There are several types of visas that allow you to come to the US and work. Your education, skills and experience are some of the things used to determine who is eligible for an employment-based visa. One type, you may qualify for, is an EB-3 visa.
Who is Eligible for an EB-3 Visa?
You must fall into one of three categories to qualify. A skilled worker, professional or unskilled worker. Here is an explanation of the three categories.
- Skilled Worker. You must be able to prove that you have at least two years of job experience or training (some post-secondary education may qualify as training). You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the US. A labor certification and permanent, full-time job offer are required.
- Professional. You must be able to prove that you have a US bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree in the related field. You must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the US. If you have work experience and a degree, but not a bachelor’s degree, it will not count. A labor certification and permanent, full-time job offer are required.
- Unskilled Worker. You must be capable of performing unskilled labor that is not temporary (or seasonal,) for which qualified workers are not available in the US. A labor certification and permanent, full-time job offer are required.
How Do I Apply For an EB-3 Visa?
Your employer must file Form I-140, which is an immigration petition. The employer must prove to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that they will be able to pay you the offered wage. They must pay you that wage until you are able to get permanent resident status. To petition on your behalf, the employer must complete the following.
- Obtain an approved application for Permanent Labor Certification from the US Department of Labor (If required for the specific visa category.)
- Complete the Form I-140.
- Submit the Filing Fee(s).
- Submit evidence.
- Sign and file the Form I-140.
Once the USCIS receives the Form I-140, the petition will be processed and then the employer will get confirmation that it was received. The employer will also be notified of a decision.
What Are the Next Steps to Getting an Eb-3 Visa?
- PERM/Labor Certification. This stands for “Program for Electronic Review Management.” Your employer will need to show proof that you are not taking away a job from a US worker. This can be accomplished by showing proof that the employer was unable to recruit someone local to fill the position (like a newspaper ad in the classified section.)
- I-140 Immigration Petition. This is filed by the employer and proves they are able to pay your wage. It also proves that you meet all the job requirements.
- Waiting for your priority date. After the I-140 petition is approved, you have to wait until a visa is available. This is based on the date the labor certification was filed.
- I-485 Application to Adjust Status. After the previous two steps are complete, the last step is to apply to become a permanent resident of the US. You can do this by filling our Form I-485.
How Long Does It Take to Get an EB-3 Visa?
On average, it takes six months to process Form I-140. If the US government requires that you go through PERM Labor Certification, it can take longer. In some cases, it can take up to two years. The good news is, you can speed up the process with premium processing. The fee is $1,225 but instead of six months to process the I-140, it will take 15 days.
You may also have to wait a few months to get your priority date. Form I-485 can take six months or longer to get approved.
It’s clear that this process can be very long. A lot depends on your eligibility and the country you are applying from.