EB-3 Visa (Green Card)

Requirements & Application Process

The EB-3 visa is a third preference employment-based green card for skilled, professional, or other workers. EB-3 visa requirements are somewhat less stringent than the EB-1 and EB-2; As a result, the wait often takes more time. 

EB-3 Visa Requirements

  • Skilled: two years of training, experience, or job education (sometimes relevant post-secondary education)
  • Professional: Baccalaureate degree or equivalent
  • Other/Unskilled: or in some cases less than two years of training or experience
    (Excludes jobs of a temporary or seasonal nature)
  • Full-time job offer

USCIS awards about forty thousand EB-3 visas each year, and the employer has to complete the PERM labor certification process.

Application Process

Employers file Form I-140 Petition for Alien Worker on the applicant's behalf. Employers must prove their continuing ability to pay the offered wage as current with the priority date. An annual report, federal income tax return, or an audited financial statement are acceptable evidence

The EB-3 requires the employer to file a PERM application process and retain a Labor Certification (Form ETA-9089), showing no other Americans are willing or qualified to fill the position.

Family of EB-3 Visa Holder

The green card holder’s legal spouse may come to the U.S. via either E34 (“skilled” worker) or EW4 (“other” worker) visas. Minor children (who must be under 21 and unmarried) are typically admitted via E35 (“skilled”) or EW5 (“other” worker).

While the process of applying for permanent residency is ongoing, the spouse may apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), which lets them work freely in the country.

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EB-3 Visa Requirements & Qualification

The EB-3 visa requirements sets a lower standard than other green cards, such as the EB-2, and so is scrutinized less closely. So, there are higher chances to qualify for an EB-3 visa. However there is often a waiting list for approval. 

Most EB-3 visa applications cannot be adjusted from temporary (non-immigrant) visas until the petitioner’s priority date becomes current. This date is set when the Labor Certification Process is started (see below).

The employer must:

  • file form I-140 with USCIS;
  • establish that they can afford the offered position upon granting of the Green Card;
  • prove that the beneficiary meets the necessary requirements.

The three routes to EB-3 visa qualification are:

  1. Skilled Worker: The position demands at least 2 years’ relevant employment experience or training. In addition, a Labor Certification Process is required to demonstrate that no qualified workers are already available in the U.S. to fill the position.
  2. Professionals: The professional position in question requires a baccalaureate degree (or foreign equivalent).
  3. Unskilled/“Other” Workers: The third option covers jobs that can be performed with less than two years’ training. (However, temporary or seasonal jobs are excluded.)

Individuals who have an approved form I-140 may also be able to downgrade from an EB-2 to an EB-3.

Labor Certification Process

Each EB-3 visa petition requires that the PERM Labor Certification process be followed.

PERM is where the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) requires that the prospective employer test the market to establish that there are no willing or qualified workers already legally in the United States who can fill the position.

This process also requires a Prevailing Wage Determination which typically involves:

  • Posting with the relevant State Workforce Agency;
  • Posting an advertisement in a major newspaper on consecutive Sundays;
  • Posting the job ad in a conspicuous place at the worksite and on the company’s intranet/website;
  • Plus, three other recruitment processes as set out in the regulations.

It is vital that the employer conduct and record all actions carried out during the EB-3 visa process. The employer is strongly advised to work with the advice and guidance of an experienced immigration attorney.

In certain exceptional cases (Schedule A, Group I) a petition may be submitted directly to USCIS without a labor certification. We can advise on this.

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