Complete Guide to the EB3 Visa in the U.S.

Updated on August 11, 2023
At a Glance: The EB3 visa is an employment-based green card that allows skilled, professional, or other workers to live and work in the United States. It is less strict compared to the EB1 and EB2 categories, and around 40,000 visas are awarded annually. The employer must go through the PERM process to apply for the visa, and family members can accompany the EB3 holder. The visa has specific requirements based on skill level, education, or experience. The PERM Labor Certification process is required, and the application process involves filing Form I-140. The processing time for an EB3 visa application can range from 1 to 3 years.

The EB3 visa is one of the numerous visas available for immigrants who want to travel to the United States for work. But since there are so many visas available, it may be hard to know whether this is the right one for you or not. So, what is the EB3 visa and what are the requirements to obtain one? This article will walk you through all the details related to the EB3 visa so you know what to expect if you apply for one.

What Is an EB3 Visa?

An EB3 visa is a green card for workers, more specifically for professional, skilled, or other workers. It is an employment-based green card, and it is the third preference for such visas. Just like the other two categories (EB1 and EB2), this one allows an immigrant to live in the United States, but also to work in a specific field.

Also, it is meant for people who want to enter the States in order to get a job that asks for things such as 2 years’ experience or training, a baccalaureate degree or an equivalent of it, or sometimes below 2 years of experience in order to be proficient.

The difference between the EB3 visa and the first two preferences is that it is not as strict as the previous ones. The EB1 and EB2 visas tend to be quite stringent, but this is not the case with the EB3 one. Every year, there are around 40,000 EB3 visas awarded to people.

In order to apply for the visa, the employer will be required to go through the PERM process based on the requirements of the EB3 visa. This is the same thing that happens with the other employment-based visas.

Family of EB3 Holder

Those who obtain an EB3 visa can also bring some of their families along with them. A legal spouse will have access to the E34 or EW4 visa, whereas an unmarried child under 21 years old will usually come under the E35 or EW5 visa. E34 and E35 are visas for skilled workers, and the EW4 and EW5 visas are for the “other” worker categories.

The spouse has the opportunity to apply for an Employment Authorization Document while the permanent residency application process is still unfolding. This will give them the chance to freely work in the United States.

EB3 Visa Requirements

Not anyone can get an EB3 visa, and that is because there are some specific criteria that one should meet first. The good thing is that the EB3 visa doesn’t have such strict requirements in comparison to other green cards like the EB1, for instance. For this reason, it is not as scrutinized, which means that you will be more likely to be successful in getting this visa. The only downside is that there will probably be an approval waiting list.

The priority date of the petitioner should be current in order to have the EB3 visa application changed from non-immigrant (temporary). The start of the Labor Certification Process will be the one setting the petitioner’s priority date.

In order to apply for this visa successfully, an employer has to:

  • Make sure that they afford the position they offer after granting this employment visa
  • File form I-140
  • Show evidence that the beneficiary of the application meets all the requirements

In order to qualify for an EB3 visa, there are a few routes that the worker should take:

  • Skilled Worker – For this category, the worker must have at least 2 years of relevant employment training or experience. The Labor Certification Process will also be necessary in order to show that there are no eligible workers in the U.S. already who may be able to fill the position themselves.
  • Professionals – For the professional position, the worker must have a baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent.
  • Unskilled Workers – The unskilled or “other” workers category includes positions that can be performed even if the worker doesn’t have two years of training or experience. Seasonal or temporary jobs are excluded, though.

Labor Certification Process

The PERM Labor Certification process is required with every single EB3 visa petition. During PERM, the prospective employer will be required by the U.S. Department of Labor to take a test. This test will help demonstrate that there are no qualified or willing workers already in the U.S who may be able to work the same job.

During the process, a few things will happen. An advertisement will be posted in a big newspaper on consecutive Sundays, and the relevant State Workforce Agency will also be announced about the open position. On top of that, the job ad will be posted in a conspicuous place on the website and the worksite of the company. Three other different recruitment processes will also apply based on the regulations.

Everything that happens during the EB3 visa process should be recorded by the employer. Having an experienced immigration attorney during the process is also recommended for the employer, as he/she may offer the right guidance to make the process go right.

Sometimes, in exceptional cases, petitions can be sent directly to the USCIS, with no labor certification required.

Application Process

To start the process, an employer has to file a Form I-140 with USCIS, as he/she is the petitioner for this visa. On top of that, the employer should be able to prove that he/she can pay the wage offered for the job as of the priority date.

In order to prove the ability to pay the salary, the employer may use a federal income tax return, an annual report, or an audited financial statement.

>> Read More: Green Card Steps & Processing Times

EB3 Visa Fees

In order to apply for this visa, some fees will have to be handled. Paying costs and fees along the way will be mandatory. The employer has his own share of taxes to pay, but there are also some that you will be responsible for.

The visa petition fee was $700 back in 2019. If you want to opt for premium processing as well, the fee for it will be as much as $1,410. A visa application fee may also be required if you come from overseas, and this will cost $345.

If you are already in the U.S. legally and can adjust your status already, the application fee for Form I-485 may be around $1,225.

While these are the main fees, bear in mind that other things like airfare, medical exam, vaccinations, and U.S. consulate transportation may come with some costs as well.

EB3 Visa Processing Time

To get the EB3 application, you will have to go through various steps first. Because of that, it may take between 1 and 3 years for the application to be processed.

Read More

The Bottom Line

An EB3 can be very beneficial if you want to go to the U.S. and work, and also if you want a visa that is not as closely scrutinized compared to the other employment-based green cards. But you can only obtain it if you meet the requirements, so make sure you are fully prepared before starting the application process.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.