An EB-3 visa is a type of employment-based immigrant visa for foreign nationals who wish to live and work permanently in the United States. The EB-3 visa category is intended for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers. It is one of the several employment-based immigrant visa categories available in the United States.
There are three subcategories within the EB-3 visa category:
EB-3(A) – Skilled Workers: This category is for foreign workers who have at least two years of job experience or training and are employed in a position that requires at least two years of relevant work experience or training. The job must also be one for which there are not enough qualified U.S. workers available.
EB-3(B) – Professionals: This subcategory is for foreign nationals who hold a bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent, and their profession must be a job that requires a bachelor’s degree as a minimum qualification. Like the skilled worker category, the job must be one for which there is a shortage of qualified U.S. workers.
EB-3(C) – Other Workers: This category is for foreign nationals who are seeking employment in positions that require less than two years of experience or training. These positions are typically in industries that experience a shortage of qualified U.S. workers. The number of visas available in this category is limited.
In addition to meeting the specific requirements for their respective subcategories, EB-3 visa applicants must have a U.S. employer who is willing to sponsor them for permanent employment and go through the labor certification process with the U.S. Department of Labor to demonstrate that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position.
How to apply for an EB-3 visa?
Applying for an EB-3 visa involves several steps and typically requires the sponsorship of a U.S. employer. Here’s an overview of the process:
- Find a U.S. Employer: To apply for an EB-3 visa, you must first secure a job offer from a U.S. employer who is willing to sponsor you for permanent employment. The employer should be willing to go through the labor certification process, which involves demonstrating that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position.
- Labor Certification: Your U.S. employer must initiate the labor certification process with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). This process involves advertising the job, recruiting potential U.S. workers, and demonstrating that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position. The DOL will issue a labor certification if the employer’s efforts are successful.
- Employer’s Petition (Form I-140): After obtaining the labor certification, your U.S. employer must file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This petition serves as evidence that the employer is offering you a permanent job opportunity and that you meet the requirements for the EB-3 visa category.
- Visa Bulletin: Check the Visa Bulletin published by the U.S. Department of State to determine if visa numbers are available for your country and preference category. EB-3 visas are subject to annual numerical limitations, and visa availability can vary depending on your country of chargeability and the specific EB-3 subcategory.
- Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing: Depending on your situation, you will either apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad (consular processing) or adjust your status to a permanent resident if you are already in the United States. The process differs depending on whether you are inside or outside the U.S. and your specific circumstances.
- Visa Interview and Medical Examination: If you are applying for an immigrant visa through consular processing, you will attend an interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your home country. You will also need to undergo a medical examination by an approved physician.
- Visa Approval and Entry to the U.S.: If your visa application is approved, you will receive an immigrant visa in your passport, allowing you to enter the United States. Upon arrival, you will be inspected by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and admitted as a permanent resident.
- Green Card: After entering the U.S., you will receive a permanent resident card (green card) in the mail as proof of your lawful permanent resident status.
EB-3 visa benefits
The EB-3 visa offers several benefits to foreign nationals seeking to live and work permanently in the United States, as well as to U.S. employers sponsoring these individuals. Here are some of the key benefits of the EB-3 visa:
- Permanent Residency: The primary benefit of the EB-3 visa is that it provides a pathway to permanent residency (green card) in the United States. Once you obtain an EB-3 visa and go through the immigrant visa or adjustment of status process, you become a lawful permanent resident of the United States. This status allows you to live and work in the U.S. indefinitely.
- Employment Authorization: While your EB-3 visa application is pending, you may be eligible for an employment authorization document (EAD) that allows you to work for any employer in the U.S. This can be especially valuable if you are waiting for visa numbers to become available, as it allows you to work during the waiting period.
- Dependents’ Eligibility: Your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old can typically accompany you to the United States and obtain derivative visas (EB-3 dependents). They can also apply for work authorization and attend schools in the U.S.
- Ability to Change Employers: Unlike some nonimmigrant work visas, such as the H-1B visa, the EB-3 visa does not tie you to a specific employer. Once you obtain your green card, you have more freedom to change jobs and work for any employer or in any occupation.
- Access to Most U.S. Benefits: As a lawful permanent resident, you have access to most of the benefits that U.S. citizens enjoy, such as social security benefits, Medicare, and other government programs. You can also apply for federal financial aid for education, if eligible.
- Eligibility for Citizenship: After holding a green card for a certain period (usually five years, or three years if married to a U.S. citizen), you may be eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship through the naturalization process.
- Travel Flexibility: As a permanent resident, you can travel in and out of the United States more freely than someone on a nonimmigrant visa. While you must maintain a residence in the U.S., you can travel internationally and return to the U.S. without the need for a visa.