Besides family and immediate relative immigration visas, the US also gives visas to people who qualify to work in the country. These Employment Based Immigrant Visas allow foreign workers who have found an employer willing to hire them to come to the US permanently and work without an Employment Authorization Document.
What is EB3 Visa?
EB3 visa is a Third Priority Worker visa that allows three types of workers to go to the US permanently and work there. These groups of workers are:
- Skilled workers. Those who have completed at least 2 years of job experience or training.
- Professionals. Those who can prove that they have a higher educational degree or its equivalent such as a Bachelor’s Degree.
- Unskilled workers. Those who have less than 2 years of work experience or training. Unskilled workers get the EW-3 visa as explained in the article.
The EB3 visa is limited in the number of visas issued per year. Out of the total 140,000 immigrant visas issued for the employment category, 28.6% or around 40,040 visas are allocated for the EB3. After this quota is reached for the year, the rest of the applications are put on hold for the next year.
What are the Benefits of the EB3 Visa?
With an EB3 visa, the foreign workers can go to the US, live there permanently and work without having to obtain an Employment Authorization Document (EAD). After a few years at the same job, they can also switch employers and job positions. They get the Green Card and are required to pay all taxes applicable to them. They are also allowed to travel within and outside the US, as well as live in a different state in the US than the one they first moved to.
Who is Eligible for the EB3 visa?
In order to qualify for the EB3 visa, a foreign worker must prove the following:
- That they have a valid and permanent job offer from a US employer.
- That they have the qualifications to meet the job description in terms of the level of education and job experience.
On the other hand, the US employer must also prove the following to qualify for sponsoring a foreign worker for an EB3 visa:
- That the employer could not find an available, qualified, or willing US worker for the job position.
- That the employer is financially stable to pay the foreign worker and can afford to sponsor the worker.
How to Apply for the EB3 Visa?
Applications for the EB3 visas have multiple steps which involve both the employer and the foreign employee. The application process for an EB3 visa has two parts:
- The US employer obtains labor certification and files the necessary petitions
- If approved, the foreign employee then applies for the EW-3 visa at a US Embassy in their home country
EB3 Application procedures from US employer
Getting the labor certification
Of the requirements for the US employer to be able to hire the foreign worker is to prove that there were no US employees for the job. This can be done by getting a labor certification from the US Department of Labor (DOL). Additionally, the US employer must prove that they will not discriminate against the foreign worker.
By filing ETA Form 9089 to the DOL, the employer states that there were no available, willing, or qualified US employees to take the job position and that the foreign worker will be paid a prevailing wage for the specific job.
The DOL will process the application and notify the employer and worker of the decision. If approved, the employer gets the labor certification and can move on to the next step to hire the foreign worker. However, if the labor certification is denied, the employer cannot hire the foreign worker and must apply again to the DOL.
Filing the petition
In order to get final approval to hire the foreign employee, the US employer must petition to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. This is done by filing Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker to the USCIS. USCIS will require the employer to attach supporting financial documents such as statements, audits, tax returns and others to evaluate whether they are able to pay the foreign worker and afford additional employees.
USCIS evaluates the petition and decides whether to approve it. In case they deny it, the US employer cannot hire the employee and must try to petition again. If the petition is approved, the case goes to the National Visa Center (NVC).
NVC will then send a package to the foreign worker in any of the categories. The package will contain the case number and invoice ID number which the foreign worker can use for applying. The package will also have instructions on the process of applying. However, since there is a cap on the number of visas, NVC will only send this package when the priority date of the foreign worker becomes current.
EB3 Application procedures from foreign worker
File Form DS-261, Choice of Address and Agent
This is an online form which the foreign worker must fill in each section and submit it. The form serves as a visa application for the foreign worker to the US Embassy in their country of residence. When you as the foreign worker submit this form, you will get a confirmation page which you will send to the NVC with your supporting documents.
Complete medical examination and vaccination
To move to the US permanently, you must meet the health requirements too. This means that you will have to go through the NVC package and visit a licensed doctor to complete the necessary documents and checkups. If you do not have all the vaccines then you will also need to take them.
Compile the EB3 visa supporting documents file
After the NVC approves your Form DS-261, you must send the supporting documents for your case.
The documents required for an EB3 visa application are the following:
- Your passport which must be valid for more than 6 months after your intended departure to the US
- Your employment offer from the US employer
- The approved labor certification
- The approved petition
- Your DS-261 confirmation page
- Your signed medical and vaccine documents
- Two photographs meeting the US Visa Photo Requirements
- Academic achievements (diplomas and certificates)
- Your CV or resume
- Court and criminal records
- Depending on the case, the NVC might require other supporting documents, so you must follow their instructions carefully.
Attend the visa interview
After the NVC has reviewed your documents, they will schedule an interview for you at the US Embassy. You must attend the visa interview at that scheduled time. The US official will go through your background and documents and decide whether you should be given an EB3 visa or not.
Receive the NVC package and travel to the US
If your visa is approved, NVC will send you a package. You cannot open this package under any circumstances. When you travel to the US, you must give it to an immigration official at the port of entry. They are the only ones that can open it and decide whether you can enter the US.
What are the EB3 visa fees?
There are many fees which both the US employer and the foreign worker must pay for the EB3 visa. Your employer and you will have to pay the following fees:
- DOL Labor Certification fee (employer)
- USCIS Form I-140 petition filing fee (employer)
- Form DS-261 processing fee (employee)
- Medical examination fees (employee)
- Fees to obtain supporting documents (employee)
- Any translation fees from foreign language to English (employee)
How Long is the EB3 Green Card Processing Time?
The EB3 Green Card processing time can most times be from a low of 1 to 3 years to very long wait times of 6 or more years. Since the EB3 visa has an annual visa cap, the EB3 processing time can be quite long. If you are within the yearly limit, then your visa may be processed within a few months.
Do I Get Access to American Healthcare With an EB3 Visa?
Yes, you will have access to healthcare in the United States as an EB3 visa holder, however, the costs of getting medical treatment in the US are one of the highest in the world.
The treatment of a broken leg or broken arm will cost you $2,500, while staying at a US hospital may cost over $10,000, on average. You should pick an immigrant health insurance plan that fits you best, which overall is also affordable and covers your needs.
Can I bring my spouse and children to the US with an EB3 visa?
If you get the EB3 immigrant visa then your spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old also qualify to join you in the US. For the skilled and professional workers, the spouse qualifies for the E-34 visa, while the children can apply for the E-35 visa.
For unskilled workers, the spouse is eligible for EW-4 visa and the children for EW-5 visa. With these visas, the spouse of an EB3 visa holder can apply for the Employment Authorization Document (EAD) and work in the US after approval.
Other Employment Based Immigrant Visa Types
The types of employment-based immigrant visas are the following:
- EB-1 Visa or First Priority Workers Visa is for outstanding professors, researchers, people with extraordinary abilities in arts, science, business, athletics, or education, as well as executive managers who have worked at a foreign branch of a US company for the past 3 years
- EB-2 Visa or Second Priority Workers Visa is for professionals with advanced degrees and people with extraordinary abilities in arts, sciences, or business.
- EB3 Visa or Third Priority Workers Visa is for skilled workers with more than 2 years of experience, professionals with a higher education degree, or unskilled workers with less than 2 years of experience (EW-3 Visa).
- EB-4 Visa or Fourth Priority Workers Visa is for various religious, government, or international organizations workers
- EB-5 Visa or Fifth Priority Workers Visa is for investors in the US who will invest between $500K to $1 million in the US economy