What is the EB-3 Visa? Step-by-Step Guide
The Employment-Based Third Preference Visa, commonly known as the EB-3 Visa, is a valuable pathway for foreign workers seeking permanent residence in the United States. This step-by-step guide provides a comprehensive overview of the EB-3 Visa process, including the different categories, qualification criteria, and the steps involved.
1. Introduction to EB-3 Visa
The EB-3 Visa is designed for foreign workers who possess the skills and qualifications needed to fill jobs in the U.S. when no qualified U.S. workers are available. Divided into three categories, the EB-3 Visa offers opportunities for skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers.
2. EB-3 Visa Categories
2.1 EB-3(A) – Skilled Workers
This category includes workers with at least two years of job experience or training and whose work is not of a temporary or seasonal nature.
2.2 EB-3(B) – Professionals
Professionals with a U.S. bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent degree that is normally required for the profession.
2.3 EB-3(C) – Unskilled Workers (Other Workers)
For workers performing unskilled labor requiring less than two years of training or experience.
3. Qualification Criteria for Each Category
3.1 EB-3(A) Criteria
Skilled workers must have at least two years of job experience or training and the job they apply for must require such skills.
3.2 EB-3(B) Criteria
Professionals must hold a U.S. bachelor’s degree or a foreign equivalent degree that is typically required for the profession.
3.3 EB-3(C) Criteria
Unskilled workers must perform labor that requires less than two years of training or experience.
4. Labor Certification Process
5. Employer Petition (Form I-140)
Once the labor certification is approved, the employer files an immigrant petition (Form I-140) with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), providing details about the job, the foreign worker, and the labor certification.
6. Filing the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-485)
Once the Form I-140 is approved, foreign workers in the U.S. may file an application to adjust status (Form I-485) to become a permanent resident.
7. Waiting Periods and Priority Dates
Due to annual visa quotas, applicants may experience waiting periods based on their priority dates. The priority date is the date USCIS receives the Form I-140 petition.
8. Adjustment of Status vs. Consular Processing
Foreign workers can choose either adjustment of status (if in the U.S.) or consular processing (if outside the U.S.) to complete the immigration process.
9. Dependents on EB-3 Visas
Spouses and unmarried children under 21 of EB-3 visa holders can accompany them to the U.S. on derivative visas (EB-3 dependents).
10. Employment-Based Green Card vs. Temporary Work Visas
The EB-3 Visa leads to permanent residency, distinguishing it from temporary work visas. This provides a long-term solution for foreign workers seeking to establish themselves in the U.S.
11. Challenges and Solutions
Challenges in the EB-3 process may include waiting periods, complex documentation, and the labor certification process. Employers and workers can navigate these challenges with proper legal guidance.
12. Success Stories
Sharing success stories of individuals who have successfully obtained EB-3 visas and established fulfilling careers in the U.S. can inspire and provide guidance for prospective applicants.
13. FAQs About EB-3 Visa
13.1 What is the difference between EB-3(A) and EB-3(B)?
The primary difference lies in the level of education and skill required. EB-3(A) is for skilled workers, while EB-3(B) is for professionals with a bachelor’s degree.
13.2 Can I change employers during the EB-3 process?
Changing employers during the EB-3 process is possible, but it involves filing a new Form I-140 petition by the new employer.
13.3 How long does it take to get an EB-3 green card?
The processing time varies, and waiting periods depend on factors such as visa availability, country of origin, and priority date.
13.4 Can I bring my family with me on an EB-3 Visa?
Yes, spouses and unmarried children under 21 can accompany EB-3 visa holders as dependents.
13.5 What is the role of the Labor Certification in the EB-3 process?
The labor certification process ensures that there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the position, establishing the need for hiring a foreign worker.