An EB-3 visa is a permanent residency scheme based on employment status. The visa allows foreigners to work and live in the US. This category of a green card is available for professional, skilled, and unskilled workers. A skilled worker is an individual who has experience in a particular profession. A skilled worker must undergo at least two years of training to acquire status. The EB-3 visa has less rigid qualifications as compared to the EB-1 and EB-2 categories. 

If you want to obtain employment-based residency as a skilled worker, you need to understand all the requirements and go through the necessary process. Even after meeting the requirements, you can be denied the green card, which could be quite devastating. The guidance of an expert from California Immigration Attorney will go a long way for you when you are navigating through the process of acquiring an EB-3 green card.

Overview of an EB-3 Skilled Workers Green Card

There are different ways through which you can travel and stay in America. An EB-3 green card is an employment-based residency that allows a particular category of individuals to work and permanently reside in the United States. An EB-3 visa is available for different types of workers. Individuals applying for an EB-3 visa as professionals must have a degree and work for a profession that qualified American citizens are unavailable.

To qualify for the EB-3 green card as a skilled worker, you need to have at least two years' experience in a field with few or no skilled workers in the US. The EB-3immigrant visa allows skilled workers to obtain green cards based on their training and work experience. Also, one should have a full-time, permanent job offer. Skilled workers who want to acquire the EB-3 visa must meet all the requirements and undergo the process required to acquire the status. 

Eligibility Criteria for an EB-3 Skilled Workers

Meeting the requirements stipulated by the Department of State is one of the ways of ensuring that your petition for an EB-3 visa is considered. The eligibility criteria for the EB-3 visa for skilled workers include:

  • You must have two years of training or working experience for a job that is not seasonal.
  • There should be no qualified Americans for the position you hope to take. Before your EB-3 visa is approved, the Department of State ensures that you will not hurt American workers' chances. An immigrant cannot acquire a job position that an American based worker could do. You are required to produce labor certification proving that you meet the qualification.
  • You must have an offer for a permanent and full-time job offer. The United States-based employer who is willing to sponsor you must have offered you a US job. The potential employer must prove through labor certification that there are no Americans who could perform the job. Your employer must also be capable of supervising and paying you.

To ensure that you meet all qualifications, you will need guidance from a competent immigration attorney.

EB-3 Green Card Application Process

The application process of the EB-3 visa is done in different steps, which include;

  1. Labor Certification

Labor certification is the initial step you will undergo when applying for an EB-3 green card. This step is performed by your US-based employer, who has offered you a position. After applying for wage determination, your employer will receive the Department of Labor certification. This part of your application aims to prove that no qualified US workers are available for the position you are hoping to take.

The certification also ensures that your employer pays you the wages as stipulated by the Department of Labor. Labor certification is completed by filling the ETA-9089 Form, which contains information on your employer, the duties and responsibilities you are expected to carry out, and wages you will be receiving.    

  1. I-140 Petition

After approval of the labor certification, your employer will submit the petition on your behalf. Your petition is filed with USCIs by Submitting the I-140 form. This petition will have information on your EB-3 visa category and the offer. Financial information about the employer will also be required to ascertain that they can pay you.

USCIS decides on whether to accept or reject the petition. Should your petition be rejected, you cannot receive the EB-3 visa. However, the National Visa Center will receive a notice if your petition is approved and you are not applying to change your status. The National Visa Center is responsible for determining your priority date, which is a significant element in acquiring an EB-3 green card.

After approval of your petition and issuance of the priority date, you will be notified of the steps you need to take. The DS-261 contains your information and is used to notify the US Embassy in the country of your attempt to acquire the EB-3 visa.

  1. Form DS-261

First, you need to complete a DS-261, which is an online option of agent or address. This form informs the United States Embassy in the country of your attempt to apply for an EB-3 visa. Once the process is completed, a confirmation message scheduling your visa appointment is sent to you.

  1. Acquiring a Medical Certificate

All applicants of an EB-3 are responsible for doing a medical exam. You will be required to examine an NVC doctor to ensure all your vaccinations are current and you are medically safe to enter into the US.

  1. Visa Application

After receiving a confirmation of the DS-261 Form, you must present the relevant documentation to the embassy. Some of the documents you have to present are the labor certification, an approved I-140 petition, your passport, the medical examination report. Sometimes, the NVC notifies you of additional documents required for the EB-3 visa. After submitting all the relevant documents, you need to schedule a visa appointment with the embassy.

  1. Visa Interview

Should you apply for an EB-3 green card while already in the US, you may have to go through the consular. This involves visiting the US consulate to participate in the interview with the consular officer. Also, you should complete a DS-260 visa application. When attending the interview, you should go with a printout of the DS-260 together with a copy of your passport, the notification letter of your appointment, and other supporting documents of the green card.

  1. Arrival in the United States

If your visa is approved, your EB-3 visa is granted. The NVC will then send you a package that you cannot open and will present it to the immigration officer on entry to the US. These officers will open the package and decide whether or not you can enter the United States on your EB-3 visa.

Documentation for an EB-3 Visa

Several documents are required during the application process for an EB-3. The specific documents vary for individuals depending on their qualifications. For more information and guidance on the documents you need, it is crucial to consult with your immigration attorney. All documents you present should be kept in your record to make them easily available if you face an audit. General documents you should prepare for your EB-3 green Card Include:

  • A contract between and the US-based potential employer
  • Relevant photographs
  • Your passports and those of the beneficiaries
  • Medical records 
  • Work experience documents. One of the qualifications you need to meet when applying for an EB-3 is that you need to have a two-year experience. The evidence on this qualification is one of the documents you need to provide at the interview.
  • Academic records
  • Acknowledgment of honors or awards
  • Your criminal record. Any offense you may have committed. 

Costs Associated with the EB-3 Visa

Several costs might go into acquiring an EB-3 green card status. First, you need to pay a $700 compulsory fee for filing the I-140 form. This fee is paid by your employer each time the form is filed. You are not allowed to pay the fees under any circumstances. After the approval of your I-140, you need to either adjust your status or go through premium processing. Adjusting your status requires you to file Form I-485 with the USCIS, and the fee needed varies based on the applicant’s age.

  • For dependents fourteen years accompanying a parent, the fee is $750
  • Individuals between fourteen and seventy-eight years will pay $1,225
  • A person over seventy-eight years pays up to $1,140

If you apply for your EB-3 visa through a consular, you must complete the DS-260, an online form that requires you to pay $120. This cost must be completed before arriving at the embassy or to a consular for your EB3-visa interview.

Many individuals have queries on whether or not their money can be refunded after paying to the USCIs. Unfortunately, the immigration department does not do refunds. However, under these three special circumstances, you can be refunded the money you paid:

  • The USCIS collected a fee greater than what is listed in the fee schedules.
  • You were asked to submit an unnecessary form, and the form required some payments.
  • The USCIS did not duly process your petition within the allowed fifteen days.

If you think you qualify for a refund after applying for an EB-3, it is crucial to have legal guidance on the way forward.

Denial of an EB-3 Green Card

Having your visa denied could be devastating. Some of the issues that could cause a denial to include:

  • Inaccurate or inconsistent information during the petition
  • Incorrect submission of the relevant fees
  • Failing the background check. This occurs when you have a criminal record that is not acceptable.
  • You failed to meet the eligibility criteria for the category.
  • Your employer did not meet the USCIS requirements.

Consulting with a competent immigration attorney could help you put all your information and documents together to avoid denial. Fortunately, even after denial of the visa, you can refile the petition at a later date.

Advantages of the EB-3 Green Card

There are many benefits of acquiring an EB-3 green card, including:

  1. You will be a permanent resident in the United States. When you qualify for an EB-3 green card, you become a permanent resident, and you will enjoy the benefits of permanent residency. Some of these benefits include having the liberty to change employers and being immune from deportation.
  2. There are fewer requirements compared to those of other forms of permanent residency. The requirements for an EB-3 visa are less strict when compared to the EB-1 and EB-2 visas. If you do not qualify for other forms of visa, you can try out the EB-3.
  3. Your spouse and children can accompany you to the US. According to the EB-3 regulations, a skilled worker who acquires the EB-3 green card can go with their legal spouse and all dependents below twenty-one years. After settling in the United States, your children could attend school and seek employment after that.

Frequently Asked Questions on the EB-3 Skilled Workers Green Card

Employment-based green cards play a significant role in employment immigration—most people who apply for nonimmigrant visas like H-B1will attempt to become permanent residents of the United States. An EB-3 green card is popular since it has low qualification requirements. However, immigration is complicated, and many people seek to understand how the process works. Enlisting the help of a competent immigration attorney is crucial when you are in this situation. The following are some frequently asked questions on the EB-3:

  1. How long does it take to acquire a green card under the EB-3 category?

There is no specific time allocated for an EB-3. The time you take in the different steps of the process plays a significant role in the amount of time you take to acquire the EB-3 status. The first step you take is the PERM Labor Certification, whose process takes up sixty days. However, the labor department could take up to nine months to process your form. Nine more months could be added to your proves when your employer is subjected to an audit.

After the audit, your employer must file the I-40 with the USCIS, which will take you up to six months, depending on the service center's workload. You will then wait for your priority date to be current, which influences your processing time significantly. After that, you may have to go through the consular processing or adjusting, requiring one to file an I-485 form. When you apply for an EB-3 green card, the shortest waiting time could be one year, and the longest could be over ten years. Legal guidance is crucial to ensure your process moves faster.

  1. What is the difference between an EB-3 green card and an EB3-visa? 

Confusing the terms visa and green card is common since many people think they are different things. A visa is an immigration means that allows foreigners to spend a certain amount of time in the United States. A visa could be nonimmigrant or immigrant. A holder of a nonimmigrant visa will eventually return to their home country after the visa expires while an immigrant visa grants permanent residence. An immigrant visa allows you to live and work without restrictions. Due to their permanent residence, immigrant visas are often called green cards. Therefore, an EB-3 Visa is similar to an EB-3 green card.

  1. What is the difference between an EB-3 and an H-1B?

Both the H-1B and the EB-3 are types of visas. However, the main difference between them is that the EB-3 is an immigrant visa that gives permanent residence to its holders while the H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa. A holder of an H-1B visa can only remain in the United States for a maximum of six years. The eligibility criteria for H-1B and EB-3 are different. To acquire an EB-3 visa, you must be a holder of a degree and a full-time job offer. 

On the other hand, the H-1B requires you to have both a degree and a job that requires your degree. The selection criteria for an H-1B visa are done randomly, after which you will seek approval. Instead of a random lottery, the Department of State gives you a priority date to obtain your EB-3. Most people use a temporary visa as a pathway to acquire permanent residence in the United States. To better understand the type of visa you would like to acquire, you need legal guidance.

  1. Will I have to attend an interview for an EB-3 status adjustment?

Most people who seek a status adjustment by filing an I-485 are always brought to an interview, and the EB-3 is not an exception. However, with proper preparation to ensure your case is legitimate, you do not need to worry. The officer evaluating your case will ask you questions from the documentation on your files to ensure everything is right. If there is a significant change in the information provided, the application could be denied. Fortunately, you can refile your petition after some time. Your immigration attorney will take you through the process to help you avoid a denial.

  1. How will my EB-3 move to permanent citizenship?

Most people apply for an EB-3 visa with the hope of acquiring US citizenship. Citizens of the United States enjoy many benefits that are not available for holders of a green card. Some of the benefits include a better chance of sponsoring family members' access to better jobs and immunity from deportation. The path between the EB-3 to citizenship is through naturalization that requires you to be above eighteen years and has been a holder of the EB-3 for not less than five years.

To complete the naturalization process, you must file an application form with the USCIS, include your green card passport and pay a certain fee. Proof of your character is also required to receive US citizenship.

  1. Can I acquire an EB-3 skilled worker without a degree?

The EB-3 green card covers three categories of individuals, professionals, skilled and unskilled workers. If you apply for the visa as a professional, you must be a degree holder and have a job offer in the United States. To qualify for the EB-visa as a skilled worker, you do not need to have a degree but must have two years of working experience. Individuals without a degree and less than two years of experience can also apply for the visa as unskilled workers.

  1. Why is an EB-3 faster than an EB-2?

The priority date you are allocated when applying for the EB-3 will significantly determine your visa processing time. For each type of green care, the Department of State imposes an annual limit. The orders for the EB-1 are processed in the order that they were received. Therefore, when more people file a petition, the process will take longer. The action dates are divided depending on the country of origin. If your country has more petitioners, you may have to wait a while. For this reason, many people applying for the EB-2 will make the process slower than for the EB-3. Ensuring all your documents are in order could help you file a petition in time to ensure a quicker process.

Seek Legal Guidance from an Immigration Attorney Near Me

When you want to work and live permanently in the United States, obtaining an EB-3 green card could be one way to go around it. However, there are specific requirements and processes you must follow to obtain the EB-3 status. Several factors are involved in acquiring an EB-3 green card, including proper paperwork, legal fees, and unforeseen issues. 

Hiring and retaining a competent immigration attorney is a wise decision for a stress-free process. At California Immigration Attorney, we will guide you through the mandatory documentation and specific qualifications for the EB-3 to ensure your dream of working and permanently residing in the United States comes true. We serve clients throughout the State of California to ensure the best outcome in your immigration situation. Contact us today at 424-789-8809 and allow us to guide you.