leave and re-enter the United States while it is being determined, a process which I’m told takes something like 6 months.
Asking for Help
A few people have been contacting me directly asking for comment, advice, a call to discuss their specific circumstances, etc. I’d love to help, but I’m not going to, and even if I wasn’t working 100 hour weeks, I wouldn’t answer your personal, specific issues. This post exists solely as a journal of a personal experience. I’m not a lawyer, and I’m in no position to give specific advice. You are, however, most welcome to tap the accumulated personal experiences of the thousands of other folks who’ve gone through their own journey by entering a comment below with your questions, feedback or personal experience for others to benefit from. But please don’t waste your time and mine asking me directly for advice.
I am from Australia. I came on my first E-3 visa. I had my E-3 visa stamped from Australia.
Then I changed job (new employer). For second E-3 visa stamping I went to Australia.
I am in the process of changing job again (new employer). This time I would like to get my 3rd E-3 visa from Canada (either Toronto, Ottawa or Vancouver). Please remember this is new employer and not E-3 renewal.
Can I go to Canada to get my E-3 stamped, when changing employer? If you can provide some information based on your experience, it will be greatly appreciated.
Thanks and Regards.
The E3 for changing jobs is the same in every way to getting a renewed E3 for the same job. So, reread this blog post with that in mind.
HI Geoff, I am in a similar situation as you. Because we just had our child here in US, we cant travel to Canada before our E3 visa expires so we have applied for extension with USCIS. Our plan was to wait for 6 months, let the baby grow and wife recover from a difficult delivery and then go to Canada for E3R. A couple of questions:
(BTW: Both my wife and me have our own E3s sponsored by our separate places of work)
1. We will be driving to Canada. I think US customs will not have any issues letting me out of US but what if the Canadian agent says: your original E3 is expired and no guarantees you will get a new visa so go back to US. I think there is a chance I will be stuck in no mans land (E3 being expired).
1a. Do you recommend getting E3Rs before E3 expires? This will negate the (nightmarish) situation above)
2. One thing I cant get a clear answer on is : once you get an extension within US on your current E3, does this extension allow you free travel outside US and obviously entry back. If this is the case then question 1 isnt a big problem.
Any insight would be highly appreciated.
Sorry to hear about the difficult delivery, but great to hear she’s on the mend and you’re parents now! The Canadian border agents seem to be pretty cluey at looking at your expiry of your visa; it isn’t grounds for refusal, but they obviously don’t want to have you as *their* problem.
I don’t know about #2 (I’ve never done it) but perhaps others in the comments here can help. I’ve avoided the adjustment of status in large part because I’ve heard you can leave and time, but not come back without a new visa.
Thanks for the reply Geoff. So I take it you renewed your visa before your E3 expired. Though this way (as you have explained already) you keep loosing a few months every time you renew. Well…pickle is what I find myself in. Maybe I will just go and have a cuppa in my local coffee shop in Melbourne …and get a new E3 while I am at it.
I’m just looking for some general advice on first time E3 visa applications – specifically whether it’s worth trying to apply at the consulate in Vancouver as a first time applicant or to just put up the cash and schedule a trip back to Aus when the time comes?
Right now I’m in Seattle on a B2 visa looking for work (so far have had one job offer given and recinded because they thought they could provide sponsorship and then decided they couldn’t, and also in the process of interviewing for another job with a big Seattle based company but the role is HR and they don’t know if it fulfil’s the ‘specialty occupation’ requirements sufficiently) so it’s not an immediate query but I want to know what my best course of action is when the time comes to actually schedule the consulate interview.
I’ve done some research and so far have come across fairly mixed reviews about the whole ‘first time E3 applicant outside Aus’ scenario. Some have gotten through fine, others have had issues.
So my questions to you and the general E3 forum universe are:
1) How many success/failure scenarios for first time E3 applications in Canada, specifically Vancouver are you aware of?
2) In your opinion is it worth risking it with Canada or should I just fork out the costs for a trip to Aus?
3) If I do decide to risk Canada but fail can I then just reapply at the Aus consulate, I know I’ll have to declare not being granted a visa and have to resubmit my application paperwork but the LCA and LOO from my employer won’t need any action, correct?
Any input/advice is greatly appreciated!
The stories I’ve heard about “don’t apply for first visa outside australia” are generally all from a few years ago when the E3 was much less common. From what I’ve heard, anywhere that does them now will do a first time one (but I don’t have any data or ratio to share; just every time someone I know has gone to do it, it has worked a treat).
The speciality occupation piece isn’t hard to overcome – I know people who’ve gotten in on the flimsiest stuff. The degree qual is pretty important though. I think on the whole consular officers, working as public servants, think as long as a legit sounding employer paying the prevailing wage for someone with a degree thinks it is speciality enough, then who are they to be know-it-alls of industry. There’s examples of a particularly bad luck situation or a prick of an officer (who may have formed an opinion the business sponsoring is shit, or you’re being sketchy, or just had a bad day) denying someone, but I don’t hear about them as much as I hear about someone coming in on a super super entry level role title and pay (a lot of the folks I know are startups who are very early and are barely drawing a salary, so they have to choose cheap roles to get over the prevailing wage).
In terms of what you should do, my general advice is look at the $$ in total, including not just flights but also accommodation. Unless you have friends or family to stay with in Vancouver, you’ll find the place is as expensive as Sydney. If you have friends/family to stay with in AU, then that can have a big impact on costs.
Re: the LCA surviving a denial, I believe they do; I had a friend get rejected on a technicality and he refiled. It makes sense they survive personal rejection cause they’re an authorization for an employee to employee an alien on a visa. But I don’t know.
There is a YouTube Video by the US Embassy in Canberra that provides the basic information. He makes it clear, E3 Visas can be issued to people who are a specialty occupation with experience and or other qualifications in lieu of a degree.
Just got off the phone with a US immigration attorney who advised that the absence of a degree can then raise another question of is a degree necessary or, “generally required” for that specialty occupation.
The USA and Australia are actively recruiting each other’s airline pilots who have hired most of the eligible flight instructors.
These days, you need an Aviation Degree in order to get an airline or even an air or ground instructing position at a college or university flight school that trains future airline pilots.
I would appreciate any feedback on the information in that you tube video.
Thanks so much for your quick reply! The fact that the majority of recent first time applicants you know of have gone through fine is definitely reassuring – and so is the amount you know of in entry level roles getting through.
I think I’ll try for Vancouver – my cousin is moving there early next year and a few aquaintances from uni live there so hopefully I can find someone willing to put me up when the time comes, or a cheap Air Bnb.
The title of the job I’m going for is ‘Senior HR Advisor’, the role requirements are a minimum of Bachelor’s Degree or requisite time at the company – so hopefully that’s sufficent for the degree requirement, the main issue is convincing them that it is.
I have a phone conference with some program managers from their Immigration department tomorrow so hopefully it goes well and they give the go ahead to move forward.
Thanks again for your advice!
I am in Van City doing my E3R and my visa was denied, as commission does not count as a prevailing wage therefore my wage was too low and therefore they weren’t certain that I could independently support myself. Do you know anything about reapplying after a denial?
I don’t know, but at least you’ll need a new LCA with a higher wage. You’re right that commission doesn’t count 😦
My LCA had the prevailing wage on it but when we did my continuation of employment letter we had my base wage + my commission = slightly higher then the prevailaing wage (thinking that would be fine). I’m assuming that I just need my employment to bump my base wage up to the prevailing wage and then I’m good to go.
oh wow…I have just applied for a position that pays in commission was your employer OK with changing how they wrote your pay on the LCA?
Hi Geoff, I am currently doing my DS-160 now I have my LCA approved. on the address and phone information page did you enter your U.S details or Australian? I am a little confused as I am living in the US and doing this trip to canada to avoid flying back to perth… Not wanting to muck this up so any advice would be awesome! Thanks a tonne!!
P.S this blog post is awesome – Thank you for sharing!
I entered US info
hi Geoff, back again I am at the Canadian consulate booking part and chose “NO” to “renewing” my visa as I was on an e-3 visa went home and re-entered on an ESTA, as I am not on the e-3 would you say this is correct? I ask as the employer is the same but it expired on my re-entry to U.S after a trip home to Oz (thus entering on ESTA) so reapplying for the same employer again but doing so from Canada. Was I correct as I am not really renewing it while on it, rather applying for it all over again with the same employer?
I had E3 visa renewal appointment in Ottawa on 11/04/2016 while my visa expiry date was 11/07/2016. Visa office handed me a 221g – Administrative Processing letter stating that they need to verify my employment and he did not ask for any additional documentation. I am now stuck in Canada for 10 days along with my wife and daughter living at my friend’s place in Toronto and there is no sign of any status update. The website still says ‘Administrative Processing’.
I wanted to know if I can travel back to USA on tourist(ESTA) visa and wait till they ask me to come back with the passports? Thanks a ton for your help.
I don’t know – unless you have additional passports up your sleeve, crossing an international border is probably going to be an uphill battle.
How early can you renew your e3 visa?
mine xpires 30 october, but can i renew in september?
Great article Geoff thanks for posting.
I have recently moved to a new state, so same employer, new project in a different state and the immigration people where I work have advised a new LCA and E3 visa is required if one moves to a new state. Never heard of that but will they know more than me.
We have decided to get the new visa in London, seems an easy option, the embassy their seems to be very familiar with E3, mentioning it specifically on their website (London being full of Australians why wouldn’t they be). Employer is paying anyway and we can fly direct to LHR from Charlotte.
Just thought I would mention the London way here as an easy option for others who might fancy a week over there doing some sightseeing while they renew.
Geoff, congratulations on the incredibly detailed information. I’m also a Canadian and stupidly assumed it was easier under NAFTA. I waded my way though numerous sites before being thoroughly educated on how simple it can be. I’m a flight instructor just north of the US border and keep getting interesting job offers. Most Potential US employers don’t have a clue about hiring foreigners even when they have dire needs for their skills.
Each time I looked for and got good info, it came from an Australian and I’m very grateful to the incredible amount of time and effort that you have devoted to assisting other Australians.
Email me and I’ll express that appreciation personally.
Geoff, congratulations on the incredibly detailed information. I’m also a Canadian and stupidly assumed it was easier under NAFTA. I waded my way though numerous sites before being thoroughly educated on how simple it can be. I’m a flight instructor just north of the US border and keep getting interesting job offers. Most Potential US employers don’t have a clue about hiring foreigners even when they have dire needs for their skills.
Each time I looked for and got good info, it came from an Australian and I’m very grateful to the incredible amount of time and effort that you have devoted to assisting other Australians.
Email me and I’ll express that appreciation personally.
Just renewed, this post was super helpful at calming the nerves.
Coming into Canada I told the border guy that I was there for leisure/skiing. When he saw my visa was about to expire he noted it and I said I was here to renew my visa too. Didn’t seem to phase him.
When I was asked at the embassy what I was doing in the country it was “on what basis are you in Canada”. I said I was on the 90 day visa waiver. She clarified “but you live in the US?” and I confirmed. Didn’t seem to be a problem.
Thanks for posting these! Pickup my passport Monday.
I am travelling to Vancouver for my E3 visa interview next week (Interview is scheduled for Jan 17th 8 am). How long did it take after the interview for passport pickup? I am planning to travel back on Friday Jan 20th.
Thanks in advance.
My interview was at 7:30am on the Thursday and I collected my passport at midday on the Monday. I suspect if it wasn’t for the weekend the turnaround would be around 2 business days but not 100% sure. Hope that helps!
Esme, can you confirm if you got your passport back by Friday? I have a Tuesday appointment as well and thinking if I should book return flight on Friday.
Hello there, I am trying to book an appointment and seems the courier information requires a Canadian address for me to pick up. How do I get around that? the comments above say US drivers license acceptable document for a non resident visiting Canada but the fields below require a Canadian address?
Where do you see Canadian address to be filled for pickup ?
What a Great blog, thank a lot for writing up this blog and i appreciate all the fellow aussies who asked questions and shared experiences here. I guess i have seen this a little late. Here is my situation
A little Background:
I have entered US first time in Jan 2014 on E3 Visa and then extended it for another 2 years in Nov2015. My I-797 was approved until Nov 2017. I have travelled back to India to Visit family on Dec 2016 and went for a consulate interview on 1/3/2017 in Chennai, India.
What happened on the day of the Interview:
we were sent to Window15 an Indian Lady sitting at the window asked for both passports(wife and mine) Then she looked suspiciously and asked for LCA and I-797. While looking at computer and documents she made a Red tick mark on passport then asked us to wait in the lobby. She kept passports and documents with her.
After 20 minutes we got called to same window she handed over all documents and asked us to give finger prints in Window18. Gave our FP and joined the second line for actual Interview.
while we joining the second line one of the lobby Assistant came and checked our passports and said you have a red tick on the passport, please go back to Window15 and get a Green Tick mark before join this 2nd line. We Went back to Window 15 and asked her to put the green tick mark. She took my LCA and I-797 again and reluctantly put a green Tick mark.
FInally joined the 2nd line for Visa interview line, we were sent to window 25. VO asked only one question about employer and gave Yellow slip then asked us to wait in lobby.
Waited for 1 hour and got called to same window VO asked few more questions and made us wait in lobby again. We waited until end of the day in Consulate and finally got a blue slip for 221(g) admin processing.
It has been 30 days and didnt get any update on the status yet. Now i have secured another job offer in USA and would like to withdraw this application and re-apply for a new E3 visa under my new employer.
1. Am i allowed to make another application while my previous one is pending under 221(g) ?
2. Is there a way to cancel/withdraw the application which is in 221g ?
3. One of my online advocae who charged me 150$ and said legally,i can make new appointment and file another Ds-160 with new employer details. I dont have to withdraw my current pending applictaion. I dont know if i can trust her.
Please provide answers to above questions with your best knowledge.if anyone already have this experience please share it will be alot useful for me.
Hi there! Sorry to hear you’re going through this. Administrative processing is terrible! The feeling of not being in control and having a lack of information available can be really hard to deal with. I had a similar experience recently in Ottawa (I did a writeup of it on my blog: http://jamesmorrell.com/e3-visa-renewal-in-ottawa-canada) except I got a yellow form and was processed quite quickly. It’s very strange to me that you received that mark at the first window – that says to me that something was off about your initial paperwork, as that process is to check that you have met all the necessary requirements to attend your interview.
If I were you, I would look in to getting a lawyer to get some proper advice. I’ve included my recommendation about lawyers on my blog, and I really stand by this. There are a lot of complexities about Administrative Processing, withdrawing applications and so on that can land you with lasting consequences for applying for visas in the USA in future. It’s worth getting professional advice.
P.S – Geoff, thanks again for a great blog!
I was working in Miami on E3 visa. I went for my visa renewal to Tijuana,Mexico and got it renewed last year. Couple of months later, my project location changed but with same company and I’m currently working in Austin,TX. My company got new LCA etc. But they are insisting I should go for a new visa renewal as my location/LCA is changed as that’s the new rule. Is this true? Do we have to get a new stamping every time we change our project location/LCA within our visa period and with same company?
This is technically true, but most of the time being assigned to a new project and flying to work on it and flying home again doesn’t constitute a full relocation – you stayed living where you were living and your employer is the same employer. That said, if it really is a transfer (internally) the issue is the Prevailing Wage test – this is very geographically sensitive (a King’s Ransom of a salary in Backwater, AL is probably below the poverty line in San Francico, CA).
Since you are in the US on the conditions of your employment, if your employer has gone and done this, then if I were you I’d follow along.
If your employer paying for the visa, why not get one, so you have another 2 years of visa life.
Btw, you renewed in Tijuana ? Last time I heard only Mexico City does the E-3 renewal. Was it easy in Tijuana ? Any challenges ?
Thanks for this great resource Geoff.
I wanted to give you some extra info to add to your post. There are a few closer than options than Burnaby for picking up your passport that were added since you applied:
Either of these two seem like the closest:
595 Burrard St, Vancouver (Downtown, 1 min from Burrard Station)
349 W Georgia St, Vancouver (Downtown, Main post office, 3 mins from Granville Station)
2405 Pine St, Vancouver (A little south of downtown, 10 min bus from King Edward Station)
7871 Westminster Hwy, Richmond (Near the airport, 5 minute walk from Richmond Brighouse Station)
Thanks for this blog, it’s been super helpful!
Hi. Just did our renewal in Barbados. We are a family of 5 with 3 school age kids and did our initial E3 in Melbourne before moving to NYC 2 years ago. While this was our second E3 I am not sure it was a renewal but another whole E3. The first time we applied in Melbourne we took wedding certificates, birth certificates, letter from employer, annual report of the employer, pay slips, proof of a house mortgage in Australia etc etc which was good to have…and they looked at the Birth Certificates and Wedding Certificates and asked a couple of questions. This time we took everything but, as we had previously had one, they only needed the LCA, asked 2 questions and got our passports back in about 3 days at the local DHL office while we airbnb’ed a Villa on the beach…very simple and easy. Only issue we ran into was they rejected my wife’s photo as her hair was covering her ears even though we uploaded it to the official website while doing the D-160 and it was approved. They told us to go down to the local mall, get another photo and come back…which was easy to do but a little frustrating with 3 kids….they could have told us to find another appointment and come back another day so glad this was the only issue. No isses coming back into the US. Would certainly do Barbados again.
Thanks for that bit of info Chris!! Barbados here I come!!
Just wondering, how has your E3 renewal experience been in Trump’s world. It used to be a quick 5 minute interview and approval of visa. In 2016 my then pregnant wife and I had to stay in Ottawa for 3 weeks because I did not bother to carry my pay stubs (had never needed them before). After that experience I am not sure if I will go to Canada again. I’ve been in the US on an E3 for 7 years now and seems like it may be curtains down for Tech workers. Seriously not sure if should start thinking about selling my house and heading back home. Any advise on current or 2017 trends.
Completed a renewal in Barbados last month (as did friends of mine on their 3rd E3) and no issues. Book a villa and enjoy the holiday. Took 3 business days from the ‘interview’ (as you say only a few minutes) to picking up at the local DHL office near the airport.
thanks Chris, congratulations on your E3 renewal.
Hi Chris – can you advise what docs you took with you to E3 renewal? I’m confused as to whether I need to bring payslips or not.
Thanks for your help!
Geoff – thanks for the detailed blog! Just confirming you didn’t bring payslips with you to your renewal appt?
Hi. This was a ‘renewal’ so they could see we had been granted an E3 prior. We took everything – payslips, proof of Bachelor education, mortgage statements from Australia showing we had ties back there, letter from employer etc etc but they only asked for the LCA…we had 3 kids in tow. Don’t bother getting there early…we were an hour early and just had to wait outside until called but once in it was very quick. We did have one issue in that they rejected my wife’s photo even though we uploaded it to their website and it was approved. They sent us to the local shopping centre, took replacement photo’s and came back to finish the process (could have been a scam with the local processing person sending us to their sister’s photo shop but for $30 we didn’t argue)…not sure that would happen in Canada or Australia – more likely “make another appointment in 2 weeks” but laid back so easy…just a little frustrating.
Thanks so much Chris – very helpful!! I live in Seattle so am thinking Vancouver might be easiest but will definitely check out the Barbados option. Cheers!
Thanks for this great platform to share opinions regarding E3,Geoff.
Hi all, my first E3 is getting expired on Nov 1st 2017, I am willing to get it renewed under same employer. Now that my employer is willing to apply for onshore extension in June2017, 6 months before current visa expiry date, once E3R is approved, I may need to go for stamping. As I live in Michigan, I would like to drive to Toronto for stamping. please advise if the above option is the right option. Thanks for your suggestion in advance.
This is Viru.
Just a quick question . I am on E3 visa in the US. I have booked an E3 renewal appointment at Vancouver.
Do I need to fill any form before I travel to Canada under the visa waiver program.
Please let me know
Yes. You need to apply an ETA for Canada if you hold an Australian Passport. Please visit Canada website for more details. This process will take about 5-10 mins and a decision will be made with in 15-20 mins. This rule was in effect from mar 2016.
Just for the technicality.
If you arrive Canada by “plane”, you have to get ETA.
If you arrive by “car, bus, train or ship (cruise)”, you don’t need the visa/ETA.
Very long to read it all, but brilliant, and well written, down to the details. I had mine renewed April 2016, and TOLD the Canadian border lady that I am going to get the visa! No problems.
Thanks for the great info, have a first E3 renewal coming up next year and currently working out what I am going to do.
I wondered about your comment about the LCA and that the granted date is when your visa starts.
This is not my experience from the first E3 I got. I had my LCA approved in early July but for various reasons did not apply for the visa at the US consulate until late August. The expiration of my visa was based on the date my E3 was approved at the consulate, not the LCA approval date.
Just bumping this in case anyone had any experience or knowledge of this to confirm.
My employer has already applied for the LCA but we are not travelling to Australia until June for the renewal. Given we only get 2 years on the E3 if the visa is valid from the LCA approval date then that would mean ‘losing’ 4 months of the 2 year cycle, bringing that next required renewal around that much quicker.
Thanks in advance
Hey Tim, I just returned from Australia in Jan’18 after doing an E3R (returning professional). Similar to your case, my LCA was from Jun’17 so validity on LCA was till June’19. The visa stamp I got says Jun’19 (not Jan’20). So E3 visa stamp validity is linked to validity of the LCA……..at least thats what I thought till I reached the desk of the CBP officer at the airport who to my surprise told me that this is incorrect and visa should have been granted till Jan’20 and now my I-94 is valid till Jan’20!!!. Having said that our immigration attorney said that next time you come back into the country on the same visa, the next CBP officer might have different views. …
Thanks , appreciate the response. That wasn’t my experience when I originally got the E3 so thats why I was confused, Last time I was just given 2 years from the date they approved the visa in the consulate. Maybe it is different for the renewal, who knows.
Anyway thanks, I am speaking to the lawyers to see if the LCA can be changed to be dated closer to my travel. Losing a few months I am ok with but losing 4-6 months on it I would like to avoid. Having 3 small children we want to minimize how often we have to all travel out of the countryto get these renewals done.
Our first E3 was granted in October 2016. The LCA has been approved 1 July but we remained in Sydney for a few months as my Dad was terminally ill.
I assumed our visa would expire 1 July 2018. However, we have twice been overseas since our visa was granted and each time the passport control officers have stated that our visas expire on 17 October 2018. I questioned one of them ( I know! How brave am I!!) saying that I thought we had to leave by 1 July 2018 and the officer very patronisingly told me, ‘No. See – we have given you 2 years FROM YOUR DATE OF FIRST ENTRY TO USA.
Husband now flatly refuses to leave before October when we’ll head to Sydney for our renewal. I Hope they let us back in !! Watch this space!!!
Thank you so much for your Blog. I really appreciate the great work you have done writing this.
It helped me a lot with my initial E3 and now I am going for my change of Employer(E3 renewal) to Vancouver.
My new employer has filed for the LCA and has given me the LCA number. Would you recommend me waiting till the LCA is approved(another 5 days) or is it ok to schedule an interview now since I already have the LCA number.
Thank you in advance.
The piece of paper with the approval proudly displayed on it from DoL is the 2nd most important piece of paper (after the DS-160). You can book an appointment without the LCA being Certified (what you’re calling Approved) but you are rolling the dice. That said, I’ve booked flights and appointments before it gets certified myself and been fine (really wanna buy the folks who do the LCA approval process a beer some day – they’re one of the more efficient part of the Federal Government and when they’ve rejected me for making a mistake they’ve given me good feedback)
Thank you. That is true. Usually LCA takes 7 days and it should be Certified soon. Would you recommend it be signed? Last time my employer signed it and i took the signed copy.
Having a signed original for that I would need to take the train into NYC which would be time consuming.
I don’t think there’s a need for the original signed version; has never been an issue when I’ve done it.
Ok. Thank you.
Replying the issue of “signing” of the ETA9035 form.
It has to be signed (whether original or copy).
I didn’t get it signed last year, and I had to return the following day for the final interview. Of course, in the meantime, I had asked my employer to sign the copy and scan/email the copy. I had it printed out in the afternoon, and presented it the following day.
Thank you. Yes I have asked the employer to send me a signed scanned copy just incase.
Does anybody know a decent accomodation where they have stayed in Vancouver – not to exy. Thanks
I live in New Jersey, Halifax seems to be closer for the renewal for E3 visa and also the wait time is 10 days.
Has anyone done renewal of E3 in Halifax, please let me know what your experience has been?
Halifax? Wouldn’t Ottawa or Montreal be closer? The “Waiting Time” on the Visa Waiting Time website is a “general guide”, not the uptodate figure. If I remember correctly, at the moment, the appointment time for Halifax would be next year. For Ottawa, it is December, and Montreal, next year, I believe.
HOWEVER, once you have completed the DS-160 and “paid” the dues, you can make the tentative “appointment time”.
What you should do is to check back in “everyday” (or even every hour, if you are desperate), to change the appointment time.
That’s how I got the appointment (from starting to fill DS-160 form to setting up the appointment) in 6 days. It took me 3 hours of clicking back and forth for the new appointment slot, when the original was ?1st of December.
Hope this helps. I am leaving this Wednesday evening from NJ for an interview in Ottawa (for the second renewal and change of employer). Although I will have to travel to the same place in 2-3 months for the different visa (and become unemployed).
Actually Halifax does show 10 days wait on https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/wait-times.html/.
Good you stated that to me so I could actually schedule it in Ottawa and keep checking to see if there is any cancellations and drive there from NJ.
I totally understand where you are coming from (the given link). I had considered that option last year. At the same time, “1 day” processing time is never heard (“why not, I guess?). However, I don’t think you can make an appointment at Halifax on the “actual” website, where you “make” the appointment. https://ais.usvisa-info.com/en-CA/niv/users/sign_in.
I just logged back into my own appointment, to see if I could make an appointment in Halifax, but I couldn’t. Of course, I had “designated” the interview site to Ottawa.
However, for all other places (Calgary, Toronto, Vancouver, Quebec City, Montreal), there ARE appointments available for me to choose from. The main cities, December, but the rest are after Jan (Calgary, Quebec City). I couldn’t for Halifax (the only one).
If I were you, I would “make the phone call directly” to the US Consulate in Halifax, to find out whether they are “ACTUALLY” open for visa processing.
Just thinking back to last year, I had the original interview on Thursday and return the following day (Friday) for the “signed” ETA9035, and got the passport on Monday early afternoon. So, 1 day visa processing is possible. On the website at the time, it did say “3 days” of processing time. I think it is very much upto the individual immigration officer. It was also for “renewal”, rather than “new” or “change of employers”, so maybe, it was easier to deal with.
Thanks for the info. I think maybe I will change the DS160 to reflect Ottawa before submitting the form and I would try and schedule one in Ottawa and keep checking what date I get. The earlier the better. Also it is only 8 hours drive rather than flying 6 hours to Vancouver.
When I started to look for the appointment on the night of Oct 12th, one came up for Oct 17th at Ottawa, after a couple of hours of “no appointment”, which soon disappeared in the following hour (I couldn’t make it on 17th anyway). On the following morning (around 9:30am), there was one for 19th, which I took. Try early morning time (“must”) and late night (before sleep) for the change in schedule. Good luck.
Where are you picking the passport from?
What location is best in OTTAWA?
It depends on where you stay, and how urgent you need to collect.
I had mine at the closest Post Office to US Embassy. I was staying, near Downtown Ottawa, as well.
It was (and it is this year),
OTTAWA POSTAL STATION B
59 SPARKS ST
OTTAWA, ON, K1P5A0
(Entrance on the Corner). I had imagined it as the General Post Office (as on Burke St, Melbourne), but it wasn’t. A big traditional building, though. It was a walking distance to Parliament House.
I think, the delivery time, was 2pm or 3pm for that office (I think, it took them 1 hour to sort the mails out). I was the 2nd in-line. On the tracking, US Embassy had sent the passport on Friday afternoon (1 business day before).
I believe there is one other location in Ottawa, near Downtown. I didn’t look for any other locations in Ontario state.
Of course, if you are vacationing and staying at a distance place (and don’t have to return to USA ASAP), you can deliver it to the other places, where you plan to stay.
In the meantime (following the interview), I plan to travel around Thousand Islands on the weekend, which would be perfect for this time of the year.
I am yet to book the accommodation (thanks to my wife’s indecision), but likely will make it “on the way” on Priceline.
Thanks, i selected 59 sparks street.
I have to also check on accomodations and other stuff. All the best.
How did you go with your interview?
Planning on flying to Montreal next week and driving to Ottawa.
Any tips or comments please let me know.
Sorry, I couldn’t reply sooner. I spent last few days at a place with no internet.
The visa interview went well. The interview was on Thursday and I am on the way (from Montreal) to pick up the passport later this arvo. They had sent it on Friday (picked up by Canadian Post on Fri PM around 3pm). I don’t think Canadian Post works on Sat, hence pick up on Monday. I wondered what would happen with a Private Home delivery (whether they would do Sat, or even 1 day later).
This was 2nd time at Ottawa embassy. Renewing the visa, as well as change of employers.
My job requirement (to get the license in US and be qualified for a particular job) is highly complex and takes a long time (takes 4-5 years at least). Therefore, it is very “reliable job” in a Visa interview. Furthermore, I am being employed by very big company (over 2000 employees). So it is an advantage.
But most of all, I think, the reliability and the size of the company you work for would be the main factor.
I had taken the licenses, Uni degree, Aus Citizenship, but they didn’t want them.
They only asked for the Contract and Job Offer letter, along with ETA9505 form and passport, containing I-95 and previous visa (not even previous passport).
I had taken the copy of my Commbank statement ($300 left), but had no document, with a “link” to Australia. But, she didn’t ask for any not questions.
3 questions she asked was how I was in Canada (answered “visiting” an she was okay), how long I was in US and what was my plan after visa ends.
I have a wife working full-time and 2 US citizen school aged kids, and a Mortgage in US, so I don’t have any plan to return, HOWEVER, I had told the officer that I wanted to take a break and return to Australia, before coming back again. She then typed vigorously on the computer. She then said she was issuing the visa, and said it will take 3-4 “business days” (I knew she meant 2 business days).
I don’t there’s any to worry about, especially if it is renewal. But think up something for your plan after 2 years. E-3 visa is a non-immigration visa, so you shouldn’t be saying you will stay, even though E-3 is permanent.
Good luck. The autumn foliage will be picking when you come.
My process was similar. Just a few questions asked and really fast. Interview on Monday and got the visa on Wednesday.
Extremely lucky- booked an appointment for 24th October at Ottawa.
All the best to you. Let me know how you went at Ottawa. I am still thinking of driving. Lets see how things go. Let me know any feedback or comments you have.
Congrats! You see. However, it is NOT recommended though (to make the appointment in the last minute). ^.^
There is a Scenic Train from Penn Station to Montreal, which leaves at 8am (takes 12 hours), which you could try. This is the best time of the year. Then rent the car from Montreal, but I strongly recommend that you sleep in Ottawa, the night before. There IS a traffic (plenty of parking spots though), near US Embassy in the morning.
By driving, you have to be careful for the deer (I hit one 4 years ago, on the way to Niagara Falls). I hit Kangaroo, wombat, snakes, rabbit, Canadian goose and squirrels before (may be to do with me driving).
By the way, there was a huge sink hole in the Downtown Ottawa earlier this year, which near US Embassy.
Taking the train makes sense also the tickets are $77. I have to decide and see what is the best option. I already have an ETA which i applied online.
I might reschedule appointment depending on when my LCA is certified, it should be by Thursday.
ETA is required for Air travel, but not for Bus, Train, Car or Ship.
Visa approved in Ottawa, Canada.
From time of booking the appointment to approval 10 days.
My apologies upfront for asking a stupid question. My wife and I will be taking our 2 year old daughter to Ottawa for our visa interview. My daughter is a US citizen. Will she be allowed to enter the consulate with us during the interview ? Do I need to file a DS 160 for her in order to be let inside the consulate. thanks for you advise.
Are you both (you and your wife) applying for the visa?
The official recommendation is not to travel with children. However, what can you do?
They are reasonable. I think you should be okay. Don’t forget to take 2 year old’s passport along.
There is an email address where you can send the enquiry to the Embassy. I don’t think you need DS-160 for your child. It is only for the non-citizens.
thanks for your reply Hojin, yes I am applying for E3 and my wife will be on an E3D. It is better to go prepared, I’ve had a few panics on the morning of the interview. I will write to the consulate and ask.
Hi Geoff, I just completed this process and everything is as above. I got my first e3 following your other blog too.
They didn’t check my letter of offer or my academic transcript.
Just wanted to let you know that this has made a massive difference in my life, and I don’t think I could have done it without the clear concise instructions you’ve written. My daughter has a specific medical condition that is not covered well in Australia. These instructions have made it possible for me to extend per life expectancy from about 30 years old to a normal life expectancy.
You’re most welcome – as a new parent, I can only imagine. Wishing you and your family a wonderful road ahead.
Hi Guys, first off, – Thanks Geoff and everyone – Awesome blog and great discussion.
Im just wondering if anyone had renewed/applied for E3 in Europe – Say the UK or France? do they even do it.
Im in the US on E3 now but changing employers – so new E3. Im planning on taking some time off to visit mates in the UK and would greatly appreciate the assistance if anyone has applied E3 (or has info about) in London or anywhere in Europe
I applied for my both my E-3 visas in London (first time was a holder of Indefinite Leave to Remain) and then I applied for my second E-3 in London (this time as a naturalised British citizen). There were no issues for either one, except that in 2015 (around about the same time as Geoff applied for his in Vancouver), there was a power failure that created a massive backlog of US visa processing across the world.
You just have to follow the process that Geoff documented, but obviously selecting the US Consulate in London instead of Vancouver. The documentation is the same.
The one thing I’ll say is that for my second visa, my immigration lawyers said that I had to provide an affidavit notarised by a lawyer to say that my Australian 3 year Bachelor Degree was equivalent to the standard American 4 year Bachelor Degree. I found a lawyer in London who was willing to do that (who amazingly enough, had done it before as the wording is quite specific) which cost about 100 quid.
Does anyone have experience picking up their passport from post office without a government issued ID? I traveled to Vancouver to renew my visa and am waiting for it to be ready but foolishly forgot to bring my CA driver’s license. I have a photocopy of my birth certificate as well as credit card/bank statements, pay stubs, lease, insurance statements, etc. which establish my name and residency address. Do you think they will let me pick it up with all of these documents?
Yes! – My wife did this last week. She had government issued ID, but we had recently changed address, so the postal service would not release it. She had to provide a utility bill. sounds like you’ll be fine.
I am a naturalized Aussie working in the US for the last 8 years on the E3. I am concerned about my Australian citizenship given that I have not been back since. Have there been changes in the laws back in Australia regarding absentee citizens ?
Thanks for your reply.
I am planning to renew (rather new E3 visa) in Vancouver soon and curious to know, how long it took for processing the visa from the interview and to deliver to postal address?
How early can you renew your e3? My Current e3 expires in August but I am wanting to tie my next appointment in with an overseas trip in May! Can I have my LCA completed now – would my company just put my ‘start work date’ as a date in May?
And how far in advance are appointment times available?
Thank you in advance!!
You can renew an E3 anytime. I moved to a new state 6 months after arriving in the US. New state means new LCA and new E3 (well according to the company immigration lawyer). So I found myself applying for a new E3 with 18 months left on the old one. Consular guy simply stamped the old one ‘cancelled without prejudice’ and I got a new one.
I think appointment times very per consulate, you will need to check the state department website.
Happy holiday 😊
Great thank you! I have another question. We are renewing our e3 for the 3rd time so have a previous account that was used to make our last 2 appointments. When we log in this time there is no option to book appointment or pay the fee. Does anybody know why this is the case? I realize we could create a new account using a different email address but that means it would be a different email than the one used on the DS160 form and it states all info should be the same for both.
odd. When I login to https://cgifederal.secure.force.com i see the option to do the application/make an appointment on the left side in red, right above group scheduling request. If you are using IE try clearing your browser cache (options – delete history). If you are using some other browser try IE.
I got my E3 visa transferred to a new employer successfully today at Vancouver. Thanks Geoff for this blog, this gave me lot information in one spot which is not documented anywhere. I wanted to add my experience so it can benefit others. My experience briefly –
# Job offer letter received on Feb 13th.
# Employer filed LCA on Feb 14th.
# Used LCA case number to book appointments (for spouse, kid and I) at Vancouver for Feb 27th (assumed LCA will be approved by Feb 23rd). I chose non-Canadian residing in USA applying for a visa when booking this, wait time was 7 calendar days.
# Booked flights to Vancouver (assumed to return by Mar 2nd).
# LCA was approved on Feb 22nd.
# Flew in to Vancouver on Feb 26th. Was asked at immigration purpose and duration of visit, answered tourism for 5 days.
# Taxi trip from airport to hotel $35. Stayed in a hotel downtown about 15mins walk from the consulate.
# Attended visa interview on 27th at 9am. I took only documents and one passport size photo and wallet. No mobile phones or backpack. DS-160 and photo was checked outside of the building. People were sent back to get latest photo if they were older than 6 months.
# We were then taken in to security check, they scanned (visually and x-ray) our documents, jackets, belts, wallets.
# Were then taken upstairs in an elevator in to the floor they processed visas.
# At the entrance our passports, photos, documents, LCA were checked and arranged in their required order and were sent to window 1.
# At window 1 they checked all our documents again, scanned in our photos in to the system. Returned all our documents and photos and regrouped our passports and LCA only. Were then asked to go to window 2.
# At window 2 checked our passports again and obtained our finger prints and were asked to wait in a line for the interviewer.
# A lady interviewer called us to her window and asked me following questions
* Is this a renewal? I said no, change of employer.
* Who is your new employer? I said my employer name, she checked that on the LCA.
* What is your highest degree? I answered.
* What is your new position? I answered.She checked the LCA again.
* What are your duties? I answered. She typed in to her computer.
* What product does your employer sell? I answered. She typed in to her computer.
# Lady said your visa is approved, you will receive your passports in 3-5 business days.
# Exited out of the building and checked the time, it was about 9:45am.
# Checked my visa application status on 27th night, it said administrative processing.
# On 28th at 10am received an email from US Visa saying our passports are mailed out and was provided tracking number.
# Downloaded Canada Post app and added the tracking number and enabled notification. In the evening I was notified that the package was being processed, arrival tomorrow.
# I will be collecting my passports tomorrow and flying out March 2nd as planned.
Surprisingly everything worked as per plan (usually anything I plan doesn’t work out as expected). A big thanks to Geoff for this blog and all the people who left their valuable comments. This is my effort in giving back.
Great Blog – from NYC and wanted to do Toronto, but with a waiting time of 28 days I went with Vancouver as per the blog. Got the LCA on a Tuesday, booked the interview for Friday (using the similar method as the blog), then the flights and accom. Now I was freaking a bit that perhaps I was a bit hasty in booking (as I can’t be away from the office too long), but the interview process was super easy and no issues.
Here’s the fun part – anticipating that it would take a few days, I booked whistler and got to ski uninterrupted for 4 days and now the visa is on the way tomorrow – i’ll get my flight changed and home free.
Moral of the story: Book Vancouver in the winter and ski your face off.
Saw a few people mention needing a government issued ID to pick up their passport after getting the Visa approved. Would I need a CA driver’s license, or would an id like https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/idinfo/idcard work fine? Or even a valid Australian driver’s license?
I can get my driver’s license, but my wife will also need an ID and is unable to drive. Not sure if her name is on any of our utility bills, what ID can she use?
CA driver’s license is fine. Sometimes they send both in same package, sometimes they send the passport separately. You can prepare the authorization form and us it
Just noticed your reply. Thanks for the info!
Firstly i’d like to say this blog is awesome, In 2016 I used this blog as a renewal process in Vancouver as I reside in California and was successful in my E-3 renewal of my social media and marketing role with my company after an initial approval in Perth in 2015.
In January 2018 I went to update my business LLC details as ownership changed on the company in Perth, Australia when visiting home for the first time in over a year. Upon my interview process I was told my income was close to the low income salary and my degree didn’t qualify as it wasn’t a strictly “marketing” bachelors and cancelled my visa without prejudice, he did make a snard remark about in his opinion that role isn’t really a “Specialty Occupation” advising I go back to the USA talk to my employers and work to amend the issues.
I did that in March, and then was offered an amended role with a new company which directly applied to my degree in Event, Sport and Recreation Management, as well as an amended role with my initial company, so once all LCA’s were confirmed and documents from now two employers were done headed to Vancouver and did all the steps forementioned in this blog, as I had successfully done in December 2016.
Everything ran smooth, till the last interview process where I, in my opinion was unlucky in getting a consular interviewer returning to her first day in over 10months and had no idea about any visas other than her standard B1-B2’s (she told me herself). She went back and forth between her window with her boss, asked me questions (much longer than the last time or any of the three times) I have done this process, then denied my visa on the basis that an Athlete Development Coordinator and Events and recreation coordinator roles I was being employed for were not specialty occupation and was rather annoyed I had come to the Vancouver Consulate vs. an Australian one.
What frustrated me was that in the interview she asked a brief run down of my job, though did not even take the letter of offer, my roles and responsibilities documentation and expressed my job “of being a promoter for these companies” isn’t considered specialty, as she could do them. Crazily though though made this statement, without even looking at the documents I’m required to bring. The specifics, pay, role/responsibilities that these real jobs actually entail, so that remark threw me off, especially without looking at the required and official documentation.
I guess in commenting here, I want to advise that perhaps the E-3 visas are getting stricter with renewals and “specialty roles” as my initial role that was confirmed and renewed was an entry lower income job and in social media without a precise degree to match the requirements. Especially now that I have been denied twice in two different consular locations. I know the interviewers must be persuaded about the role, though there is no EXACT list of roles pertaining to what “specialty” is. My roles are within specialty industries like martial arts and events and recreation and this time I was well above requirements in salary and degree specifications…
Do you have any suggestions as to my next attempt to how I could make these said roles more ‘specialty’ perhaps?
I have these awesome new roles that are amazing opportunities that can grow my occupation and further propel my career having already set up contacts and relationships over the last three years and look to reapply again as I believe that I redid what the first denial officer recommended to be approved and yesterdays Vancouver interview was honestly not a fair decision, especially when she went back and forth with no idea what she was doing and liaising from a far, and in my opinion having made her decision based on her boss on her first day back. Do you think I’d be better off applying in Vancouver again or perhaps from OZ? Ideally Vancouver is closer and affordable time and money wise though not wanting to trigger this denial again.
I’d really appreciate some insight, I know this isn’t your job but anything would help!
Sorry to hear about your troubles Natalie, and i must admit that it is quite concerning to hear that you were denied at 2 different locations, though i must agree it sounds like you got the rough end of the stick in Vancouver with the consular employee not knowing anything about an E3 Visa type.
I am actually going to head back home to the Perth consulate myself in mid-December for my E3-Visa renewal & am hoping that i don’t run into similar issues myself. I’m working in California as a Snr Manager of Social Media for a tech company here & have had no previous issues during my other renewals (in Perth and Vancouver). I guess the fact that my degree is a Bachelor of Arts, Majoring in Internet Studies hopefully means that it ticks the box for both speciality occupation and required degree, but i guess we will see! I’ve always worried that the whole process is actually dependent on the mood and experience of the individual you encounter at the Consulate window.
I would be interested to hear if anyone else has experienced increased difficulty with their recent Visa renewals. Makes me wonder if it’s a new trend.
Thanks for the reply Matthew!
I don’t know, I now know the cancellation and refusal are now on my file for sure and have an initial approval plus a renewal (as you have in Perth and Vancouver) so I’m hoping that my stuff goes through again. Like I mentioned I haven’t had any issues over the last three years until now so hoping too its not a trend and isn’t a big red cross on my future visa applications.
Especially considering my initial approval was accepted with 6months pending on my bachelors and the interviewer used my work experience to fill this gap. Fingers crossed the next consulate interviewer will take my application in review and it’ll all work out. Now my issue is planning on whether to return to Oz and do so, and sort this out!
This is the best blog I came across so far that explains, in detail, process and cautions applicants should take when they appear for E3 interviews starting from application. I did mine in a couple of months ago at Vancouver and it went very smooth. Thanks to all who have contributed their experiences here. I will not go into much details since it is mostly the same process with similar questions about name of employer, position and responsibilities. Officer did ask my son a few questions though as my son is a teen. He asked which year he is studying, which sport he follows and if he likes US. No questions were asked to my wife. That’s all. All in all, all the staff there was helpful and clear about instructions and guidance where to proceed for next step.
I rented car from Seattle and drove to Vancouver and back. I did mention to the lady officer at the entry to CA that I am entering to renew my E3 visa but she did not seem to have any issues and let me drive in the country. I chose this option as it is much cheaper to fly domestic and rent a car than fly overseas from non-metro location in the US since there are not many options of direct flights from these locations in the US.
When we entered US, our passports now have a white paper stapled. I am not sure what we should do with it. It says it needs electronic record updated in their records. I am planning a visit to Australia next week and wonder if my entry back in the US will be smooth and at what point the white paper that is stapled to our passports will be removed and at what point to update our entry records into US customs/Security.
Word of advice:
1. Wait periods:
These seen on the site when we choose a location are not really helpful. I initially chose Halifax as it showed 10 days waiting but when I actually went to book one at Halifax it was not available rest of the year. Same with a couple more eastern locations. Vancouver showed 7 days waiting so I booked my appointment at Vancouver and changed the location again in my application. I carried both the applications print outs just in case I need to provide explanation why I changed my location. But that seems no issue. They print two stickers at the back of your passport, one that shows initial location and second with amended location for their records I suppose.
2. For those who choose to drive to Canada and drive back into the US:
On the way driving back into the US, make sure you are not entering into the Nexus Card (Frequent traveler lane – which is to the extreme right). This is at the Peace Arch Entry point that I used. There are three road routes to drive and cross border but most recommend Peach Arch for cars as this is straight national highway between Seattle and Vancouver. There are only two lanes initially as we approach to the Peach Arch entry point but as we come closer those lanes change to about 10 lanes. Even though they have signs up on the entry gates, it was dusk around 6:30am (to beat the busy traffic) when I reached there and had only one car in front of me. Generally right lanes are slow and left lanes are fast (as a thumb rule) so I was in the right lane trying to figure out which one I should use. I just followed my car in front as there was only one car in the vicinity but unfortunately ended up in the Nexus Lane. Until then I did not know what is meant by Nexus Lane. If you do not have Nexus Card, you are fined $500 on the spot but I mentioned to the officer I did not know about this and followed the slow lane he was kind to let me enter with just a verbal warning. So just be careful not to enter into the Nexus lane if you do not have Nexus card. I was lucky to be in the ‘non’Nexus Lane I suppose when I entered into CA. I checked with a few colleagues in my office about Nexus Card and they did not know what is a Nexus Card until I shared my experience with them.
I visited Toronto last year for 4 days and drove across the Rainbow Bridge but did not come across the Nexus Lane concept.
Thanks Sandy! Great advice!! Is the white paper called an I-94? These went electronic a few years back – might be a holdover at land border crossings and if it is an I-94 I don’t think you need to worry.
Geoff, you are correct. Thanks for your prompt response!!
I did some search and yes apparently it is I-94. Though the instructions are not clear (during getting this at the border and on the form itself), it looks like this is still a practice while crossing the border by road. They (Border Security) then mail these records to their central processing office where those records get updated. I checked my I-94 online and I can see it has updated my entry to the US by road. This delay in updating records (since they mail the records) also seems to cause some issues when I went to renew by Driver’s license at DMV (and also to get Real ID on my driver’s license). DMV officer mentioned they have pending status check on my visa. But that seems cleared now when I called them yesterday and they have sent documents to process further and update the status.
I’ve just got a job offer in Aviation, employer is eager to go E3 but wants to use an immigration attorney to apply for the LCA. Can anyone comment on this? How long does it take for an LCA to be processed?
Seems like standard procedure. If hiring company has immigration lawyers its extremely normal for them to submit the LCA on behalf of the company. LCA submission is a quick process, but if i remember correctly, there is a 10-day waiting period for it to be processed.
There is no need for you to get an Immigration Attorney. LCA takes 5 business days (1 week turn around time). If the company has a lawyer, it will be helpful (due to a few legal definitions, like Prevailing Wage, etc). I have once renewed (same process as the original application) in 13 days from asking the employer for LCA to getting the passport back after an Embassy interview.
Thanks Matt, Once you get the E3 in your passport, is there any time window in which you must start the job, or is it valid for the time period of the E3? which is how long?
Once you’ve had your interview and been approved, had the passport sent off to get the E3 visa pasted in and had it mailed back to you, then you can fly to the US and once begin work. The E3 is valid for 2 years from the date of issue of the Visa.
I believe you have 6 months from the visa start date to enter USA and thus activate the E3, otherwise you will lose its validity.
Thanks Again Matt,
I’m also a Canadian working in Canada so I cross the border so often I am a familiar sight to most of them where I cross. The only delays are obligatory social chat. I’l be feeling a lot more confident when the LCA arrives.
Just wanted to share my experience of renewing my E-3 visa at the US Consulate in Vancouver this week.
We needed to renew in a hurry as we realized that my husband’s EAD was going to expire when our visas did, but we weren’t able to renew the EAD until our visas were renewed – an immigration attorney advised we try to renew as quickly as possible and then apply for the EAD extension immediately upon return to the United States. I was concerned we wouldn’t be able to get an appointment in Vancouver soon enough so we were looking at possibly going to Mexico, but over the course of a couple of days, I kept checking the earliest available appointments in Vancouver (this was in the first week of July; my new LCA was submitted and certified in June with a start date in July). Initially the earliest available appointments were in November, then in December, then no appointments available, and finally some became available in early August. I submitted our DS-160s and got an appointment for August, but kept checking the visa appointment service website in case an earlier one became available, and at 10pm on a Friday night, it did! So we changed our existing appointment to an early appointment on July 16. Note that I marked ‘Yes’ for the question about whether the applicant is traveling from another country, as I didn’t want to risk it.
My experience at the consulate was pretty aligned with what everyone else has mentioned. In terms of documentation, I took:
-DS-160 forms for me and my husband
-photos for the visa
-printed email confirmation of payment for the visa application processing fee
-printed emails from the US consulate in Vancouver confirming that E-3 visas are processed there (this was a suggestion from the lawyer also – to email them beforehand and get confirmation they process visas, in case we had any issues on the day; they said in the email that they process both first time and renewing visas for third country nationals)
-ETA visa waivers for travel to Canada
-our marriage certificate
-a letter from my employer confirming they were continuing my employment and outlining key responsibilities as well as my salary and benefits
-transcript of my degree from Australia (just the transcripts themselves, no proof of equivalency with a US degree)
-my three most recent paystubs
-a copy of our lease agreement to show we’re living where we say we are
-most recent bank statements from both Australia and the US (to show we can support ourselves, and that we still have bank accounts in Australia)
The interview took less than two minutes, I was asked:
-what does your company do?
-what is your salary?
She didn’t ask to see ANY of the documentation I hauled over from the US, but I’m glad I had it all with me just in case. All she then said was ‘your visas are approved, you’ll get your passports back in 3-5 business days’.
On Monday evening, I checked the status of our visas and same as Geoff’s experience, the status had been changed to ‘Administrative Processing’. It was changed to ‘Issued’ on Tuesday, so I think this might just be an administrative step for everyone that they change your status to ‘Administrative Processing’ between the end of the interview and your visa being issued. There was another visa applicant who came out around the same as us who asked whether we’d been given the same white sheet of paper as him that explained administrative processing. He also had a green sheet that had information about how to pick up your passport – we hadn’t been told anything about administrative processing, and were definitely told ‘you’ll get your passports back in 3-5 business days’ so I don’t think you need to worry about your status being changed to administrative processing unless you were explicitly told in the interview that your visa was subject to it.
We received emails on Tuesday afternoon that our passports had been released by the consulate, with a tracking number. Our passports were ready to be picked up by Wednesday at noon at the post office location we’d selected.
All in all, the consulate experience was really smooth and quicker than my consulate visits in Australia. The staff were friendly, helpful, and efficient. I also noted that there’s a photo booth in the building and they let a couple of people take new photos without payment if their photos didn’t meet the requirements (I’m not sure if this is the case if you don’t have photos at all).
The only minor hiccup we had was that then when we were crossing the border, the border agent didn’t seem to be very familiar with E-3 visas. I showed the certified LCA (the only documentation I’ve ever been asked for, and usually border agents haven’t asked to see it) and the agent said this was just an application and not a certification, and that I was supposed to have evidence that my employer had tried to fill the position within the United States but wasn’t able to (which, as far as I’m aware, is not a requirement for the E-3 visa). I didn’t say any of this, just hoped it would get resolved, and fortunately it did – the agent asked a couple of things about my position and then stamped our passports.
I’ve been given incorrect information by border agents several times – I was once told that I could continue working until my i94 ‘admin until’ date, which was past the end dates on both my visa and my LCA (this didn’t sound right to me so I checked with an attorney, and they said you definitely cannot work past the date of your LCA and that the border agents made a mistake in giving us an additional two years on our i94s every time we’ve re-entered the United States – it should only be until the expiry date on the visa, and the attorney said they were probably conflating the E-3 with the E-1 and E-2 because the E-3 is fairly uncommon and they may not be familiar with the visa). So if you get told something by a border agent that sounds strange, I would definitely encourage you to check with an attorney who specialises in the E-3 visa (I’ve found several who are happy to ask a couple of questions over the phone without charging you, or who just have a phone consultation fee).
Hope all of that was helpful. A different immigration lawyer had told me it was extremely risky to be renewing our visas somewhere other than Australia but none of the consular staff seemed at all fazed by third country nationals renewing their visas in Vancouver – I think there were a lot of people there doing exactly that.
A huge relief to be back across the border with another two years here! Good luck everyone!
I am currently on E-3 visa (expires Jan 2020) and am looking to transfer an H1-B with the same employer so I can eventually apply for a Green Card since I can’t do that while on E-3. Has anyone been through this process for switching visa types and can enlighten me?
Calgary Embassy Versus Sydney or Melbourne?
Would anyone have had an experience with Calgary on an initial?
I’m told that Melb or Syd is more routine for E3 interviews.
Has anyone done Calgary? The wait time is short, this could mean that they don’t really do it and will forward it to another location and therefore the incur the wait that is already present at those locations.
The DOL code shows almost double what the real average wage is
my occupation as the actual sub group is not given any attention.
Are there alternatives or evidence you can show that indicates the real average
Heads up to those without a Bachelor’s degree and relying upon experience and other qualifications. I’ve been researching the E-3 for months as I was not satisfied with the information on this site and other forums where it is extremely easy to be mislead.
If you are unsuccessful with an E-3 Visa, you effectively just had your One and Only kick at that can. You don’t get to have another attempt. A single rejection of an E-3 can effectively prevent you from getting an E-3 from even another employer. The rejection generally has very serious prejudice.
Alternative experience and qualifications MUST HAVE an “Authorized Evaluation” that can cost up to $500 in addition to a lawyer’s fee. Those who just file for an E-3 with an LCA and no Evaluation are being rejected. As are the people who attempt to get their initial E-3 at an embassy outside of Australia. While some Australians do get their initial E-3 in another country, the vast majority of successful initials and renewals are made in and from Australia.
I would really appreciate any recent information from anyone who has recently successfully or unsuccessfully, used a lawyer for an experience and qualifications based E-3 Visa.
Email me me at this user name at G mail.
What has your _actual_ first hand experience been?
My above post is from my notes of “Actual first hand experience” that was related to me by
very reliable people who either got an E-3 or had to go another route. The statistical information
I quoted is available from the homeland security site.
I’m now looking for a lawyer who is has lots of experience in using the alternative experience and qualifications.
Geoff, is it possible to delete a comment I’ve made on your advice site?
Just thought I would add my experience of Reykjavik trip. We were heading to Calgary – 3 days appointment time, vs 45 days + everywhere else in Canada, and did not book appointment as my wife had to renew passport – and it jumped from 3 to 22. So went for Reykjavik with a 2 days appointment time. When we got onto the appointment website, it has jumped to 8 (I was told later it was a few student visas taking up the time for the week). Reykjavik only has interviews and collection on Tuesday and Thursday morning, and you pick up the visa/passport on the following interview/collection date – i.e interview on Tuesday (always morning I think), pick up Thursday (afternoon only). So just picked mine up today – they advise time at 2pm – got in there about 210pm.
This was a renewal – interview question was ‘is this a renewal or a new visa’ and that was it. Lady who interviewed was very pleasant as were all the other Icelandic support staff.
The only issue with this embassy is there is no cover if weather is bad (luckily for us , no rain on both days). The guard said in winter time it was awful for people waiting. They move to a new building next year – so that will be an issue that may disappear.
Visa cost was $205.
A positive vs Canada – no question of ‘are you a non-Icelandic resident” as for Canada – so no stress factor at all.
Reykjavik is not cheap – but we stayed in a very nice apartment (brand new) through AirBNB – but you can book book directly as well (SIF apartments). 25 min walk to Embassy through centre of town. Paid $1307 for 8 nights. Full kitchen, washing machine dryer, 1 bedroom – plus sofa bed for extra 2 if you want. Located at end of main down town (opposite end of downtown to Embassy ).
Food at upper end restaurants are good and price is comparable to Silicon Valley upper end (but nicer restaurants for most part in Iceland) – especially as you do not have to pay +++ taxes, San Jose charge and tip. Lower end place are – expensive – basic Shawarma – pay $15-$17. A lot of supermarket stuff is pretty expensive too. Taxi from airport to city is well over $100 – so we got the bus as many do – but not cheap either. But strangely we got amazing prices in men’s clothes in 2 places (one an outlet store in central shopping street) with really big discounts which there is no way I could match in California (even outlet malls) and maybe only in Europe at outlet locations in Germany.
Also a tip for travel – I accidentally had American Airlines website on Australia English – ticket was 40% less priced in AUD than American English site, the British site was 30% cheaper than American. So ticket price was totally comparable to Calgary ticket. Had to change at Dallas Fort Worth airport -which I thought was pretty grotty, and on line entertainment I thought was crap and no seat back system (I got used to Emirates and Qatar after long time over there).
So I would definitely add Iceland to the list of ‘should consider’ as a very straight forward and painless option.
I need to renew my E-3 visa with the same employer soon but the next available appointment in Canada is not until February which is 3 weeks after my visa expires in January. Will it be an issue if I have a gap between?
The only minor hiccup we had was that then when we were crossing the border, the border agent didn’t seem to be very familiar with E-3 visas. I showed the certified LCA