EB-3 Green Card

The EB-3 Green Card is an employment-based permanent residency category. The third preference category is specified for skilled, professional, or “other” workers. “Professionals” refers to those who hold a bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent.

“Skilled” is translated as those who are experienced in working in a distinct occupation that requires at least two years of training. The EB-3 Green Card is less rigid in qualifying requirements, but there are more eligible applicants compared to EB-1 and EB-2 categories.

Eligibility Criteria




Skilled Workers
  • You must have at least 2 years of job experience or training
  • You must be performing work for which qualified US workers are not available
Labor certification and a full-time, permanent EB-3 job offer is required.
  • You must be able to demonstrate that you have a U.S. baccalaureate degree or its foreign degree equivalent and that a baccalaureate degree is a normal requirement for entry into the occupation.
  • You must be performing work for which qualified US workers are not available.
  • Education and experience may not be substituted for a baccalaureate degree.
Labor certification and a permanent, full-time EB-3 job offer required.
Unskilled Workers (Other Workers) You must be capable, at the time the petition is filed on your behalf, of performing unskilled labor (requiring less than 2 years training or experience), that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the United States. Labor certification and a permanent, full-time EB-3 job offer required.


EB-3 Green Card-Skilled Workers:

If the job is long-term (not seasonal or temporary), the position must require:

  • At least two years of Work Experience
  • An Undergraduate Degree
  • Evidence of Vocational Training

Skilled Worker Required Documentation:

  • PERM Labor Certification
  • Proof of education completion
  • Any additional documentation relating to the PERM Labor Certification
  • Confirmation of permanent EB-3 job offer from U.S. employer
  • Petition for Immigrant Worker (Form I-140)

EB-3 Green Card-Professional Workers:

The eligible professional petitioners are typically those who did not have the extensive qualifications for the EB-2 visa but still hold a valuable skill and certified education. All qualified professionals must hold:

  • Bachelor’s Degree or Foreign Equivalent
  • The position is obligated to require a bachelor’s degree
  • Work experience and education cannot take place of degree

Professional Required Documentation:

  • PERM Labor Certification
  • Proof of bachelor’s degree or foreign equivalent
  • Requirements of position (bachelor’s degree is mandatory)
  • Confirmation of permanent EB-3 job offer from U.S. employer
  • Petition for Immigrant Worker (Form I-140)

EB-3 Green Card – “Other” Workers:

The qualifications for the “Other” Workers category are not as extensive as professionals or skilled. This provides the opportunity to a wider range of applicants, though, only 10,000 green cards are issued a year.

The applicant should expect to wait a couple of years before receiving the EB-3 Green Card. The PERM Labor Certification may also be difficult to obtain under the “Other” Workers category and requires detailed documentation from the U.S. employer.

Eligible “Other” Workers must have:

  • Position that requires work experience or education
    • This position must be certified that it cannot be filled by a U.S. worker.
    • The position cannot be temporary or seasonal

“Other” Workers Required Documentation:

  • PERM Labor Certification
  • Evidence of education, work experience, or apprenticeship.
  • Proof of U.S. permanent employment offer
  • All related documents to the PERM Labor Certification
  • Petition for Immigrant Worker (Form I-140)

EB-3 Green Card Steps

Once you have all your documentation together, you will need to find an employer who is willing to sponsor you for the green card process. That employer must then go through an extensive recruitment process and determine the prevailing wage for your position in the geographical area that you will be working in order to obtain the PERM Labor Certification from the Department of Labor.

Next, your employer will need to file an I-140 petition with the USCIS. Once the petition is received, that date will mark your priority date. You will need to wait and watch the monthly visa bulletin released by the Department of State to see if your priority is “current”, meaning that it matches or passes the final action dates given in the most recent bulletin.

It is important to note that, as of the writing of this article, most of the final action dates for the EB-3 green card are backlogged only a few months, others are backlogged several years. If you are from China or India, be prepared to wait a considerable amount of time before your priority date is current. Keep in mind that the dates for the “other workers” group vary slightly from the dates for the other two groups.

As soon as your date is current, you can file your I-485 petition to adjust your status if you are already in the U.S. Your status will automatically switch to legal permanent resident as soon as your I-485 is approved.

What About The EB-3 Interview?

If you are currently outside the U.S., you will need to go through consular processing instead. This involves going to the U.S. consulate or embassy in your home country and participating in a one-on-one interview with a consular officer. You will also need to complete the DS-260 online immigrant visa application.

You should print out both the confirmation page for your DS-260 and the receipt for your payment and bring those to your interview along with:

  • Your passport
  • Your ID
  • Two passport-style photos
  • Your I-797 Notice of Approval from the USCIS
  • Your appointment notification letter
  • Any supporting documents for your green card.

How Long Is The EB-3 Processing Time?

With each step discussed above in mind, we can make an estimate on what the processing time will be. However, there are a number of factors that can drastically change the amount of time your EB-3 green card will take.

  • The PERM Labor Certification process will take about 8 months without complications. If your employer is audited or subjected to supervised recruitment, this time could potentially increase to two years.
  • The I-140 takes an average of 6 months depending on the caseload of the Service Center that is processing the petition.
  • Waiting for your priority date can take anywhere from two months to over a decade depending on what your country of origin is.
  • The I-485 may take an average of 6 months to process as well. This step cannot be expedited by premium processing.

If six months is too long a time to wait for your I-140 to be processed, you can pay the extra fee to use premium processing, an optional service that shortens your petition’s processing time to 15 calendar days.

So the total EB-3 processing time can be between 14 months in the best case scenario and up to 15 years in the worst case. Work with your EB-3 green card attorney to determine what you will be able to expect from your processing time.

If your priority date wait time is too long, you may consider porting your EB-3 to EB-2 status. This is not an easy process and should only be attempted with the help of an EB-3 attorney.

How Much Are the EB-3 Fees?

The EB-3 has a few fees to take into account before applying:

  • The I-140 basic filing fee is $700.
  • The I-485 filing fee varies depending on your age. The fee for those who are under the age of 14 is $750. For those that are over the age of 78, the fee is $1,140. Everyone in between needs to pay a fee of $1,225 (including the biometric services fee)
  • If you are using premium processing with your I-140, the fee is $1,225
  • Attorney fees vary from firm to firm, you can see our flat charge for EB-3 green cards on our fees page.
  • If you are going through consular processing, you will need to factor in the fee for the DS-260, which is $230 plus an $88 sponsorship fee. You will also need to consider the cost of travel as well.

Can I Get a Refund?

The USCIS is unfortunately not in the business of giving out EB-3 fee refunds. However, there are three main circumstances where you can expect one:

  1. The USCIS has asked you for a form that was unnecessary for your EB-3 and that form required a payment.
  2. The USCIS requested a fee that was greater than the amount listed on their fee schedule.
  3. The USCIS failed to process a premium processing petition in the allotted 15 calendar days and will refund the premium processing fee.

EB-3 Green Card Renewal

One of the biggest advantages to getting a green card is the fact that it has a long validity period. When issued, your EB-3 will be valid for 10 years. Keep in mind that this is not like renewing a nonimmigrant visa, where you need to submit a new petition and essentially re-qualify for the visa.

For a green card, you simply to file an I-90 request to have your green card renewed for a fee of $455 plus an $85 biometrics fee. This is also the process if your green card has been lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed and you need a replacement.

EB-3 to Citizenship

Now that you have your EB-3 immigrant visa, you might be satisfied with your immigration journey. However, there are some advantages to taking it to the final step and becoming a U.S. citizen:

  • You will be able to work as a federal government employee
  • You can sponsor your family members for green cards at a higher preference level
  • You can vote in primary elections
  • You no longer have to renew your immigration status
  • You cannot be deported from the U.S.

These are just some of the many benefits that come from making the transfer from EB-3 visa to citizenship. This is done through a process called naturalization, which requires you to file an N-400 form with the USCIS. Provided that you meet the requirements, which include living in the U.S. as a legal permanent resident for at least 5 years, you will be asked to come into a service center for an interview and an exam testing your knowledge of American government, history, and your grasp of the English language.

If you pass this test and the interview, you will need to swear an oath of allegiance to the United States before becoming an official U.S. citizen.

As an aside, while the N-400 may be $640 plus an $85 biometrics fee, which seems more expensive than the EB-3 green card renewal fee, you only need to pay this once as opposed to the green card renewal fee, which must be paid every decade.

EB-3 Visa Denial

Getting an EB-3 denial can be devastating to your immigration plans. Because of this, we aim to inform you about how you can avoid this problem before it starts.

There are a few main reasons for why an EB-3 green card petition is denied or rejected:

  • There was inconsistent, incomplete, or inaccurate information on the petition
  • The filing fee was incorrectly submitted
  • You failed the background check
  • Your position did not satisfy the requirements for the EB-3 green card
  • Your employer did not satisfy the requirements for the EB-3 green card

For the first two items on the list, your petition will likely be rejected, which simply means that it was sent back due to a superficial issue. The best thing to do is to work with your immigration attorney to fix the mistake and to refile the petition.

For everything else, however, the situation may be more serious. A denial means that, after being thoroughly examined by an immigration officer, your petition was denied based on the merits of your case. Your options here are to either refile with more or different supporting evidence, appeal the decision through the Administrative Appeals Office, or to make a legal motion to reconsider or reopen your case.

What About an RFE?

Occasionally, rather than deliver an outright denial, the USCIS will send for a Request for Evidence (RFE). Think of this as a second chance instead of an obstacle. The USCIS is giving you the opportunity to submit additional documentation to support certain aspects of your case. There is a narrow window of time in which you need to respond to the RFE, so the best thing to do is to take it to your immigration attorney.

How Our EB-3 Lawyers Can Help

Just like you would hire an expert for any other highly-specialized project, an immigration attorney plays an instrumental role in the process. To ensure that your petition is completed and filed properly, your fees are correct, and that any unforseen issues are dealt with (such as an RFE), the best thing to do is to retain an attorney. At SGM Law Group:

  • Our EB-3 Green Card lawyers have successfully completed EB-3 Green Card cases for professionals in a wide range of industries including IT, healthcare, retail, hospitality, finance etc.
  • Our immigration lawyers assist with mandatory documentation and qualifications under the EB-3 and offer extensive immigration consultations
  • Our EB-3 Green Card lawyers are experienced in completing EB-3 requirements by crucial deadlines resulting from the quick movement in priority dates.

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