The E-3 visa, like the H-1B visa, requires as a first step the filing of a Labor Condition Application (LCA) (see H-1B visa). Once the LCA is obtained, the individual can apply for an E-3 visa directly at the U.S. consulate; it is not required to first file the petition in the United States.
Applicants who are already in the U.S. may apply at the consulate or file a petition with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service. Status is granted in two-year increments and may be extended indefinitely as long at the person maintain nonimmigrant intent.
The spouse and children of E-3 workers obtain E-3 visas, and the spouse is eligible to apply for work authorization once in the U.S. but the children are not.