- What is an EB3 Visa?
- Who is eligible for the EB3 Visa?
- PERM Labour Certification
- What is the application process for the EB3 Visa?
- EB3 Application Fees
- Documents You’ll Need
- How long does an EB3 Visa processing take?
- Medical Examination and Vaccination
- EB3 Visa Interview
- EB3 Visa Denial
- Visas for EB3 Green Card Family Members
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is an EB3 Visa?
EB3 is the third preference of the US employment-based immigrant visa. It is one of the five employment-based green card categories that enables foreign professionals to live and work in the US permanently. It is designed for 3 categories of applicants, namely Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled or Other Workers. You may qualify for the EB3 Visa 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 who have at least 2 years experience in their area of expertise.
- Professional: workers who have higher degrees and require a professional license to work
- Unskilled or other Worker: workers who can handle jobs which qualified workers are not available to handle
Who is eligible for the EB3 Visa?
The eligibility for the EB3 Visa differs for the three categories.
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 there is an unavailability of qualified US workers.
- You must be performing a role that no skilled worker in the US is available for
- You must have adequate job experience in your professional field.
- You must have a US 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 US is available for
- You must be able to perform non-seasonal and permanent unskilled labor
All three categories of the EB3 Visa require a labor certification and a full-time or permanent job offer from a US employer. The labor certification must be approved by the US Department of Labor.
PERM Labour Certification
Your employer needs to submit Form ETA-9089 to the Department of Labor to get your labor certification. The form shows that your employer is willing to employ you and that there’s no US worker capable or available to perform your role.
Form ETA-9089 is available online on the Department of Labor website. It can be completed electronically. Your employer can also fill and submit this form by mail. They’ll need to provide supporting documents like payroll records, financial records, and proof of residency.
Submitting Form ETA-9089 for labor certification requires no application fee. It takes about 6 to 9 months for the form to be processed. This means your employer needs to submit the form as soon as possible. If the application is approved, you get your labor certification. You can then proceed to apply for the EB3 Visa.
What is the application process for the EB3 Visa?
Just like most other employment-based processes, employers are the ones to file the EB3 visa applications. In other words, you cannot self-petition your application. The application process involves filling and submitting Form I-140.
Form I-140 is known as the Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers form. It is divided into various parts to capture necessary information about the employer and the beneficiary (employee). Your employer must provide information about their company or themselves. This includes names/company names, SSN or IRS tax numbers, and mailing addresses.
Your employer must also provide necessary information about you, the employee, or the beneficiary. This includes name, home country, and date of birth. Form I-140 will be submitted by mail.
After submission, you’ll get a notice confirming that USCIS has received your application. 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 EB3 visa application takes a lot of time to process. Your employer may fill and submit Form I-907 to request that the application be processed faster. Premium processing is only possible if your employer passes an on-site inspection. Also, it requires an additional application fee.
EB3 Application Fees
The filing fee for Form I-140 is $700, while that of Form I-907 for premium processing is $2,500. Your employer, as the petitioner, is the one to pay these fees and not you.
Your employer must pay these fees before they can submit the forms. The payment receipt must be included in the supporting documents. The fee for Form-1907 is non-refundable whether your petition is approved or denied.
Other fees aside from the official application fees may also apply. You may pay for medical examinations and vaccinations if required. Fees may also apply for translations or a translator for your visa interview if you need one. These other costs are not fixed. They vary from country to country.
Documents You’ll Need
The following documents are needed for your EB3 visa application.
- An international passport valid for at least 6 months.
- Two passport-sized photographs matching US visa requires
- Completed Form I-140 and Form I-907, if applicable
- Form I-140 and Form I-907 payment receipt, if applicable
- Birth certificate
- Government-issued identification, such as driver’s license
- 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 is in other languages, you will need to translate them to English and certify them. The translated copies must be submitted along with original copies.
Alternatively, you’ll be able to present the original documents at the US Embassy during your interview. If you submit your original documents for petitioning, they’ll still be sent to the embassy for your interview.
How long does an EB3 Visa processing take?
The EB3 Visa takes a relatively long time to process. It can take between 1 and 3 years, depending on your country of origin. For some countries with a low annual visa cap, it can take up to 6 years. The processing time for PERM labor certification is about 6 to 9 months, as mentioned earlier.
Your visa application can be rejected if a US-based skilled, professional, or unskilled worker becomes available during this waiting period. This is why most employers opt to pay for premium processing services if they meet the requirement.
With premium processing which costs $2,500, your EB3 Visa will be processed within 15 calendar days. Counting starts from when USCIS receives your Form I-1907. You need to ensure you provide all the required items when submitting your Form, I-1907 application. The 15 days begins after the department receives all necessary documents for the application.
Medical Examination and Vaccination
A medical examination is necessary before you attend your interview. All US immigrants must undergo a medical examination irrespective of their age. This is to prove that you’re healthy enough to live and work in the United States. You may also need to receive certain vaccinations.
The medical examination will be conducted by an authorized panel doctor. You can’t attend your interview or get your Visa approved with a medical certificate from a non-authorized doctor. There’s usually a list of panel doctors in different countries. The embassy can also recommend one for you.
As for vaccinations, you can provide proof of prior vaccinations from any licensed doctor in your home country. This may include vaccination for measles, polio, hepatitis A & B, and influenza.
EB3 Visa Interview
A Visa interview is one of the major requirements in the EB3 application process. The interview is conducted in a US embassy or consulate in your home country. It’s not different from other US visa interviews. The purpose is to verify that the submitted information and documents are genuine.
Your interview date depends on the processing time of your Visa. You’ll be sent an appointment letter, most likely by email, with your interview date. It’s important to carry all necessary documents with you to your interview. However, you don’t have to go with copies of documents you’ve already submitted.
Before your interview, you may need to go for biometric services. At the interview, the immigration officer will ask you questions about yourself. If you provide all necessary documents and perform well at the interview, you should receive approval of your visa application at the end of the interview.
If your visa application is approved, your international passport gets the EB3 visa stamp. You’ll also receive a sealed packet which you shouldn’t open. The packet will be submitted to a US customs officer at your point of entry.
It’s important that you travel before the expiration date on your Visa. As an immigrant with an EB3 visa, your family can also travel with you to the United States.
EB3 Visa Denial
An EB3 visa application may be denied for various reasons. The most common are fraud or misinterpretation of material facts. Some unqualified candidates try to obtain visas by providing fake documents and information. This is not advisable as you can ruin other future chances of getting a visa.
Your application can also be rejected if you have criminal records. This includes records of drug trafficking, armed robbery, and others in your home country or any other foreign country. If you overstayed your previous Visa in the US, your application could also be rejected. You can get a waiver if your application is rejected for not-too-serious reasons.
Family of EB3 Green Card Holders
Your family members can apply for derivative visas under the EB3 category. This applies to spouses and unmarried children not up to 21 years old. The available visas include:
- E34 Visa: for spouses of skilled workers and professionals
- EW4 Visa: for spouses of unskilled workers or other workers
- E35 Visa: for children of skilled workers and professionals
- EW5 Visa: for children of unskilled or other workers
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The EB3 is not hard to get compared to other employment-based visas, such as the EB1 and EB2 categories. It is less scrutinized, especially for unskilled workers. The only difficulty is the very long wait time.
The EB3 Visa is a permanent residency visa, so it doesn’t expire. It automatically qualifies you for a green card, also known as lawful permanent resident status. However, you have to renew your green card after 10 years or if it’s lost, stolen, or damaged. As a green card holder, you can live and work anywhere in the US. You can also always travel out and re-enter the country without having to undergo a visa application process. Alternatively, you can apply for US citizenship after 5 years as a permanent resident.
Which is better among the two categories depends on each applicant’s background and capabilities. Both the EB2 and EB3 green cards are permanent visas and lead to a green card. So, they are both highly rated. However, in terms of requirements, the EB2 Visa is more stringent than the EB3 Visa. The EB-2 also has a subcategory that allows applicants to file their petitions themselves without a job offer from a US employer. This is known as the national interest waiver (NIW).