Recent move to United States on an E-3 Visa as a Software Engineer (E3 visa story)

This post shares experiences of my move from Melbourne to San Francisco Bay Area on an E-3 Visa. For those who don’t know about E-3 visa, it is visa to work in United States for speciality occupation professionals from Australia (read more).

It all started with one email to talk over the phone about an opportunity to work in Silicon Valley. I guess in the past I didn’t take such requests seriously because I was not prepared for such a big move. It is really a big move when you have a family, your own house and a job that you are really happy with. Also all the friends and family in Melbourne made the decision to move a little more difficult.

So here is what I went through after the first email contact (sorry not in deep details because of signed confidentiality agreement with my employer)

  • First phone call with the director of recruitment to discuss the role, the future and the goals.
  • Early morning phone interview because of time differences and online coding exercise with the help of collaborative editing.
    def boom ( ): Nothing = boom( ) 
  • Face to face interviews with different teams few weeks later. Interesting problems and discussions which were not exactly related to any particular programming language.
    So what is the best way to prepare for such interviews?
    In my honest opinion, you can never prepare for such technical interviews.
    What?
    Yes! Are you going to read all the programming languages in the world or just study all the data structure / algorithms?
    Ok! Here is a tip if you want to study, go mad and read all the questions on CareerCup.
  • VISA Step 1 – Basically the employer needs to file one document, that is a Labour Condition Application (ETA-9035) and just post the document to you. That’s it! Really really!
  • VISA Step 2 – As my documents were posted  I scheduled an appointment with US Consulate Melbourne (I needed LCA / ETA-9035 number to make the appointment, which was sent to me in the email). To make an appointment you have to fill out a form / application called DS-160 (link) and then pay a fee to make the appointment. The fees was $270 at the time I made an appointment. You have to fill and pay for a separate DS-160 for each dependent aka wife / kids. Even though forms are filled and paid separately they can be on the same appointment.
  • VISA Step 3 – Arrive for the interview. You have to leave your bags in the secured area so don’t bring a lot of stuff, you only go with some papers that you need to the application area. Take a token and relax.
    First call of my token – Hand over all the papers to a guy who will check that you have got required stuff.
    Second call of my token – Meeting with visa case officer who checked my degree just to show that I was actually an IT person and not a plumber going for Software Engineer role. All done and approved under 5 minutes.
    They don’t give you the passports straight away but mail out to your residential address. We received them within 2 working days.
  • Next step? – SELL SELL SELL and prepare to move. We tried to sell stuff through various sources, but the best 3 were GumTree, Facebook sell & buy groups and emails to friends.
  • And yes, next step was the flights! Left on a Friday afternoon and after many many hours of travel arrived on Friday afternoon (17 hour time difference ) with a jetlag.

I think after arriving here was a bit of a ride that I will try to summarize in a separate post. The question that I am asked most often by friends and family? Is it different / Is it better / Do you like it?

And I say, its great working in the heart of Silicon Valley. The technology is great, the meetup groups around here are awesome. There is a lot of learning, but we miss family and friends. We will be back!

 

  • santosh

    All The Best Bhayya ….Do welll

  • Kunal

    Congratulations Mate. Hope you have a great time. I loved bay area, its awesome.

    • Manish

      Thanks Kunal.

  • Congrats and all the very best for your future…

    it’s like a Dream come true,for any Software Engineer (including me… ) to work in the Silicon Valley

  • balu

    Hi Manish

    Even I got sponsorship from USA. I got my citizenship in 2011 and not married. How would these factory reflect on the approval? Any advice or suggestions are very much appreciated.

    Thanks
    Balu

  • Puja Shah

    Same here i am single and own no property here in Australia, is that going to effect the visa approval?

    • Balu

      Hi Puja.
      No. You should be fine. Visa officer did not ask me nay question at all. I got my visa approved within seconds.

      Good luck!

  • Sathya

    Hi Manish,

    Thanks for the info.

    Could you please tell me where I can find the LCA number. My employer posted me a copy of a LCA but I can’t see that 9 digit number in the form. Thanks for your help.

    Regards,
    Sathya

    • Manish

      Hi Satya,

      The LCA number is of format G-100-12345-123456.

      Thanks
      Manish

  • Aditya

    Hi Manish,

    Congratulations and I hope you are enjoying your life there.

    I just had one question, how did find the potential employer? Did you use some recruitment agency or some job search site?

    Appreciate your response.

    Thanks,
    Aditya

    • Manish

      Aditya, I was not looking for a job in US. I just happened to receive an email to talk over the phone about an opportunity to work in Silicon Valley.

      I have received such emails in the past too, but this time the opportunity seemed better than the ones I have seen in the past.

      Thanks

  • Vamsi

    Hi manish,
    I am applying for e3 visa now. Got a sponsor. Do I need to bring payslips and experience letters for interview..reply would be much appreciated..

    Regards
    Vamsi

    • Manish

      Hi Vamsi, no you should not need payslips from previous work and experience letters. Though it does not harm carrying any extra documents.

      Cheers

  • Manish

    Hi Manish. Went through your post. Interesting read. I am thinking about moving to US as well (Specially looking disappointing job market these days). I am BI Architect specializing in OBIEE and Tableau. What is most effective way to hunt job in US? Linkedin or job websites like Dice etc. I contacted few but they are not ready to sponser any visa. Appreciate any guidance. Regards Manish (I am Manish as well :-))

  • venkat

    All the best Manish…., story is interesting …

  • Balu

    Hi Manish
    I’m Australian Citizen and getting married in Feb. She is in India and Indian citizen. What is the exact process and can she go Visa interview in India for E3D visa.
    Thanks
    Balu

    • Hi Balu,

      Yes. Your wife can get E3D visa in India. The process is still the same, you fill up the DS-160, pay the visa fees and schedule your appointment.

      From experience, if you doing this in Delhi, you will have to take two appointments which is all done online.

      Thanks
      Manish

      • Balu

        Thanks Manish.
        No I’m planning to get an appointment in Hyderabad. Also if you don’t mind saying why do you need 2 appointments in Delhi?
        Also even I should attend the interview or only my wife?
        Thanks
        Balu

        • Hi Balu,

          In Australia, there is only one appointment with US Consulate. But in India there is an extra appointment (called OFC appointment) which is to verify your documents before you go to Consulate for your visa appointment.

          Both appointments are booked together, and they are done online at http://www.ustraveldocs.com/in/index.html

          When you go in to schedule an appointment it asks you to select date for both the appointments.

          Regarding the interview, only person who is applying for Visa needs to attend the interview. If you have already got your visa then you don’t need to attend.

          Thanks
          Manish

          • Balu

            Excellent thanks mate. I will work on it.
            Thanks
            Balu

    • sandeep

      Hi Balu,
      we will help you in getting successful E3 visa.please send your profile to sandeepm@sarasamerica.com

  • ravi kant

    Will there be a separate visa interview for my spouse since I am an Australian Citizen and she is an Indian Citizen.

    • If you are applying together then you can both take appointment together. In that case there is only one visa interview where you both go together.

  • Sandeep R

    Hi friends,
    We are sponsoring E3 visa and also providing job in my company.
    If any body is interested please send me your updated resume to sandeepm@sarasamerica.com

  • Vinod

    Hi Manish,

    I got AUS citizenship in 2009 & came back to India in 2010. Since then i am working in as Sys Admin. And now I am planning to go US on E3 .
    Can I apply for E3 visa in India,Hyderabad for both my self & my wife.
    Or do I need to go to Australia & apply for it.
    Please give me suggestion.
    Regards
    Vinod

    • Vinod it is possible to apply for E-3 visa in other countries as well. As far as I understand, you can apply for your visa in Hyderabad as well. Though you can double confirm by emailing / or contacting the consulate in Hyderabad.

      Thanks.

      • Vinod

        Thanks for your response. I will contact US consulate.

        • Raja Jeevan Kumar Maduri

          Hello Vinod- Was reading on US consulate-Canberra website that we should be appearing for our first visa interview in Australia and the consecutive ones can be in different countries. Have you managed to find any information over the same or did you manage to get your visa stamped? Am in Hyderabad in the same situation you are in. Please appraise me of any advances on your application. Thanks.

          • Nash R

            Hi, Did you manage to get it stamped in India?

    • Rsusty

      Hi Vinod

      My situation is little confusing, as I’m on E3 visa already in US, now I want my wife to apply for E3D visa fro Hyderabad. What do you reckon, consulate in Hyd accept my wife and kids application under E3D visa. Please reply, it’s urgent. rusty4ocean@live.com.au

      • Hi Rusty,

        My family was able to successfully apply the E3D visa at Delhi consulate. No issues there. Hyderabad should be no different.

        • Rsusty

          Thanks Mate. Appreciated for your quick reply. One last one, I was about to DS160, what is “Application Receipt/Petition Number”. Any idea. I’m doing it for my wife and kid.

  • Sanjay Poddar

    Hi Manish,
    I am working as a Linux Administrator. Is it easy to get a job/sponser on an E3 visa as a Linux Admin ?

    Sincerely,
    Sanjay

  • Ketan Nandrajog

    Hi Manish,

    Just started searching for E3 and came across your blog. Hope you are enjoying life in USA. I have a question for you, if you could help. My bachelors was in Mechanical Engineering and I have been working in IT. Would that be an issue for E3?

    Thanks