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In this article we will explain in detail the EB-3 visa, which is one of the visas that grants legal permanent residence in the United States.

Depending on your skills and work experience, you may become eligible for this visa. Like the EB-1 and EB-2 visas, this visa paves the way for employment-based Green Cards. However, not everyone becomes eligible, so you must have the necessary criteria to qualify.

Our New Jersey immigration lawyers have over 10 years experience helping immigrants become lawful permanent residents in the US and you could be one of them. Also, after a few years, you can even become an American citizen. Contact us by phone, email or by scheduling an appointment at one of our offices located in Newark and Ridgewood.

What Is The US EB-3 Visa

The EB-3 visa is an employment-based visa category available only to skilled workers, professionals, and other workers. Generally, these petitions must be accompanied by an individual labor certification, approved and issued by the Department of Labor (DOL) with Form ETA-9089.

In certain cases, the petition may be submitted to USCIS with an uncertified ETA-9089 for consideration as Schedule A, Group I. You can learn more about this in Volume 6, Part E, Chapter 7 of the USCIS Policy Manual.

perm labor certification steps

If you want to know more about labor in the US, you may be interested in reviewing our article dedicated to the PERM labor certification.

EB-3 Visa Subcategories

The EB-3 visa has three subcategories. These are:

  • Skilled workers: They are all those alien workers whose work requires a minimum of two years of training or work experience and is not of a temporary or eventual nature.
  • Professionals: These are individuals whose job requires at least a US bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent. Also, they must be a professional;
  • Other workers: Are those individuals who perform unskilled work that requires less than two years of experience or training and is not of a temporary or individual nature. 

EB-3 Visa Requirements

To qualify for this visa, you must show that you meet certain requirements. These depend on your professional category.

eb-3 visa for the united states

Skilled Worker

  • They have at least two years of work experience, education, or training that meets the specific requirements in the labor certification.
  • Has a relevant post secondary education which can be considered as training.
  • The job to be performed has no qualified workers available in the US.


  • You have a US baccalaureate degree or its foreign equivalent. Also, your baccalaureate degree is the normal requirement for entry into your occupation.
  • The work to be performed has no qualified workers available in the US.
  • Your education and experience cannot be substituted by a baccalaureate degree.
  • You must meet any other requirements specified in the labor certification.

Unskilled Worker (Other Workers)

  • Has the ability to perform unskilled work (requires less than two years of experience or training) that is not of temporary or seasonal nature.
  • For the work to perform there are no qualified workers available in the US.
  • You must meet any other requirements that are specified in the labor certification.

For all three subcategories, a labor certification and a permanent full-time job offer are required.

How To Get The EB-3 Visa?

Generally, the process to obtain the EB-3 visa consists of 4 steps. These steps must be followed by your US employer:

  1. Obtain a labor certification from the DOL.
  2. File Form I-140, Petition for Alien Immigrant Worker, with USCIS on behalf of the alien.
  3. Pay the filing fee.
  4. Provide all necessary evidence and supporting documentation.

As part of the application process for this visa, the employer must be able to demonstrate that they have the continuing ability to pay you the offered salary as of the priority date. To prove this, your employer may use an annual report, tax return, or an audited financial statement.

employment third preference eb-3 visa

USCIS offers extensive information on application fees at the following link.

What Happens After The Submission Of The Form?

Once USCIS receives Form I-140 from your U.S. employer, it will begin processing your petition and your employer will receive notification of:

  • Receipt confirming that they have received the request.
  • Biometric services (if applicable).
  • Having to go to the interview (if applicable).
  • The final decision of the petition.

Please note that in order to receive notifications about the status of your case, you must create an online account with USCIS.

If the employee is in the US, they can apply for adjustment of status, but if they are abroad, they must go through consular processing.

Can Family Members Of The EB-3 Holders Accompany Them To The United States?

Family members of the EB-3 visa holder may be eligible to apply for admission to the US as long as the holder’s Form I-140 is approved. The spouse and unmarried children under 21 years of age may be under the following categories:

  • E34: Spouse of a skilled worker or a professional.
  • EW4: Spouse of another type of worker.
  • E35: Child of a skilled worker or a professional.
  • EW5: Son of another type of worker.
u. s family based immigration

If for some reason you cannot bring your relatives to the United States, don’t worry. Check our section about US family based immigration and explore the different paths.

How Long Does An EB-3 Visa Take?

In general, the processing of the I-140 form takes approximately 6 months. However, in some cases, it may take up to 2 years. 

The good news is that you can expedite the process through Form I-907 application for premium processing. This can shorten the processing time to as little as 15 days or so.

You may also have to wait a few months to get the priority date. Please note that Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, may take 6 months or more to be approved.

What Is The Cost Of Applying For The EB-3 Visa?

There are several costs associated with the EB-3 visa application, these are:

  • I-140 petition: $700.
  • Form I-485: Varies, but is typically $1,225.
  • Form I-907 (optional for premium processing): $2,500.
  • Application fee (if coming from abroad): $345.

Other costs to consider are medical exams, required vaccinations, plane tickets, transportation to the US embassy or consulate and others.

How Can Curbelo Law Help You Obtain The EB-3 Visa?

Obtaining the EB-3 visa is not a simple process, since it requires a series of steps and requirements that not everyone can meet.

As with other visas, the slightest mistake in the application process can lead to the denial of your application. In addition, if you do not prove that you really are a third preference worker, it is very likely that you will not be granted a visa.

To increase your chances of successfully processing this visa, contact Curbelo Law. The firm has helped hundreds of workers process their necessary paperwork to enter the US. Call us today, we will be happy to assist you.