If you are currently considering which visa option may be right for you, you might be feeling overwhelmed at the number of choices. The process is further complicated if you would like to pursue only visas that can lead to permanent residence in the United States. EB-3 visas are a common solution for many individuals, but understanding how long you may have to wait during the EB-3 application process is important so that you can make well-informed plans. Be sure to review the timeline for each step to fully understand the requirements. So, what is the EB-3 visa processing time?
EB-3 Visa Step-By-Step Processing Time
Each phase of the EB-3 visa process will vary in the amount of time it takes and there is no guarantee that your petition will be processed at the same speed as someone else’s. In fact, your unique circumstances, such as which country you come from, will inform how quickly the EB-3 and your eventual adjustment of status will take.
Time For Perm Labor Certification
The first step to prepare an EB-3 application is the PERM labor certification process. This proves that your employer is not denying a job to willing and able US citizen applicants and that you, a foreign national, are the best suited for the task. PERM labor certification takes about ten months on average, which is spent advertising for the position, reviewing resumes and documenting eligible applicants.
This step is one of the most common places for an application to stall, since understanding how to properly advertise and phrase the job description is not typically something employers are familiar with. If they fail to follow all of the rules, your employer will need to restart the labor certification. Working with a skilled immigration attorney when pursuing an EB-3 visa works to prevent this delay.
Time For Form I-140 Immigration PetitionAfter your employer has successfully completed the PERM process, they will be required to file a Form I-140 on your behalf. A regular I-140 is most often processed within six to nine months after application; however, if your employer is willing to pay a $1440 fee for Premium Processing, you are guaranteed an answer in no more than 15 days.
Wait For Priority Date
As soon as your employer files the I-140 on your behalf, you will receive a priority date; this is the date that your petition is filed with USCIS. Keep your priority date in mind, because USCIS issues a regular visa bulletin with a list of current wait times.
The visa bulletin will show which date is currently being processed; for example, if your priority date is January 1, 2019 and USCIS shows that applications are being processed up to April 4, 2018, your priority date is not yet current. USCIS is only caught up to applications that were submitted on or before April 4, and you must wait until the USCIS date catches up with your priority date.
For some individuals, this can happen immediately and you are free to schedule your visa interview right away. For others coming from countries such as India and China with a high number of applicants, you may need to wait months or even years for your priority date to become current.
Adjustment Of Status Time
Once your priority date is current, you may move on to adjust your status. Although there is no way to expedite this process, it typically only takes about six months. Individuals specifically from India, China and the Philippines can expect to wait closer to two years. Some service centers work faster than others; how quickly this process will move forward for you depends upon your individual situation.
How An Employment Law Attorney Can Benefit Your Process
An employment law attorney is a critical asset when applying for an EB-3 visa. Employers who do not operate under the guidance of a skilled lawyer often have to repeat the PERM labor certification process numerous times because it is extremely detailed and stringent. Additionally, you may miss out on opportunities to significantly expedite your case if you choose to work without the help of an immigration or employment law attorney. If USCIS files a request for evidence, your attorney is the one most equipped to respond.
Work With A Professional Immigration Law Firm
If you are considering an EB-3 visa, working with an experienced immigration law firm ensures details are covered, timelines are met and any requests from USCIS will be quickly addressed. The Law Offices of Kermit A. Monge, PLLC would be happy to assist you in compiling the necessary documentation and guiding your employer in filing a petition on your behalf. With the help of a skilled immigration attorney, you will have the best chance at succeeding in the PERM process on the first try and achieving permanent resident status as soon as possible. Our attorneys will help you to understand the EB-3 visa processing time, and ensure you follow the steps carefully. Reach out today by phone at 703.273.5500 or send in an online request for consultation.