If you would like to enter the United States and are considering which visa may be right for you, the number of options can be overwhelming. Among employment-based visa choices, you may not be sure which option you best qualify for and how you can use EB visas to pursue permanent residence in the United States. If you are a skilled or professional worker or a worker in certain categories such as janitorial and non-agricultural service, an EB-3 visa could be right for you. Read on to learn about the EB-3 visa process.
What Is An EB-3 Visa?
The term EB-3 is short for employment-based third preference. It is a type of visa that exists within the employment-based visa system, which allows people to pursue permanent residence in the United States through their employer. It is lower in priority than EB-1 and EB-2 visas, and therefore, may not be processed as quickly as the higher priority categories.
The Process For Acquiring One
The process for acquiring an EB-3 visa can be complex, which is why most applicants pursue an EB-3 with the assistance of a skilled immigration attorney. An applicant cannot petition on their own behalf; rather, their employer must sponsor them and complete a number of steps. The employer will need to perform labor certification and submit a petition, then compile additional materials as part of the green card process.
To qualify, you must be a professional or skilled worker who can demonstrate at least two years of job experience or training, or at least a baccalaureate degree or its foreign equivalent. If you do not possess these, you may still qualify for an EB-3 if you can perform unskilled labor that is not temporary or seasonal, such as housekeeping or janitorial work.
PERM Certification Stage
The PERM stage is when labor certification occurs. The requirements here can be particularly difficult to navigate, from a carefully worded job description to the vetting of able and willing US citizen candidates and the location and duration of job postings. The purpose of this process is to prove that the employer is not taking a job away from an able US citizen and offering it to a non-citizen. Instead, the process proves that the applicant is the only individual suitable to fill the position.
It is very easy to make a mistake during the PERM process, and if this occurs, the process and its related expenditures must be undertaken again. This is why most people choose to rely on an immigration attorney who can guide the employer through this process.
Submit I-140 Immigration Petition
In addition to the multiple steps that the PERM certification process requires, the employer must also submit a Form I-140 on behalf of the applicant. This petition will be reviewed by USCIS to determine whether the job requirements described in the PERM process are met by the applicant and if the employer is able to pay the wages offered to the employee. Typically, the employer’s financial statements are submitted during this time.
Submit I-485 Application For Status Adjustment
After the PERM and Form I-140 have been approved by USCIS, the Form I-485 is submitted in order to actually obtain the green card. Only a certain number of green cards are available per country and per visa category, so how long this may take will depend upon your unique situation.
The Processing Timeline
While it is impossible to correctly estimate how long your EB-3 visa process will take, you can estimate based on: A. If you chose regular processing for your I-140, the average review time is six to nine months. B. If you paid extra for premium processing, you can expect your application to be reviewed in no more than 15 days.
The I-485 is the most unpredictable step; some countries are backdated by as many as 10 years in waiting time due to high demand. Which country you come from and which category you are applying for will determine when your priority date is and how soon you can expect a visa; not all applicants will be required to wait for multiple years.
Find An Employment Law Attorney
Most EB-3 visa applicants elect to work with a skilled immigration attorney who can guide their employer through the complex steps of the PERM certification process. The requirements are very stringent, and most employers will not be able to compile a successful petition on their own.
Contact The Informed Immigration Law Attorneys
If you would like to pursue an EB-3 visa and need help, The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge, PLLC would be happy to assist. We can help you and your employer to put together an application that has the best possible chance of success on the first try so that you can get your visa as soon as possible. Reach out today by phone at 703.273.5500 or request a consultation online.