Employment-Based 3rd Preference Visa

Employment-Based 3rd Preference Visa

The U.S. limits the number of employment-based green cards given out to 140,000 a year. Of those, roughly 40,000 are dedicated to workers who qualify for an employment-based 3rd preference visa, or EB-3. The EB-3 is a means for both foreign nationals with work experience to enter the U.S. legally and U.S. employers that have exhausted available employees to fill these roles. This category of employment-based green cards demands less academic and professional achievements than the EB-1 and EB-2 green cards, but similar to the EB-2, still requires labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

Labor Certification and PERM

It is the responsibility of the employer to obtain a labor certification before a foreign worker can be permitted to fill the job in review. To receive a labor certification, an employer must submit a request to the DOL stating that there are no available workers in the U.S. with the experience or desire to fill the role for which they are hiring. The DOL will then conduct a review to determine whether or not there truly is a necessity for immigrant workers, and if hiring those workers would negatively affect the wages of similarly employed U.S. workers.

During the review period, it’s also required that the job be posted at the prevailing wage on the Employment Service recruitment system for at least thirty days. The employer must also advertise the position in a trade journal or newspaper, post an internal notice, and select three additional ads from a predetermined list.

To speed up this process , in 2004, the DOL updated their regulations known as PERM, or Program Electronic Review Management. PERM requires that all aspects of recruitment be finished before filing the application for labor certification and filing must occur within 6 months of recruitment. This allows the DOL to have access to all the necessary information about on-boarding at the start of the process instead of receiving it during the middle of their decision-making.

There are three different subcategories of the EB-3 green card and each one of them requires a sponsoring employer to meet labor certification and PERM standards before moving forward with the immigration process.


The first subcategory of the EB-3 green card is reserved for skilled workers. Skilled workers are individuals who can prove at least 2 years of experience working or training in a particular field. The work in question cannot be of a temporary or seasonal nature. Examples of workers that may be eligible for this subcategory include chefs, construction supervisors, reporters, journalists, graphic designers, and technical workers.

Skilled Worker Requirements

The foreign worker must be able to demonstrate the skills learned from their 2+ years of job experience or training. The individual will also only qualify if they are performing work for which no qualified workers are currently available in the U.S.


The EB-3B subcategory is reserved for foreign workers who qualify as professionals. This means that they have a U.S. baccalaureate degree or its foreign equivalent at a minimum. Examples of individuals who typically qualify for an EB-3B green card include lawyers, engineers, physicians, and teachers.

Professional Requirements

To qualify for an EB-3B green card an individual must demonstrate that they not only have a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent, but that by having this they meet the maximum requirement for the job. It must be clearly proven that the individual has the necessary education. Similar to skilled workers, the individuals must be recruited to do work for which no qualified workers are currently available in the U.S.


The final subcategory of the EB-3 green card is the EB-3C, designated for unskilled workers or other workers. Those applying for an unskilled worker visa must demonstrate the ability to perform the unskilled labor, requiring less than 2 years of training or experience that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature. Applicants in this subcategory might include janitors, garden workers, farm workers, and housekeepers. Once again, it must also be proven that the worker is performing work for which no qualified workers are currently available in the U.S.

Applying for an EB-3 Visa

To successfully complete the EB-3 application process, there are a few steps to go through. First, a sponsored employer must execute the PERM labor certification process. Unlike EB-1 and EB-2, individuals may not self-petition for any subcategories of the EB-3. An employer must receive certification on behalf of the alien by committing to pay the full prevailing wage and providing all the necessary information about recruitment. Prevailing wage is the required amount of money that a government determines must be paid to employees based on the work. PERM certifications can be expected back within 45 to 60 days.

The next step is for the employer to file an I-140 petition for alien worker form to petition the beneficiary to become a permanent U.S. resident. The I-140 confirms different aspects of the labor certification application and proves the foreign worker qualifies for an EB-3 visa. The review process usually takes no more than three months to be completed and costs $700.

If the I-140 is approved, the beneficiary must file an I-485 form or take a consular processing interview. These steps can only be completed if the individual is legally in the U.S. and will allow him/her to become a lawful permanent resident.

Contact an Immigration Attorney Today

The immigration lawyers at Scott D. Pollock and Associates, P.C. possess the knowledge and experience to help both employers and foreign workers navigate the dense, detail-oriented requirements involved in applying for an employment-based green card. If you’re looking to maximize your chances of success with the EB-3 green card, reach out to our firm today.

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