As you may know, employment-based immigrant visas allow foreign workers who have found an employer willing to hire them to come to the U.S. permanently and work. I understand how complex this process is for many of you, so today, we’re here to discuss a visa preference category intended for “skilled workers,” “professionals,” and “other workers.” In this video, we will talk about the EB-3 category for the employment-based green card for prospective immigrants who do not qualify for the EB-1 or EB-2 preferences. Although the EB-3 requirements are less stringent, but the backlog may be longer.
What is an EB-3 Visa?
EB-3 is the third preference of the U.S. employment-based immigrant visa. It is one of the five employment-based green card categories that permanently enable foreign professionals to live and work in the U.S. It is designed for 3 types of applicants: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled or Other Workers. You may qualify under the EB-3 category if you meet the requirements under one of the 3 categories. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) defines each of the 3 categories as follows:
⦁ Skilled Worker: workers with at least 2 years of experience in their area of expertise.
⦁ Professional: workers who have higher degrees and require a professional license to work
⦁ Unskilled or other Workers: workers who can handle jobs that qualified workers are not available to handle
Due to its relatively easy eligibility criteria, people who don’t qualify for the EB-1 and EB-2 green card categories are able to leverage the EB-3 category to immigrate and secure employment in the US.
Who is eligible for the EB-3 Visa?
The eligibility for the EB-3 category differs for each subcategory.
For Skilled Workers
⦁ You must have at least 2 years of working or training experience.
⦁ Relevant post-secondary school education may be considered as training.
⦁ You must be working in a role for which qualified U.S. workers are unavailable.
⦁ You must be performing a role that no skilled worker in the U.S. is available for.
⦁ You must have adequate job experience in your professional field.
⦁ You must have a U.S. college bachelor’s degree or a foreign degree equivalent from any country.
For Unskilled or Other Workers
⦁ You must be performing a role that no worker in the U.S. is available for.
⦁ You must be able to perform non-seasonal and permanent unskilled labor.
All three subcategories within the EB-3 preference require a labor certification and a full-time and permanent job offer from a U.S. employer. The U.S. Department of Labor must approve the labor certification of prior to the green card being approved.
What is the application process for the EB-3 Visa?
Just like most other employment-based processes, employers are the ones to file the EB-3 preference green card application. In other words, you cannot self-petition your application. The application process involves three main steps which include filing the PERM labor certification and conducting advertisements, submitting Form I-140, and submitting Form I-485 when a visa is available.
PERM Labor Certification
That employer must then undergo an extensive recruitment process and determine the prevailing wage for your position in the geographical area where you will be working to obtain the PERM Labor Certification from the Department of Labor.
Your employer must then submit Form ETA-9089 to the Department of Labor to obtain an approved labor certification. The form shows that your employer is willing to employ you and that there’s no U.S. worker capable or available to perform your role.
Form ETA-9089 is available online on the Department of Labor website and can be completed electronically. Your employer can also fill and submit this form by mail.
Submitting Form ETA-9089 for labor certification requires no application fee. It takes about 6 to 9 months, though sometimes more if an audit is elicited, for the form to be processed. This means your employer needs to submit the form prior to the actual need of employment. If the application is approved, you will obtain a certified labor certification. Upon approval, you can then move on to the next step.
Form I-140 is known as the Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers. It is divided into various parts to capture necessary information about the employer and the beneficiary (prospective employee). Your employer must provide information about itself to include its names, FEIN, mailing address, and more.
Your employer must also provide necessary information about you, the employee, also known as the beneficiary. This includes name, home country, and date of birth.
Form I-140 is submitted by mail, and after submission, you’ll receive a notice confirming that USCIS has received your application. Once the petition is received, that date will mark your priority date. You will need to wait and watch the monthly visa bulletin released by the Department of State to see if your priority date is “current,” meaning that it matches or passes the date given in the most recent bulletin.
It is important to note that, as of the writing of this article, most of the final action dates for the EB-3 green card are backlogged for only a few months. Others are backlogged for several years. If you are from China or India, be prepared to wait a considerable amount before your priority date is current. Remember that the dates for the “other workers” group vary slightly from those for the other two groups.
As soon as your date is current, you can file your I-485 petition to adjust your status if you are already in the U.S. Your status will automatically switch to the lawful permanent resident as soon as your I-485 is approved.
Your employer may also submit Form I-140 with Form I-907 if they want expedited processing.
Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing, is an optional service that enables petitioners to receive a decision on their petitions within 15 days. The I-140 takes many months to process, so your employee may opt for this to ensure quicker adjudication.
Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, is the form to apply for lawful permanent resident status, or green card status, if the prospective employee is inside the U.S. Forms I-140 and I-485 can be filed concurrently depending on whether a visa number is available for the prospective employee. These visa numbers are based on the employee’s country of birth or chargeability country. If the prospective employee is outside of the U.S., then the immigrant visa is processed through the embassy or consulate.
EB-3 Application Fees
The filing fee for Form I-140 is $700, Form I-907 for premium processing is $2,500, and Form I-485 is $1,225.
Other fees aside from the official application fees may also apply. For example, you may pay for medical examinations and vaccinations at the I-485 stage. Fees may also apply for translations or a translator for your visa interview if you need one.
Documents You’ll Need
The following documents are generally needed for your EB-3 green card application.
⦁ A passport valid for at least 6 months.
⦁ Two passport-sized photographs matching U.S. visa requirements
⦁ Filing of all applicable forms
⦁ Birth certificate
⦁ Labor certification from the US Department of Labor
⦁ Employer job offer
⦁ Academic qualification documents
⦁ Tax payment documents
You may also need to submit some other case-specific documents. Also, if any of your supporting documents are in other languages, you must translate them to English and certify them. The translated copies must be submitted along with the original copies.
What About The EB-3 Immigrant Visa Interview?
If you are outside the U.S., you will need to go through consular processing instead. This involves going to the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country and participating in a one-on-one interview with a consular officer. You will also need to complete the DS-260 online immigrant visa application.
You should print out both the confirmation page for your DS-260 and the receipt for your payment and bring those to your interview along with:
⦁ Your passport
⦁ Two passport-style photos
⦁ Your I-797 Notice of Approval from the USCIS
⦁ Your appointment notification letter
⦁ Any additional supporting documents for your green card
How Long Does EB-3 Visa Processing Take?
The EB-3 category takes a relatively long time to process. Depending on your country of origin, it can take between 1 and 3 years, and sometimes even longer such as over 7 years.
Your visa application will be denied if a U.S.-based skilled, professional, or unskilled worker is available during the advertising and recruitment period. If the occurs, the process will need to be restarted.
As I promised, here’s some bonus information that you may not know about:
One of the biggest advantages of getting a green card is the fact that it has a long validity period. When issued, your EB-3 based green card will be valid for 10 years. Remember that this is not like renewing a nonimmigrant visa where you have to submit a new petition and essentially re-qualify for the visa.
For a green card, you simply file an I-90 request to renew your green card for a fee of $455 plus an $85 biometrics fee. This is also the process if your green card has been lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed and you need a replacement.
I hope you found this video helpful. Subscribe if this content or information helps you in any way, comment below if you want me to talk about something in specific, and share this resource because you never know who needs answers to these questions. Additionally, if you have any specific questions about this video as they pertain to your unique circumstances, please schedule a consultation with us at the link below. I’ll see you in the next video.