The EB-3 visa is an employment-based immigrant visa category in the United States, designed for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers seeking to immigrate to the U.S. for permanent employment opportunities.
Our immigration law office can help you obtain an EB-3 visa. Read more below on the qualifications, requirements and process to obtain an EB-3 visa in the United States.
EB-3 Visa Eligibility
EB-3 visas are designed for certain skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers coming to the United States as part of employment-based immigration. Workers who currently qualify for the EB-3 visa include:
Skilled workers EB-3(A): The term “skilled worker” refers to someone with at least two years of experience or training in their field. The work they perform must require at least two years of experience or training. In some cases, relevant post-secondary education may be considered as training. Examples include computer scientists, graphic designers, journalists, and supervisors.
Professionals EB-3(B): Professionals are those with at least a U.S. baccalaureate degree or an equivalent foreign degree who are engaged in work that requires such a degree. Architects, engineers, lawyers, and teachers are all examples of qualifying professions. It is important to note that education and experience may not be substituted for a baccalaureate degree.
Unskilled Workers EB-3(C): Unskilled workers perform tasks that require less than two years of experience. The work must not be temporary or seasonal in nature. Those in this category, who are also known as “other workers, ” include caretakers, housekeepers, nannies, and janitors.
EB-3 Visa Requirements
To be eligible for an EB-3 visa, a foreign worker must have a job offer from a U.S. employer who is willing to sponsor them for the visa. The employer must also demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S. workers available to fill the position- this step is covered by going through the PERM certification process and obtaining an approved Application for Permanent Labor Certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
The employer must also:
- Complete and sign Form I-140- Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker
- Provide all required evidence and supporting documentation
- Offer for the position at least the average amount paid to a U.S. worker to do the same work (the “prevailing wage”)
- Demonstrate an ability to pay the offered wage as of the worker’s visa priority date
- Pay all necessary fees, including attorney fees (if any) for the Application for Alien Employment Certification. Who pays the remaining fees is a matter of negotiation between the potential immigrant and employer.
EB-3 visas account for 28.6% of the total green cards available for foreign workers. The number of visas available each year is therefore approximately 40,000. In addition, no more than 7% of the total EB-3 visas can be granted to nationals of any one country. Consequently, visa applications often outnumber slots, creating a backlog that lasts for months or even years (or, for the unfortunate natives of India, many, many years).
EB-3 Visa Application Process
The EB-3 visa process involves several steps, and it’s essential to understand and follow them accurately. Here’s an overview of the process:
Labor Certification: The first step for most EB-3 applicants is obtaining a labor certification (PERM) from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The employer must demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S. workers available to fill the position being offered to the foreign national.
Job Offer: Once the labor certification is approved, the U.S. employer must offer the foreign national a permanent, full-time job position.
Employer Petition: The U.S. employer files Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on behalf of the foreign national employee. This form establishes the eligibility of the foreign national for the EB-3 visa based on their skills, education, and job qualifications.
Priority Date: Upon USCIS approval of the I-140 petition, the foreign national receives a priority date, which is the date when the labor certification was initially filed or the I-140 petition was received by USCIS, whichever is earlier. The priority date is critical as it determines the applicant’s place in the visa queue, especially if there’s a backlog.
Visa Availability: EB-3 visas are subject to an annual numerical limit, which may result in a waiting period if the demand exceeds the supply (backlog). The priority date becomes relevant when the applicant must wait for a visa number to become available.
Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: If the foreign national is already present in the U.S. legally, they may apply for adjustment of status by filing Form I-485 to become a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). If the applicant is outside the U.S., they must go through consular processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate.
Interview: If the applicant is applying from within the U.S., they will attend an interview at a USCIS office with their sponsoring employer. The interview is to verify the validity of the job offer and the qualifications of the applicant.
Approval and Visa Issuance: If USCIS approves the application, the applicant will receive their EB-3 visa, granting them lawful permanent resident status in the U.S.
The EB-3 visa process can be complex, and the timeline may vary depending on the applicant’s country of origin and the overall demand for EB-3 visas. We recommend calling one of our experienced immigration attorneys at 213-375-4084 to navigate through the process effectively.
How Can an Immigration Lawyer Assist in the EB-3 Application Process?
U.S. immigration law is not only stringent, it also changes frequently. When you work with a Los Angeles immigration lawyer for an EB-3 application, you can benefit from the following advantages:
- Eligibility Assessment: An immigration lawyer can help you determine if you are eligible for an EB-3 visa based on your education, work experience, and other qualifications.
- Documentation: Your lawyer can help you gather and organize the necessary documentation to support your EB-3 visa application, such as proof of education and work experience. They can also assist you with completing the required forms and preparing a strong application package to maximize your chances of success.
- Labor Certification: The attorney can help your prospective employer navigate the labor certification process, which involves getting approval from the Department of Labor.
- Communicating With USCIS: An immigration lawyer can communicate with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on your behalf and keep you informed of any updates or changes to your application status.
Overall, a Los Angeles immigration lawyer can help streamline the EB-3 visa application process and provide valuable guidance from the moment you apply until you arrive in the United States. They can also help you with eventually becoming a U.S. citizen if that is your goal. The key is to work with a top-rated immigration law firm with a history of success for its clients.
Contact an EB-3 Visa Attorney Today
It may take one to several years for an EB-3 petition to be processed, depending on the nationality of the beneficiary and the nature of the petition. The USCIS also rigorously scrutinizes these petitions like all other employment-based immigrant applications. EB-3 visas, therefore, have highly complex requirements that require the assistance of an experienced immigration lawyer.
At the Immigration Law Office of Los Angeles, P.C., we are passionate about helping newcomers travel to the United States and make valuable contributions to their new home. We can help you and your employer prepare an immigration petition, obtain DOL certification, and appeal a denial if necessary. We can assist you with your citizenship goals when the time comes. To learn why so many newcomers have trusted us with their immigration cases, please call (866) 935-3257 or contact us online.
EB-3 Visa FAQ
Can family members accompany EB-3 workers to the US?
Yes. If an I-140 petition is approved by USCIS, the worker’s spouse and certain unmarried children under 21 may also be eligible for admission. However, determining whether children may qualify may be a complex undertaking impossible to precisely determine under many circumstances. The spouse may apply for an E34 if the recipient is a skilled worker or professional, or an EW4 if they are an ‘other worker.’ Similarly, any minor children can apply for admission under the E35 or EW5 category.
Can I change employers while on EB-3 visa status?
Yes. The American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21) allows EB-3 visa holders to switch employers as long as they meet specific requirements. Contact our immigration law firm for more information.
Can my family members obtain green cards after I am approved for an EB-3 visa?
Yes, once your application is approved for an EB-3 visa you can apply for green cards for your family members as long as they are eligible. You will need to fill out form I-485 for each family member and contact one of our immigration attorneys for assistance.
How long is an EB-3 visa valid?
The validity of an EB-3 visa can vary depending on several factors, including the specific type of visa within the EB-3 category, the date of issuance, and the individual’s particular circumstances. Here are some key points to consider regarding the validity of EB-3 visas:
- Visa Type: The EB-3 category includes several subcategories, including EB-3A (skilled workers), EB-3B (unskilled workers), and EB-3C (other workers). Each of these subcategories may have different visa validity periods.
- Visa Issuance Date: The validity of an EB-3 visa typically begins on the date of issuance by a U.S. embassy or consulate abroad. The expiration date is usually indicated on the visa stamp in the passport.
- Immigrant Visa vs. Nonimmigrant Visa: EB-3 visas are immigrant visas, which means they are issued to individuals intending to permanently reside in the United States. Unlike nonimmigrant visas (e.g., tourist visas), immigrant visas are not typically subject to a specific expiration date.
- Entry into the United States: Upon entering the United States with an EB-3 immigrant visa, the visa holder becomes a lawful permanent resident (green card holder). The green card itself serves as evidence of the person’s permanent resident status.
It’s important to note that while the EB-3 visa itself may not have an expiration date, lawful permanent residents (green card holders) must be mindful of their green card’s expiration date and take steps to maintain their status, such as renewing the green card as necessary. Additionally, certain actions or prolonged absences from the United States can affect a green card holder’s status, so it’s advisable to consult with an immigration attorney or immigration authorities for specific guidance related to individual cases.