What is EB-3 Visa, and Who is It For?

  • The EB-3 Green Card represents an employment-based permanent residency category, offering a pathway to a third preference for employment visas. It caters specifically to skilled, professional, or “unskilled” workers who aspire to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis.
  • Individuals who qualify as “professionals” hold a bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent. “Skilled” workers are those who have gained valuable experience in a distinct occupation requiring at least two years of training. Meanwhile, the “unskilled” subcategory is open to individuals with less than two years of work experience or vocational training.
  • The EB-3 Green Card is known for its flexibility in qualifying requirements, and it actively attracts a larger pool of eligible applicants compared to the EB-1 and EB-2 categories. This visa option is particularly well-suited for foreign workers who have secured a permanent job offer in the U.S. while also meeting the necessary work experience and educational requirements.

EB-3 Visa Requirements

EB-3 Green Card Skilled Workers

The EB-3 Green Card is available for skilled workers who are seeking long-term job opportunities, not seasonal or temporary positions.

To qualify, the job must require any of the following:
  • At least two years of work experience
  • An undergraduate degree
  • Evidence of vocational training
The required documentation for skilled workers includes:
  • PERM Labor Certification
  • Proof of education completion
  • Any additional documents related to the PERM Labor Certification
  • Confirmation of a permanent EB-3 job offer from a U.S. employer
  • Petition for Immigrant Worker

Acquiring an EB-3 visa involves extensive documentation, and our experienced lawyers specialize in helping foreign workers secure EB-3 visas with U.S.-based companies. If you have a job offer and need assistance with your employment immigration process, schedule a consultation, and let us take care of your needs.

EB-3 Green Card – Professional Workers

The EB-3 Green Card is available for professional workers who possess valuable skills and certified education, even if they do not meet the extensive qualifications required for the EB-2 visa.

To be eligible, all qualified professionals must hold:
  • A Bachelor’s Degree or its foreign equivalent
  • The position must require a Bachelor’s Degree
  • Work experience and education cannot substitute for a degree
The required documentation for professional workers includes:
  • PERM Labor Certification
  • Proof of Bachelor’s Degree or its foreign equivalent
  • Documentation confirming the position’s requirement of a Bachelor’s Degree
  • Confirmation of a permanent EB-3 job offer from a U.S. employer
  • Petition for Immigrant Worker (Form I-140)

EB-3 Green Card “Other” Workers (Unskilled Workers)

The “Other” Workers category offers opportunities to a broader range of applicants compared to professionals or skilled workers, even though only 10,000 green cards are issued annually.

Applicants in this category should anticipate a wait of a couple of years before receiving the EB-3 Green Card. The process of obtaining the PERM Labor Certification may also pose challenges under the “Other” Workers category, necessitating detailed documentation from the U.S. employer.

Eligible “Other” Workers must meet the following requirements:
  • Hold a position that demands work experience or education.
  • The position must be certified as unable to be filled by a U.S. worker.
  • The position must not be temporary or seasonal.
The required documentation for “Other” Workers includes:
  • PERM Labor Certification
  • Evidence of education, work experience, or apprenticeship.
  • Proof of a U.S. permanent employment offer
  • All documents related to the PERM Labor Certification
  • Petition for Immigrant Worker (Form I-140)

EB-3 Green Card Steps

After gathering all your documentation, take the proactive step of finding an employer willing to sponsor you for the green card process.

  1. Your employer will then initiate an extensive recruitment process and determine the prevailing wage for your position in the geographical area where you will be working. This is essential for obtaining the PERM Labor Certification from the Department of Labor.
  2. Following that, your employer will proceed to file an I-140 petition with the USCIS. Once the petition is received, the date will become your priority date. You will then need to keep a close eye on the monthly visa bulletin released by the Department of State to check if your priority date becomes “current.” A “current” date means it matches or exceeds the final action dates mentioned in the most recent bulletin.

It’s worth noting that, as of the writing of this article, most of the final action dates for the EB-3 green card are backlogged by only a few months, while others may have backlogs extending several years. If you are from China or India, be prepared for a potentially longer wait before your priority date becomes current. Additionally, be aware that the dates for the “other workers” group may have slight variations from the dates for the other two groups.

  1. As soon as your date becomes current, you can promptly file your I-485 petition to adjust your status if you are already in the U.S.
  2. Upon approval of your I-485 petition, your status will automatically switch to that of a legal permanent resident.

What About The EB-3 Interview?

If you are currently outside the U.S., you can pursue consular processing instead. This will involve visiting the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country for a one-on-one interview with a consular officer. To initiate the process, you will need to complete the DS-260 online immigrant visa application.

Before attending the interview, make sure to print out both the confirmation page for your DS-260 application and the receipt for your payment. During the interview, please bring the following documents:

  • Your passport
  • Your ID
  • Two passport-style photos
  • Your I-797 Notice of Approval from the USCIS
  • Your appointment notification letter
  • Any supporting documents relevant to your green card application.

How Long Is The EB-3 Processing Time?

Keeping in mind each step discussed above, we can estimate the processing time for the EB-3 green card. However, it’s important to note that several factors can influence the overall duration of the process.

  • The PERM Labor Certification typically takes around 8 months without any complications. However, if your employer undergoes an audit or supervised recruitment, this period could extend to up to two years.
  • For the I-140 petition, the average processing time is around 6 months, depending on the caseload of the Service Center handling the application.
  • The waiting period for your priority date can vary significantly, ranging from two months to over a decade, depending on your country of origin.
  • Regarding the I-485 application, it generally takes an average of 6 months to process, and unfortunately, this step cannot be expedited through premium processing.

However, if waiting for 6 months for your I-140 to be processed is too long for you, there is an option to use premium processing by paying an extra fee. This service shortens the processing time of your petition to just 15 calendar days.

It’s crucial to ensure that your application is free from inconsistencies or errors, as they can significantly delay the EB-3 processing time. Our priority is to expedite the process as much as possible for our clients. To have a clear understanding of your specific processing time, schedule a consultation with our team and work closely with your EB-3 green card attorney.

EB-3 to Citizenship

Congratulations on obtaining your EB-3 immigrant visa! While you might already be content with your immigration journey, there are several advantages to taking the final step and becoming a U.S. citizen:

  • You will gain the ability to work as a federal government employee.
  • You can sponsor your family members for green cards at a higher preference level.
  • You will be eligible to vote in primary elections.
  • There will be no need to renew your immigration status anymore.
  • You will be protected from deportation and can stay in the U.S. permanently.

These are just a few of the many benefits that come with transitioning from an EB-3 visa to citizenship. The process of achieving citizenship is called naturalization, which involves filing an N-400 form with the USCIS. Meeting the requirements, such as residing in the U.S. as a legal permanent resident for at least 5 years, will qualify you for an interview and an exam evaluating your knowledge of American government, history, and proficiency in English.

If you pass the test and interview successfully, you will be required to take an oath of allegiance to the United States, officially becoming a U.S. citizen.

As a side note, although the N-400 application fee may seem more expensive at $725, plus an $85 biometrics fee, compared to the EB-3 green card renewal fee, you only need to pay this once, unlike the green card renewal fee, which must be paid every decade. This makes citizenship a cost-effective and long-term solution.

EB-3 Visa Denial

We strive to help you avoid the disappointment of an EB-3 denial by providing essential information on how to prevent such issues from arising.

An EB-3 green card petition can be denied or rejected for a few main reasons:

  • Inconsistent, incomplete, or inaccurate information on the petition.
  • Incorrectly submitted filing fee.
  • Failure in the background check.
  • The position does not meet the requirements for the EB-3 green card.
  • The employer does not meet the requirements for the EB-3 green card.

For the first two items on the list, your petition is likely to be rejected, which means it was returned due to a minor issue. The best course of action is to collaborate with your immigration attorney to rectify the mistake and refile the petition.

However, for the remaining reasons, the situation may be more serious. A denial signifies that your petition underwent thorough examination by an immigration officer and was rejected based on the merits of your case. In such situations, you have several options. You can choose to refile with additional or different supporting evidence, appeal the decision through the Administrative Appeals Office, or make a legal motion to request reconsideration or reopening of your case. Working closely with your immigration attorney will help you determine the best approach to address the situation.

What About an RFE?

At times, instead of issuing an outright denial, the USCIS may send a Request for Evidence (RFE). Consider this as a second chance rather than a hindrance. The USCIS is providing you with the opportunity to submit additional documentation to strengthen certain aspects of your case. Although there is a limited timeframe to respond to the RFE, this should be seen as a positive step. To make the most of this opportunity, it is advisable to work closely with your immigration attorney. They can help you prepare and submit a comprehensive and timely response to the RFE, increasing your chances of a favorable outcome.

Our Experience with EB-3 Visas

Foreign workers have various options to come to the U.S. on permanent or semi-permanent bases. Among these options, the EB-3 visa can be an excellent fit for certain individuals, depending on their background, U.S. sponsors, and guidance from immigration lawyers. This visa offers the opportunity to become a U.S. permanent resident and is categorized as an immigration visa.

From the information provided above, you can gain comprehensive knowledge about the EB-3 visa, including its requirements, the application process, how to handle rejections, and the pathway to obtaining U.S. citizenship. Our team has successfully assisted numerous foreign workers in securing EB-3 visas, and our ultimate objective is to make the entire process easy and straightforward for you.

Take the first step towards fulfilling your American dream by scheduling a consultation with us. Let us assist you in making your aspirations of living and working in the U.S. a reality!