What is an EB-3 Visa?
Many options allow foreign nationals to obtain entry into the US for work. The EB series of visas or green cards offer several options. The EB-3 visa grants a green card or permanent residency in the US to applicants that can prove they qualify. Skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers are what the E-3 visa is designed for.
The qualifications are less burdensome than that of the EB-1 or EB-2 (both of which have stringent guidelines about extraordinary skills or doctorate level degrees), so it is a more popular choice for applicants. Due to it being more popular and less difficult to obtain, it makes it a more protracted process due to the backlog of the process itself and all the other applicants that are waiting to receive theirs.
I have worked with many people around the world to achieve their goal of obtaining an EB-3 visa. Years of experience in dealing with multiple cases have allowed me a unique perspective that can be invaluable to an applicant. Contact my office at 407-499-5680 to discuss your specific circumstances and learn how I can help you begin your new life in the US.
What are Some Benefits of the EB-3 Visa?
There are appealing attributes to the EB-3 visa vs. others. One has already been discussed in that the qualifications are less burdensome to suffice.
You don’t have to be an Olympic gold medalist, a Pulitzer prize winner, have a doctorate, or possess a skill set that the “ordinary” person doesn’t have to be eligible for an EB-3 visa. One of the requirements that both the EB-1 and EB-2 visas have is a list of characteristics that you must be able to prove. If you cannot provide evidence of a few of those on that list, you may still qualify for the EB-3.
EB-3 visa holders have permanent residency in the US with their green card. The initial term after approval is ten years, and you can extend that as necessary. Becoming a permanent resident of the US can offer unique advantages, such as being able to travel more freely throughout the US and having the freedom to change employers as your life changes.
Your spouse and dependent children can also obtain their green cards. Your spouse can complete their Employment Authorization Documents and, if approved, can be eligible to work in the US with you. Your dependent children (under the age of 21 and unmarried) can also be eligible to reside permanently in the US, allowing them the opportunity for education and other necessary items.
What Does it Take to Qualify for the EB-3 Visa?
There are a few aspects that dictate whether or not you are eligible for an E-3 visa. First, it is open to not only those considered skilled but also those “unskilled” professionals who have satisfied a labor certification and have a full-time job offer.
Professionals can provide evidence of their bachelor’s degree or equivalent degree related to the occupation. Education and experience cannot be substituted for a bachelor’s degree.
Skilled workers can give evidence of two years or more of job training or experience in their field. The work performed cannot be seasonal or temporary but consistent full-time employment. Post-secondary education may also be relevant training.
Unskilled workers have less than two years of training in a specific area and, therefore, can be placed in positions that don’t require a bachelor’s degree or several years of specific experience in a particular field.
A US employer must be willing to sponsor a candidate and have a valid job offer for the candidate once approved. The US employer must also be able to prove that there aren’t US citizens that qualify for that position that can fill it for them. Therefore, they are looking elsewhere. The US employee must also be able to demonstrate that they have the ability to pay and maintain supervision of the employee.
There is also a labor certification process that you must pass to obtain your visa. This is a safeguard to ensure that jobs aren’t being taken away from viable US citizens. The US employer initiates this step by getting a labor certification from the Department of Labor, proving that there are no US workers available that can or want to fill the position. The employer will also typically be asked to provide evidence that they have actively attempted to recruit and fill the available position. This includes proof of their efforts to advertise sufficiently for the job before seeking employees elsewhere. This process can be lengthy, as it takes time to advertise, attempt to recruit, and exhaust other options before turning to a visa applicant.
How Long Does the Process Take?
The answer to this question varies significantly as it depends on multiple factors. You can generally expect to wait a year or two from start to finish of this process. However, some should expect a much longer process, closer to ten years, especially if they are residents of China or India, as these two countries have an enormous backlog of participants waiting to get approved.
Your PERM or Program Electronic Review Management labor certification can take up to a year without audits. This is the first step in the process, and we briefly discussed it earlier as part of what the employer needs to do. It is up to them to provide proof of the lack of qualified, willing, and able employees in the US before gaining their Labor Certificate. Audits can be done in this process, making it last longer.
The next step is the Form I-140 Petition which the employer also does on behalf of the applicant. The lead time for this part of the process is roughly six to nine months unless the employer decides to utilize the premium processing (which can result in fees well over $1,000), which can get them a response in typically 15 days rather than 6-9 months.
The wait for the priority date is the next phase, and this is typically where the longest lead time occurs. There is no wait time for some countries, and you can schedule your immigrant visa interview almost immediately. For some countries, however, the wait time on this can be up to ten years or even longer.
Once the priority date is current, and the Form I-140 is approved, the final step is for the foreign worker to apply for an immigrant visa or an adjustment of status. Both of these options take about nine months to complete. Filing a form (DS-260) is next for a foreign national not currently residing in the US, and then the applicant will be required to attend a visa interview at the consulate or embassy of your home country. If you are a legal resident of the US and need to file for a change of status, you will need to file Form I-485 with the USCIS.
Why Hire an Immigration Attorney?
The process for your EB-3 visa can be complex and time-consuming, something we understand there is a sense of urgency. Working with an experienced immigration attorney can prove to be invaluable. We know the process, understand what each step takes to make the most of your time and money invested in each step, and can help you navigate this journey and achieve your dreams.
I have worked with countless clients that are working towards obtaining their visas. Though the process can take time, it is generally worth the effort. Contact my office at 407-499-5680 to learn more about your specific questions, what to expect along your journey, and to work together to create a plan that will be effective in you achieving your goals.