EB3 Processing: Detailed Discussion

The EB3 visa means it is the third preference employment-based (EB) green card. It gives the holder indefinite/permanent residency to live and work in the United States as with other green cards.

EB3 visa requirements are somewhat less stringent than the first and second preference employment. As a result, an EB3 visa is a powerful option for professionals, skilled workers, and unskilled workers hoping to get permanent residency in the United States. Through the EB3 visa, a US company can sponsor a foreign worker for a green card through full-time job offer-based alternatives (i.e., EB-1 and EB-2). Around forty thousand EB-3 visas are currently awarded each year.

The employer will have to go through the PERM labor certification process under the EB3 Visa requirements, as with other employment-based visas!

This employment-based visa is for those seeking to enter the United States to take up employment that requires either…

  • A foreign professional with a bachelor’s degree. You must be able to prove that your occupation requires your particular degree.
  • A skilled worker with at least two years of experience performing the tasks of your job.
  • An unskilled worker. This category has differing priority dates and requires your job to be permanent and not seasonal or temporary. You do not need work experience for this category, and so almost anyone who acquires a permanent job in the US can obtain an EB-3 green card.

EB3 Visa Process

We can divide into three main parts to the EB3 visa process:

PERM Process

  • Formulate job duties and minimum requirements
  • Request prevailing wage determination (PWD) from DOL
  • Conduct recruitment
  • Submit PERM to DOL

I-140 Form

  • File I-140 Employer’s immigrant visa petition

Green Card

  • Wait for the priority date to become current
  • File I-485
  • Attend biometrics appointment
  • Prepare for and attend the interview with the USCIS officer

Step 1: Formulate job duties and minimum requirements

The first step in the process is series of correspondence between the attorney, employer, and employee to establish the crucial details of the job for which the employee is being sponsored. This includes job title, job duties, minimum education and experience requirements, job location, number of employees being supervised, and other vital details. The employer must articulate the job requirements based on DOL regulations and realistic business practices. The employee must be able to show that she possessed the job requirements when accepting the offer. Previous experience and education must be adequately documented. Changes in the job duties, minimum requirements, or location later down the road could require beginning the process anew.

The timing of this step varies greatly depending on how quickly we can get all the necessary information from all the parties involved. We typically set up a conference call with all parties 30 days after the start of the case to refine specific details and review the next steps in the process. Overall, this step can take 2-4 months.

Step 2: Request prevailing wage determination (PWD) from DOL

Once the job details have been established, we submit an online PWD request to the Department of Labor. DOL will determine the prevailing wage for the position in the specified geographic location, based on the job duties, minimum requirements, and other details. If a collective bargaining agreement governs the wage for the position, documentation is submitted to DOL to show this.

PWD sets the minimum wage that the employer must be willing to pay the employee when the employee becomes a legal permanent resident. Currently, DOL issues a prevailing wage determination in 4-5 months.

Step 3: Conduct recruitment

After receiving the prevailing wage determination, the advertisements will be placed to test the labor market. This labor market test for PERM purposes must be conducted in conformity with DOL rules. The recruitment stage takes a minimum of 2 months.

If a willing and qualified US worker applies for the position, we will need to stop the process, wait at least six months, and then re-test the labor market, perhaps with modified criteria.

Step 4: Submit PERM to DOL

When the recruitment period ends with no able, willing, and qualified US workers, we will prepare and file the (9089) PERM application and file it with DOL. PERM processing is currently taking about 8-9 months but could take significantly longer if the case is audited. However, the chance of the case being audited is small: nationally, the audit rate is about 25%, but with CBK, the rate is less than 5%.

Based on the above, it is reasonable to expect the Labor Certification stage (steps 1-4) to take approximately 12 months or more if there is an audit.

Step 5: File I-140

Once the Department approves the PERM labor certification of Labor, the next step is for the employer to submit a Form I-140 to USCIS. The Form I-140 is the immigrant petition, and the US employer files it on behalf of the foreign worker. Once the form I-140 is filed, it usually takes 6-9 months to respond from USCIS. The US employer can also elect to pay an additional $1,440 for premium processing to receive a response in 15 days. If USCIS has any concerns about the petition, they may render a Request for Evidence (RFE). This can also slow down the processing time.

Step 6: Wait for the priority date to become current.

Depending on the green card category and the country of chargeability, immigrant visa number may not be immediately available. However, if the priority date is current when the PERM is approved, we may be able to move to the next step directly and file the I-485 application together with the I-140.

If, after approval of the I-140 immigrant visa petition, the priority date is not within three months of current on the most recent visa bulletin, we can offer monitoring services. Monitoring includes help to review visa eligibility in the appropriate category each month, monitoring legislation and regulatory developments at DOL and USCIS, gather basic information and documents to assess adjustment of status eligibility, and being available to answer questions through the waiting period.

Step 7: File I-485

I-485 is a personal green card application filed by the employee named in the I-140 petition and by her derivative family members (spouse and children). As long as the priority date remains current, it can be filed after I-140 approval or at the same time as the I-140.

Adjustment of the status application focuses on the employee’s eligibility to receive a green card (e.g., absence of criminal history or other grounds of inadmissibility). As a part of the adjustment of the status application, we can request a travel/work authorization card that can be used while I-485 is pending. The work and travel card usually arrive in 4-5 months after filing. At that point, an employee no longer needs her H-1B, though she may continue to use the H-1B until the green card is approved.

Step 8: Attend biometrics appointment

The applicant will likely receive a biometrics appointment notice about 1-2 months after we file the paperwork. This will be in the USCIS office closest to your place of residence.

Step 9: Prepare for and attend the interview with the USCIS officer

About 12 months after filing the paperwork, we will receive an interview notice. Interview wait time varies greatly among different USCIS field offices.

At the I-485 interview, the immigration officer will review the employee’s green card application and their underlying immigration file. At the time of the interview, the employee needs to confirm that the job offer is still available for him, produce all the original civil documents, immigration status documents (H1B approvals, visa stamps, SEVIS documents), and previously completed medical exam on form I-693 in a closed envelope. We will prepare the applicant for the interview and might accompany her if this is necessary.

Green cards are usually approved from 2 weeks to 2 months after the interview. However, on rare occasions, when Visa Bulletin retrogresses and a visa number is no longer available after the successful interview, I-485 will be sent to National Benefits Center. In that scenario, USCIS will approve a green card as soon as the visa number becomes available again.


If you want to come to the USA in the Eb3 category, find an employer by yourself, we will help you in all legal proceedings.

Attorney Profile

Raju Mahajan
Raju Mahajan, Esq.

Principle Attorney and Owner

-JD from LMU Duncan School of Law
-MA from West Virginia State University

Bar Admissions
-Washington DC

Memberships and Affiliations
-American Bar Association
-South Asian Bar Association
-The National Lawyers Guild (NLG).
-American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA)

Fluent in English and Bengali

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