E3 Visa Renewal in Vancouver

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.

LCA Application

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.

DS-160 Application

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.

visa-appointment-wait-time

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).

canada-application-0

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.

canada-application-1

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.

canada-application-2

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).

canada-application-3

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).

You line up outside to get checked in. Would be cold in Winter!!!

You line up outside to get checked in. Would be cold in Winter!!!

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.

canada-application-4

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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

Recommended Timing

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.

Conclusions

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!

Saying Thanks

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.

248 thoughts on “E3 Visa Renewal in Vancouver

  1. Great read Geoff, thank you for taking the time to share your experience. Doesn’t matter how much reading you do of the official websites, a first hand account is much more informative.

      • We got our E3 visas in Paris (we were living in France at the time) and it was a fairly straightforward process….at least as straight forward as these things can be. Definitely check the latest info on where you can apply for first time visas and renewals.

  2. Hi Geoff,

    Thanks a lot for taking the time to write and share your experiences with getting an E-3 visa in Canada. It helps me a lot as I was planning to do it there in mid August too, but after reading your story, I think I’d better do it elsewhere just because I don’t want to take risk making a lie saying that I don’t travel from a 3rd country to do the visa. My new employer wants me to start ASAP, so any kind of delay is not an option. As for the alternative, I’m looking at Costa Rica, as I hear it’s a US ally, so the US embassy there should be pretty big and work pretty fast. Another reason is that it looks good on sightseeing front, so I hope to have some relaxing and fun time there. If I don’t forget, I’ll come back and share my experiences.

    Cheers,
    Andy

    • Hi Andy,
      I’m in the same situation as you i.e. wanting to get an e-3 visa in Costa Rica (as the wait times are super low and need to start new job asap). If you did end up going, can you share your experience?

      Thanks!
      Isabelle

      • Hi Andy/Isabelle, how did the Costa Rica appointment go? I am changing employers and need a new E3 stamped and was hoping you guys could assist me more on CR option. Cheers
        Geoff thank you for your detailed blog mate

      • Hey Andy & Isabelle,

        Would love to know if you were successful in getting your E3 processed in Costa Rica? I had a look at the Canada route, but wait times are 5 months for appointments as opposed to a week or so wait in Costa Rica.

        Cheers,
        Christian

      • Leaving this here in case other people are looking. I just renewed my E3 in Nassau, in The Bahamas. It was pretty straight forward aside from waiting in the heat outside the consulate. There is a place right across the road that will store your stuff for a couple dollars.

        I wouldn’t bother getting photos done in the US. My photos were rejected and I had to run a couple blocks to get new ones taken of my wife and daughter. Just do them on the day of the appointment. Mr. Photo is around the corner from the consulate.

  3. Pingback: E-3 Visa for Australians – How To | geoffmcqueen.com

  4. Geoff

    Great write up, thanks. Quick question, I am in the USA at the moment to look for work and am about to park myself in Toronto while I wait for a job offer to come through. However, I also have a Working Holiday visa for Canada which I am planning to collect when I come through the border into Toronto – do you think this would make it easier to then fairly argue I am not coming from a third country purely to get a visa so that I can avoid a long waiting period for an appointment?

    Cheers
    Arun

  5. Geoff

    Great write up, thanks. Quick question, I am in the USA at the moment to look for work and am about to park myself in Toronto while I wait for a job offer to come through. However, I also have a Working Holiday visa for Canada which I am planning to collect when I come through the border into Toronto – do you think this would make it easier to then fairly argue I am not coming from a third country purely to get a visa so that I can avoid a long waiting period for an appointment?

    Cheers
    Arun

    • If you’ve got a legal visa to be in Canada you’re probably rock solid. I got through on the basis that the visa waiver program is a legal and legit reason to be in Canada – I’ve just heard from a friend who did the same thing in Vancouver earlier this week, so while I only have anecdotal info on a 2 for 2 basis, it is looking pretty legit.

      • That’s great news – saves me having to go to Barbados or similar to apply for my first e3 visa. Thanks – this is really valuable information.

    • Hi Arun, I am considering applying for the extension of my E3 visa from Toronto and was wondering how it went for you in the end and if you know how long it takes.
      thanks Geoff for the great article, very informative!
      Thank you
      Marcia

  6. Incidentally I am assuming your advice applies for other Canadian based US consulates too. I’ll be in Eastern Canada so was planning to try this advice at Ottawa or Toronto.

  7. Hi,

    Just thought I’d add that I applied for my E-3 in June and I was able to fill in the DS-160 without my LCA approval number. I only tried it out because time was of the essence and my LCA was a real pain to get approved…hence trying to overlap the LCA wait with the interview wait. The form certainly does ask for it but I just left that field blank. Once the DS-160 form was finished I got a little note at the end reminding me that I must bring my approved LCA to the interview.
    This was in Melbourne, however I think the DS-160 application would probably be the same no matter where you’re interviewing.

    Unless it’s changed in the last month or so I think this would probably be the case?

    Jess

  8. Hi,

    Thanks for the writing, nice information. Am currently working in US on my E3 Visa. Am planning to go for visa renewal. Since am sticking to same employer, i believe this counts as a E3 Renewal. I just got to know about the option “Issuing Post Not Listed” from you writing. I have a question regarding the DS160 form.

    In the purpose of Trip to US, where we select Treaty Trador(E), in specify list, along with the E3, i see another option as “Returning Australian In a SPEC. Occupation(E3R)”.
    Do i need to choose E3 or E3R? Did you file the DS 160 with E3 or E3R? Any idea about this?

      • Sorry to be a pain with double comments etc, I just posted a question like 45mins ago and this thread is relevant; as this will be my second e-3 with same employer, (I am currently on the esta) Should I have chosen the E3R on my DS-160 form?

        I am not on my e-3 visa currently but will be re-doing that same visa type with all same details; a little nervous as I have completed an appt for Vancouver consulate and just booked flights. Do I need to call and change this on my DS-160 to show the E3R, rather than my selected E-3 I chose ? Any assistance would be greatly appreciated please and above all thank you.

  9. Excellent write up!

    Quick question, maybe you can help, maybe not. I had my e3 status extended through USCIS, so got a new I797 and I94 and as part of that petition the lawyers sent the new approved LCA to USCIS. Which is all good and dandy, but I’m planning on some international travel over christmas and so am aiming to get my Visa stamp in London.

    Do you think I actually need the LCA to get the VISA stamp or will the I797 suffice? I’ve got a photocopies of all the documents used in the petition including the approved LCA but dont know if a photocopy is worth anything.

    I’ve reached out to the London Embassy but they are yet to respond.

    Interested in your thoughts or if you know of anyone who has gone through something similar – as most people I know have taken your approach and gone straight out of country ignoring USCIS.

    Cheers!
    Simon

  10. Thanks Geoff,

    Any advice on formalities (form for work permit, spouses etc.) to be completed when you land at US port of entry and thereafter.?

    Thanks & Regards, Himanshu

  11. Thanks Jess, I have done the same thing, and hoping it will be ok!! I had to fill my DS-160 without my LCA. I have the LCA approved now, but not sure if I should change my DS-160 to add it in or if that is even possible.

    On another note, I am applying for my new visa in October in Melbourne, but my current visa does not actualy expire until January 2016. My LCA is starting from January 16, but I am wondering should it start from October?

    If any one knows this would be great!!

    To make matters worst, my current visa is in my now expired passport.!!! I believe you can carry both around, but I am not sure my new visa in October will cancel out my old one expiring in January.

  12. G’day Geoff

    Thanks for the post.
    Are you still employed by yourself? By that I mean did you renew the E3R with an employment letter signed by yourself?

    Thanks
    Simon

    • I did, but I got one of the other directors to sign the letter so it wasn’t completely ridiculous but they never asked to see it at the interview; guessing for a continuing employer the folks at State have common sense (but your mileage may vary)

  13. Hi Geoff,

    I am currently on an E3 and changing jobs. do you know what it means by no more than 10 days between jobs. Does this mean once the LCA is approved I have 10 day to get my visa?? I’m confused as to how they would know my end date at my current job.

    Thanks,

    Jo

    • Hi Jo, I recently went through this – it means you have to leave the USA within 10 days of your last day of your previous job. So I would line all the visa stuff to be straight after your last day

  14. Thanks for the handy write-up. I’m midway through my ‘flagpole’ trip to Vancouver to get my first E3 (previously on an E3d). My experience was exactly as you described. I just stated that i was on vacation and had no odd questions about my intent. All rubber stamped on the day and now awaiting return of my passport.
    Of note, the lady at the embassy advised 3-5 working days for processing. This is a little more than I had planned for!

  15. Did anyone got experience with renewing E3 visa @ Consulate General Tijuana ? Or visa renewal only available on Mexico City ?

    Thanks in advance
    Santo

  16. Hey Geoff, thanks for writing this up – recently did this myself – new E3 as I changed employers – very smooth and straightforward process. Wed AM interview, passport ready to be picked up at Burnaby Monday morning. My only comment is that the courier/consulate site has a slight delay, the waybill number was created 6pm Friday and I didn’t receive any notification until saturday – some of the flights I was looking to buy upped in price over the weekend

    • Hi Ed,
      Please I’d like to know if you answered “No” to “is the applicant traveling from another country to apply for visa in Canada?” I have Holiday Visit visa to Canada and I a plan on visiting a friend a few days before the interview. Do you think it’s safe to answer No, to the question.

  17. Has anyone had any experience or stories with changing employers after only 6 months on an E3? I spent a year and a half on my first E3 and changed employers in July, however the job has turned out nothing as promised and i have an opportunity to work for my old company again- I’m worried how this looks to the US consulate during interview…

  18. Thanks … I have a quick question. I will be applying for the E-3 visa for the first time. I have completed my master in US and currently on OPT. I am an australian citizen. Please let me know if i have to leave the country for getting visa for the first time ?

    • You need to leave the country every time (unless you want to go through the really long change of status process on-shore). The reason is, if you’re outside the country and you get denied the visa, you’re not the problem of the country (in this case, the US) – they don’t need to go to the effort/cost of finding you and kicking you out, but can just not let you back in again. That’s why almost all countries require you to leave to get a visa (and why when you arrive in Canada you don’t tell them you’re coming to get a US visa renewal – because if the US says no, now you’re Canada’s problem)

    • From my experience, Dependents must also file for extension separately (which is called i529) if you are onshore. This may take a lot of time for extending dependent visa. I learned that the last processed was on Dec 29 2014 at Vermont Processing center after paying advocate fees and visa fees approx $750 USD when we filed on Jan 20 2016. God knows when our turn will come. Meanwhile my wife EAD is about to expire in July 2016. More over EAD renewal may take upto another 90-120 days only and after she has a valid extended status. So we decided to go out for a new label in Feb so that we do not have to wait upto 2017 and loose her job in between…We came to Canada and our visa got approved on Friday. Presently it is under administrative processing and waiting to change our status to pickup our passports. I need to do some more research on how to renew my wife EAD after going back. Atleast she has a valid status now to renew her EAD and DL.

      Luckily I found all the information about the process to apply for a visa on this site(Not for EAD). Thanks to Geoff.

    • to elaborate: It’s my second time applying for the E3 – I’m renewing my sponsorship with my current employer and adding a second. I’m planning to go up to the consulate in Toronto

      • Do you mean you’re going to have two full time jobs so you think you need two E3’s, or you’re renewing with an existing employer, but you’re taking a job somewhere else and know you’re going to need to do the E3 change to the new employer imminently?

      • HI Geoff, apologies, I just saw this response.
        To let you know, I did get 2 e3’s. One was a renewal of my first sponsor and the second was a new company. all I did was mark on the DS160 a second employer, and got an LCA for both. When I got to the consulate in Toronto, I asked if I could have two. They weren’t sure and needed legal advice but after 5 days I was notified that I’d been approved.

  19. I went for a 3rd E3 renewal to Ottawa on the 13th of January 2016, and surprisingly ran into typical H1b line of questioning, my qualifications, about my employer, my end client, worksite, if I get paid hourly or bonus etc. The officer asked me to wait at the window and went inside. She came back after a few minutes and asked if I had copies of my paystubs. Since my lawyer did not think it was necessary or my past interviews had warranted it, I did not have them with me at the time of the interview. She took my passport and gave me a 221g yellow slip (notice of suspension of processing till documents were provided) and asked me to send the pay statements to an email provided. I asked her how long would the process take (since I took leave from work). She said 2- 3 days. I came back to the hotel and sent out my pay stubs within the hour.

    it’s been almost a week and a half, the status is still in administrative processing. Wondering why she decided to scrutinize the E3R that closely this time around when my previous interviews (including my first was over within five minutes and I was always approved on the spot).

    • Damn, that’s bad luck. A reminder to all of us to make sure you’ve got your paperwork *in case* you get a consular officer who’s being extra thorough or takes a disliking to you for whatever reason. I always bring paystubs, original letter of offer to the interviews; the only things I took the first time and never bothered with in renewals were the original of my degree (a bit to special to cart around the world) and the financials of the business employing me (income statement and balance sheet) since the fact we’re not a 4 person startup anymore makes the aspect of “can your employer afford to make good on this letter of offer” a mute point.

    • hi Frank

      I have an appointment for 8th of Feb for my E3 renewal in Ottawa as well. Sorry to hear about your trouble. Hopefully by this time your E3R must have sorted out.

      Cheers
      Faz

      • Hi Faz, I am still waiting. Checked with the guards outside the consulate, she said the case officer reviewed our case and “it has been authorized” ? She was not able to confirm when I asked her if the visa has been approved. She said all it shows is authorized. Ottawa was an easy place for interviews but due to heavy h1b traffic expect some hard questions this time – but then I may have been unlucky. Carry as much paperwork as you can, good luck with your interview.

      • Hi Frank

        Thanks for the reply. Hopefully tomorrow, you’ll be having your passport with visa stamped.

        Cheers
        Faz

  20. Hi there Geoff, thanks for writing this up. I have a query here which I thought you could help me here. I got my first E3 in May, 2014 which is due to expire coming May, 2016. Couple of days ago, I am back into The States after a near 3 month work cum holiday trip. At the port of entry on Jan 21, 2016, The Homeland Security Officer stamped my passport and date stamped to Jan 20, 2018. I came home and after couple of day, I logged into Department of Homeland Security website to check on my I-94. There too the Admit Date Until is Jan 20, 2018. Does it mean that I can stay in mainland U.S until Jan 20, 2018 without worrying about applying for an extension in May, 2016?

    The date on my visa stamp is due in May, 2016 but the date in my latest I-94 says admit until Jan, 2018. I am very confused about the date on visa stamp and the date on I-94. Which date should I consider for my renewal? Please help me here so that I can plan accordingly.

    Cheers,
    Maddy.

    • Good question Maddy; I’ve had the same thing happen in the past intermittently – some border officers, seeing the visa is a 2 year long visa give you 2 years from the date of entry (even if, as you’ve said, you’re close to visa expiry), and some see the visa is expiring on date X and set the expiry on the I-94 to be the visa expiry date.

      As I understand it (and this is something I’ve heard differing opinions on), the border officer has made a mistake but legally they’ve given you the right to be in the US until the expiry date on the I-94. However, if you leave the US and try and re-enter, the fact your visa is no longer valid/current means you won’t be allowed back in.

      Relying on the details of your I-94 seems like a pretty risky strategy to me. You’ll be stuck in the US, so you’ll want to hope someone back in AU doesn’t have a health problem or there isn’t some other reason to leave the country in a hurry. This “allowed to be here, but not allowed to come back in” is the main reason I’ve come across why you SHOULD NOT do your E3 visa renewal with on-shore processing – it takes months, and you’re unable to re-enter the US while it happens because your old visa is lapsed. Again, this isn’t something I’ve had direct experience with and so I’m relaying the same filtered FUD that led me to write this blog post in the first place (ie, first hand experience, no bullshit), but if I were you (and I’ve been in this exact situation before with a very generous I-94) I wouldn’t rely on it and instead I’d be planning my visa renewal dash before your current visa expires.

      • Thanks for your prompt reply Geoff. It’s precise, clear and definitely gave me a clear insight. Appreciate your advice here mate. I agree with you that I probably should ignore the date stamp on my I-94 and go for renewal this May and hope that all the dear ones back home are safe and well too at the same time.

        Cheers.

  21. Hey mate!! Your blog is really very helpful to me. I am travelling to Canada from US to renew my E3 visa. What travel documents did you provide when you get to Customs/Border/Passport control? I am travelling to Canada for the first time on Australian Passport. Canada immigration website shows an ETA may be required if we plan to travel after March 15 2016. But my travel dates are before 15th March. Did you show any other documentation, apart from an ETA as advised by the Canada Immigration? I heard its always easy to travel to all commonwealth countries for an Australian. But not sure what documentation is required for travel to Canada. I would appreciate if you could provide some insight on these visits as well, so I can get those docs ready.
    Thanks mate
    -Your fellow Aussie..

      • No worries. Thank you. ETA is an electronic travel authorization document which was introduced for citizens of some countries (like Aus, UK,NZ etc) who does not require a visa. It is effective from 15 march 2016 and which can be applied online. Just keep in your mind not to forget next time when you travel to Canada. That was a good privilege to carry only passport while travelling to Canada. Just wanted to find out if we still need any other documents similar to applying for a visitor visa. This helps.

        Thanks mate.

      • Yes Frank. Its similar to ESTA. I came to know recently as I am planning to travel to Canada for my E3 renewal in Mar 2016.

        Cheers.

  22. Geoff, or anyone who’s got the E3. Did you guys get any of the following in your passport afterwards?

    1. USCIS Form I-551, Alien Registration Receipt Card

    2. Passport page stamped with the following: PROCESSED FOR I-551/ TEMPORARY EVIDENCE OF LAWFUL ADMISSION FOR PERMANENT RESIDENCE/ VALID UNTIL ________/EMPLOYMENT AUTHORIZED

    3. USCIS Form I-688B, Employment Authorization Card followed by: 274 a.12(c)(11)/ 274 a.12(a)(1)/ 274 a.12(a)(3)

    4. USCIS Form I-766, Employment Authorization Document, annotated: A3/ A5/ A10.

    5. USCIS Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record annotated: “Admitted under Section 203(a) (7) of the INA.”

    Thanks

  23. Hi Geoff

    My E3 visa is going to expire in May and I have filed for an E3- extension through the USCIS in January. I have been told it can take the USCIS up to 6 months to process the application. Can i continue to work after my E3 visa has expired? I read in few websites that once the USCIS receives your application, you can continue to work up to 240 days till you get a response from the USCIS. Is this true?

    Thanks your assistance in advance 🙂

    Cheers
    Tom.

    • I don’t know, but that information sounds right. I’ve never done a on-shore extension through USCIS because 6 months feels like a long time to wait and I need to travel internationally at least once a quarter and from what I’ve heard you’re basically not allowed back into the country of you leave during the limbo change-of-status period.

  24. Was checking my driving license, looks they give it only for 2 years validity. Do you guy extended this every two years ? Also wondering how it will work if we renew the visa on-shore.
    Sorry folks, this question is not related to E3 visa renewal, but looks like driving license and e3 visa go hand-in-hand 🙂

    • The DMV makes your license expiry = the visa expiry. This is why you need a print-out of your I94 when you go to them. While there’s some changes happening in the License world with DMVs (the immigration changes to bring the many Mexicans in the US out of the cold being the main thing) I’m told means you can get a license without proving your immigration status but I haven’t been in for a renewal or tested my luck trying to get a longer expiry by telling the DMV trolls that I’m an illegal alien (yet).

      • Is anyone aware of how much un paid leave one can avail and remain in the US on an E3. My company allows 30 days unpaid leave and then 10 days to leave the US.

      • Actually the license runs through to the end of your I-94. Like you Geoff I travel out of the US a lot so my I-94 dates are constantly changing. My current Visa needs renewing in June but when I got my license the I-94 I had then ran through to early 2017, so that’s when my license runs to.

      • Thanks for the replies. In my scenario, i-94 is not updated with my entry from Vancouver (for renewal). So my Visa validity is 4 months more than i-94 (i-94 is reflecting my previous international trip). Also DMV went with the i-94 validity. Now my driver license will expire 4 months before my visa renewal. How to fix the i-94 to match with my Visa expiry (without an international trip)? If I don’t do, I think I cannot drive the last four months of my visa validity 😦 ?

  25. Guys, did you bring the offer letter in original or a copy, to the consulate interview for your first E3?
    Most letters have a bottom section where you sign and return it to the employer, so technically you can’t have the original at the interview?

  26. Wondering for visa renewal in Vancouver, is there a way not to take the whole family (spouse and kids) to Canada. Can the main applicant get the renewal abroad and others can apply within USA ?

      • Thanks Geoff. For families, renewal become expensive with the travel and stay for a week.

      • From my experience, primary applicant can get a visa abroad and apply for dependent renewal in USA(i595 I think). But this processing time onshore may take long time. Presently uscis is processing applications lodged in june 2015 and you must add another 90 days for EAD renewal. You may not be able to renew dependent EAD ontime. I would recommend to get a new visa for family inacase you have dependency on EAD. This is what we learned for e3 and EAD renewal.

    • Hi There,
      You’ve probably figured this out but the rules are that only adults need to be present during application for immediate approval. If you have family in the US and your kids are under 13 then you and your wife could go have a 5 day romantic vacation in the Bahamas. We just renewed in Nassau, but we did take the whole family.

  27. Hi and thanks for the posts.

    We are in NYC and had a very easy E3 process in Melbourne (if you can pass the paperwork test you deserve the visa) but the E3D EAD has been a nightmare and taken 5 months here – would be nice if the EAD was approved with the E3D and save everyone including the USCIS a pile of paperwork. I am thinking about the renewal for the E3 and as we have 3 kids also keen to know if we need to take them all to Canada/Bahamas (not too bad!) or somewhere else to renew or can just the main applicant renew the whole family?

    Also – how early can you renew? We are also planning a trip back to Australia 8 months before the renewal is due and so considering reapplying then.

    Thanks.

    • With a visa that lasts for 24 months, renewing early doesn’t really help much – it just means the cost/effort of your previous application/renewal is only amortized over 16 months if you renew 8 months early.

      Also don’t forget that the new visa “starts” when the LCA is issued, so don’t get too ahead of yourself there either. I had an LCA take a week longer than planned on my last renewal, missed my Sydney trip window which is how I ended up in Vancouver and writing this post.

  28. Hey Geoff,

    I had my E3 visa interview and then was approved on Friday, and they said I would get an email in 2-3 days for passport pick up. Then tonight, I stupidly checked the status on the Canada.usvisa website and it says it’s in administrative processing and I’m really anxious after reading some H1B blogs for this same thing. Please tell me this is just a generic place where they put it in before the visa had been put in the passport. The interview was easy, no red flags, same as my last one two years ago. I know it’s only Monday night, but is there any reason to be nervous about this? The visa processing time is currently 3 days on the website.
    Look forward to a positive response.
    Thanks!
    T

    • I had similar experience in Canada – I think it is actually a general category if you got told at the interview that you have had your visa approved. Where AP is scary is when they don’t give you the green light at the interview – I think you’ll find early tomorrow morning that your status is changed to something like out for delivery

    • Hi Tan,

      Same as you, I got the interview on Friday and the status was “administrative processing”, but it changed last night to “Issued” and now I can see a tracking number. I guess you might see some tracking number today.

      • Hey Santo and Geoff,

        Thanks for getting back to me!! I just checked and it’s still in “administrative processing”. My interview was 9am Friday morning and all approved on the spot. I am hoping that it is next up for “issued” as I am getting a bit anxious and wondering what is going on. They did say 2-3 days and on the website it says 4 days for processing. So I guess I just have to wait it out. Thanks again! Cheers, Tan.

  29. Now they kept a photo booth inside the embassy. So if you do not have a photo, it can be taken inside (it is $5 or $10, forgot the exact price)

  30. Hi Geoff,

    I have some questions. Hope you can help me out.

    I’m an Australian passport holder currently on an E3 visa ending on June 2nd 2016. My wife is an Indian passport holder on E3D visa ending on June 2nd 2016.

    I have applied for my next E3 visa in Tijuana. We inquired and told they do E3 only in Tijuana in Mexico. Contradictory to what someone posted above. Providing the email quote below.

    “Thank you for your email. . Third Country Nationals residing in Mexico with immigration status (FM2 or FM3) may apply for their first visa or to renew a visa in any visa category.

    Third Country Nationals residing in the US may apply in Mission Mexico (any US Consulate in Mexico except Merida or in the US Embassy in Mexico City) only if they are renewing a visa in the same visa category. If this is the first time that a TCN apply for a visa in any category, they must to apply in their home country.

    E3 visas are only process in the US Consulate in Tijuana and it has to be renewal.

    To confirm waiting times for US Consulate Tijuana you can visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/wait-times.html/

    Please have in consideration that E3 renewal process would take several weeks for document review after your first appointment.

    Best Regards,
    Non Immigrant Visa Section”

    Here is my issue:

    Unfortunately earliest appointment available is June 6, which I have booked. We are planning to enter Tijuana on June 1st from San Diego, one day before our US visa expires(June 2nd) and stay there for the Visa interview and further process.

    My concern:
    1) As my current E3 will be expired by the time I go for interview, Will it cause any issue for my next E3 application in mexico? WIll it be considered as a first E3 visa instead of extending on same category.

    2) As my wife is an Indian passport holder, can she enter mexico one day before(June 1) her US visa expires(June 2)? Or is she required to take tourist visa? If she is allowed with the current US visa of one day from Tijuana – how many days will she be granted visa to stay in mexico? Only for one day or for longer?

    Kindly reply at your earliest convenience. It would be really helpful.

    Thank You.

    Regards,
    Jesudass.A

  31. Hi Geoff,

    I have few questions. Hope you can help me out.

    I’m an Australian passport holder currently on an E3 visa ending on June 2nd 2016. My wife is an Indian passport holder on E3D visa ending on June 2nd 2016.

    I have applied for my next E3 visa in Tijuana. We inquired and told they do E3 only in Tijuana in Mexico, Which is contradictory to information provided by someone here. Providing email quote below.

    “”Good day,

    Thank you for your email. . Third Country Nationals residing in Mexico with immigration status (FM2 or FM3) may apply for their first visa or to renew a visa in any visa category.

    Third Country Nationals residing in the US may apply in Mission Mexico (any US Consulate in Mexico except Merida or in the US Embassy in Mexico City) only if they are renewing a visa in the same visa category. If this is the first time that a TCN apply for a visa in any category, they must to apply in their home country.

    E3 visas are only process in the US Consulate in Tijuana and it has to be renewal.

    To confirm waiting times for US Consulate Tijuana you can visit: https://travel.state.gov/content/visas/en/general/wait-times.html/

    Please have in consideration that E3 renewal process would take several weeks for document review after your first appointment.

    Best Regards,
    Non Immigrant Visa Section””

    Here is my issue- Unfortunately earliest appointment available is June 6, which I have booked. We are planning to enter Tijuana on June 1st from San Diego, one day before our US visa expires(June 2nd) and stay there for the Visa interview and further process.

    Queries:
    1) As my current E3 will be expired by the time I go for interview, Will it cause any issue for my new E3 application in mexico? Will it be considered as First time E3 visa instead of visa on same category?

    2) As my wife is an Indian passport holder, can she enter mexico one day before(June 1) her US visa expires(June 2)? Or is she required to take tourist visa? If she is allowed with the current US visa of one day from Tijuana – how many days will she be granted visa to stay in mexico? Only for one day or for longer?

    Kindly reply at your earliest convenience. It would be really helpful.

    Thank You.

    Regards,
    Jesudass

    • 1) I did the same in Vancouver. Wasnt a problem re timing.
      2) No idea about Indian national rights in Mexico unfortunately. The fact she has a US visa is likely completely irrelevant to Mexico though – same as the US doesn’t give you rights to if you have a Chinese visa.

      • Thank You Geoff. It really clears the first question.

        Related to second one – below is the quote from Mexican embassy that i found everywhere –
        “Holders of any valid visa for the United States of America (any nationality) DO NOT require visa to enter Mexico on tourist, business and transit purposes only.”

        This is what we are hoping for to enter mexico especially for my wife and verified with embassy too. Only issue is with our US visa ending within a day. Not sure what is the process in that case. But thank you for your timely reply. Appreciate it.

      • Regarding visa expiry – I entered the US on the same day the visa expired (i.e. the last day that I could have). There was no issue.

  32. Hey Geoff,

    Firstly – great blog article. Have found it extremely helpful.

    Just a few questions – unsure if you can shed any light on this but thought i would ask

    I’m currently working in the US on a valid E3 visa that i had renewed in Vancouver in January 2016. My fiance has joined me in the US on an Visa Waiver and we are getting married in NYC in June. We then have flights booked to Vancouver soon after, for her to apply for her E3-Dependent Visa (adding her as a spouse to my current valid E3 Visa) at the same consulate where i did my renewal.

    Much like you. due to the length left on her VWP here in the US, we had to book her an interview as a non-immigrant residing in the Canada, so we could book her an interview without waiting 8 months for availability. To help sure up that part of the equation, she applied for an ETA (Canadian tourist visa) & was successful in being granted that, which means technically she can reside in Canada for up 6 months from her point of entry. So when she lines up to enter and gets asked about her legal status in Canada – she should just say she’s here on a valid Canadian Tourist Visa, correct?

    Also, do you think she will have any difficulty having her E3D processed for the first time out of Australia? I have read about many successful applicants applying for their initial E3 Visa at the Vancouver consulate. Seeing as though the E3D is simply just adding a spouse to my already valid E3 Visa (all it requires is her DS-160/Scan of my valid Visa/Marriage Certificate/License), one would assume it’s even more straight forward than applying for an initial E3 visa – as there’s no need for an LCA/College Degree or Equivalency etc. Do you foresee her having any issue?

    Any insight you can offer would be greatly appreciated!

    Thanks

  33. Haha thanks mate!

    It obviously said she didn’t need an Tourist Visa (ETA) but could still apply for one. I figured that if she had it, it allows for her to legally be in the country for up to 6 months & therefore she is literally residing in Canada. Plus it only cost $7 so thought it couldn’t really hurt!

    • Just thought i would update this following my previous posts.

      My wife’s initial E3D was successfully processed and issued in Vancouver using the method i posted earlier (travel visa etc). She had no issue at all

  34. So I have a related but different question. My Wife’s E3 Visa runs out in August 2017. We were thinking about doing a run to Canada or Barbados…but my Visa is an E3D (Dependant Spouse). To work in the US I need to have an Employment Authorisation Card (EAD) which I applied for the first week we arrived and is good until the end of the Visa (August 2017) but it took 150 days (5 months)…therefore am I right in saying that to ensure I can still work we will need to apply 6 months earlier than August 2017 to ensure my new EAD arrives before the previous one expires?

    …and then again our E3 Visa’s will need to be applied for every 18 months rather than 2 years going forward?

    Anyone had any experience with renewing EAD’s on an E3?

    Thanks.

    • Good question Chris – I haven’t had any experience, but hopefully someone else here as run the gauntlet before. My other post (the original one from 2011) has a lot more people following the comment thread, so feel free to ask there since it is more general than the Vancouver renewal experience.

    • Yes this. My husband was unable to work for 2 months because we tried to maximise our time on the existing E3 visas without factoring in the full potential processing time for his new EAD (initial EAD was <30 days). In the end the new EAD took the full 90 days + 1 week of processing. This was in Feb 2015.

  35. Hi,
    I am working in USA on E3, I don’t have USA degree (Australian Degree), My Visa is currently expiring this month and I am changing employer as well, so I need New visa to start new job and to stay in country, Can i do visa interview/application in Canada?

    Did anyone faced same situation? My immigration attorney is not sure about it and he said, it may be possible only if you have USA degree but he is not sure about it.

    Thanks in advance.

    • Step 1: get your money back from your “immigration attorney”. Then burn it – at least it won’t do you damage anymore.
      Step 2: get new employer to apply for an LCA.
      Step 3: follow instructions in my first post in 2011 to get your appointment. Vancouver is possible using the instructions in this post.

      • Thanks a lot man for this information and for writing this article, I was trying to get at Calgary, that should be same right?

      • Prob but haven’t done that 1st hand so follow the Vancouver info (it is the same website etc) and just sub in Calgary & let us all know in the comments 1st hand how you go.

  36. Hi Geoff

    Just wondering if you could give me some input on my situation. I have a job offer from a US law firm (I’m a lawyer here in Australia) for the position of paralegal, with the intent of transitioning into the position of attorney once I pass the bar exams in about 6 months. My firm has obtained LCAs for both paralegal and attorney positions for me, but the letter of offer stipulates my position as a paralegal.

    My interview is booked for August 3. Is this going to be an issue in terms of ‘specialty occupation’? Should I bring both LCAs or would this hurt rather than help? Is it worth asking my firm for another letter which says I’ll transition into attorney?

    Thank you so much for your help.

    • I don’t think you can “bring both LCAs” since the LCA # is a key part of your application and DS160 work. I’d focus on the role you’ve got the letter of offer for, and in terms of speciality occupation you might need to sell it a little (focus on the specialization of the firm or your work) and that they’ve committed to bring you on as an attorney once you pass your Bar exams (which you can smile and say “means I’ll be back to see you guys here soon I guess”). I know of people who’ve gotten in with much less specialized roles so I think you’ll prob be ok.

      • Update: couldn’t have gone more smoothly. They did ask whether I intended to sit the bar but mine was the quickest interview I saw. Thanks though – I didn’t realise that I will need to apply for a new E3 for a different role in the same company :-/

  37. I misspelled the name of the company on my DS-160. Do you know if I can fix it? Can I carry a new DS-160 with me or request them for making a change? Can I reschedule the appointment that I already booked based on that DS-160?
    Thanks.

  38. Thanks Geoff for this post, and others for their contributions!
    We are looking to renew our E3/E3D visas, but combine it with a holiday. Has anyone had experience with renewing the E3 visa outside of Canada, Barbados & Mexico City?
    Can you renew at any US Consulate? Ireland, Iceland, and Sweden are at the top of our lists at the moment.

    • In theory, any Consulate had the power. In practice, the consular officers need to know about the E3 and that’s where the challenge lies. Every time I look up there’s more places doing it – my tip would be to look at each consulates website and potentially email them to ask if the website is silent. Better advice from anyone here?

  39. Hi Geoff,
    Thanks for sharing your story. I’m in a similar situation that you were in, in that I went to book my appointment for late next month expecting the waiting time to be 15 calendar days as the website says and the next available wasn’t until February 2017. I’ve decided to roll the dice as well and checked the ‘no’ box to say that I’m not travelling from another country. I’m flying into Canada the day before my interview, but am also attending a conference so I’m hoping that will help my cause. I’m still anxious to see how it pans out. I know you said you heard of someone else doing the same thing who got approved. Any further advise you can give me on what to say and what not to say would be appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Caitlin.

  40. Hi Geoff,

    I recently was offered a new job so I went ahead made a visa appointment at Vancouver (thanks for your post) and had the interview yesterday morning. At the end of the interview the CO told me that the passport will be ready to pick up in
    3-5days and then gave me green A4 piece of paper with the instructions for tracking the visa and passport. However, last night when I checked the visa statues it says
    ” Administrative Processing”which sounds really frustrated. I’ve already booked my flight back to US and this just worries me a lot and wondering if I’ll be safe. Thanks

    • You might need to move that flight. Sometimes it can be a very harmless admin delay of a day or so, especially on a weekend (most common if you got approved be CO) but it could be a problem (they’ll tell you what the problem is so until then it is super conjecture). Best of luck and let us all know when you know more.

  41. Hi Geoff, am wanting to do a new E3 in Canada soon. Currently on my 2nd E3, switching companies but keep exact same job title for my 3rd E3. Wanting to use your advice about doing it all in Canada. Just a bit wary about the part you say you tell them you haven’t traveled from another country. Have you heard of anyone else doing this recently and it being ok?

    • I have; while I didn’t recommend it in the blog post (and personally wouldn’t do it again), I know of at least half a dozen folks who’ve done exactly what I did and been fine.

  42. Hi there, has anyone had any experience in renewing their E-3 visa from Nassau ? Is it reliable?

    I have currently extended my E-3 from within the US. That means I have an extra 2 years but I cannot exit the US.

    So can I renew my E-3 from Nassau given the wait times there are only 2-3 business days?

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