US EB-3 Visa: Employment Sponsored Visas

The U.S Immigration visa does not only cater to family and immediate relatives, it also grants visas to people who are certified to work in the U.S. The Employment Sponsored Visas would allow foreign employee/worker to work without an Employment Authorization Document, as long as they already have an employer that hired them to work and relocate to the U.S permanently. There are 5 types of employment visas and each type is designated with the letter E:

  • EB1 Visa is the visa type for First Priority Workers. It is for highly capable people with extraordinary talent in arts, athletics, business or education, outstanding university professor or researchers and as well as executive or managers that are employed for 3 years in an overseas branch of a U.S company.
  • EB-2 Visa or Second Priority Workers Visa is for experts in their profession who hold an advanced degree or someone with exceptional abilities above the ordinary in the field of arts, business or sciences.
  • EB-3 Visa or Third Priority Workers Visa is another visa type catered for “skilled workers” who gained over 2 years of experience, professionals that possess a higher education degree than normal requirement and unskilled workers that have less than 2 years of experience (EW-3 Visa).
  • EB-4 Visa or Fourth Priority Workers Visa is for special immigrants working in different religious, government, or international organizations.
  • EB-5 Visa also called Fifth Priority Workers Visa is another visa type for venture capitalists who are willing to invest $500K to $1 million in the U.S.

Employment Sponsored Visas are only set to 140,000 visas annually and the total is allocated in the 5 visa types, thus processing may take time. Those who are interested in applying for Employment Sponsored Visas must take note that when the number of visas maxed out within the year, the remaining applications will be lined up for the succeeding years to come. U.S Visa applicants must observe the given priority dates to be able to pass immigration requests.

The next section will further discuss the details, requirements, procedures and other significant particulars of the EB-3 visa.

What is the EB-3 Visa?

The EB-3 Visa or also called as Third Priority Workers Visa is another visa type catered to 3 types of workers that can have an opportunity to work and reside in the U.S permanently. These workers are:

  • “Skilled workers” with a minimum of 2 years of training or work experience
  • Professionals that possess an equivalent or a higher educational degree than the normal requirement for the job
  • Unskilled workers with a minimum of 2 years of training or work experience

If you belong to any of the following groups mentioned above, you can have the opportunity to apply for an EB-3 visa. Having an EB-3 visa will give you the following benefits such as, having a permanent residency in the U.S, work without getting an Employment Authorization Document (EAD), acquire a Green Card, travel in and outside the U.S and be able to apply for jobs from different states after a few years.

The issuance of Employment Sponsored Visas is only limited to 140,000 visas annually. Only 28.6% of 140,000 visas are allocated for the EB-3 visa. That is approximately 40,040 EB-3 visas per year, which requires more waiting/processing time once the limit is reached.

Issuing EB-3 visas can be helpful to U.S employers. When employers find it hard to hire people that specialize in certain jobs, they can hire workers from overseas given that they can’t find similar/equivalent workers in the U.S.

What Are the Requirements for the EB-3 Visa?

To apply for an EB-3 visa, the foreign worker must comply with the following requirements:

  • Proof of a valid and permanent job offer given by a U.S employer
  • A proof that the foreign worker is qualified to do the job and has met educational and work experience requirements

As a U.S employer who is eager to hire and sponsor a foreign worker/employee for an EB-3 immigration visa, the following requirements are needed:

  • Evidence stating that hiring a foreign worker is needed since there is no U.S worker who is available, competent  or willing to do the job
  • Evidence that the U.S employer’s business is financially stable and be able to sustain and employ/sponsor a  foreign worker

How to Apply for the EB-3 Visa?

In applying for an EB-3 visa, both employer and the foreign employee must undergo a number of procedures. The EB-3 visa application is divided into two parts:

  • Necessary files such as petition and labor certification are needed to be processed by the U.S employer
  • Once approved, the foreign employee then proceeds to apply for an EW-3 visa at their home country’s U.S Embassy

Application Procedures From U.S Employer

Acquiring a Labor Certification

Obtaining labor certification is the first requirement for a U.S employer to be able to hire an employee from another country and this can be accomplished by filing the ETA Form 9089 to the DOL. In this case, the U.S employer declares upon form completion that they have attempted in hiring an employee in the U.S. but could not fill the position and will be paying the foreign worker with the prevalent wage. Furthermore, the employer must also state that there will be no discrimination towards the foreign employee. The U.S workers and foreign workers will have equal rights and salaries, given that they are both in the same type of job.

The DOL will process the form and will notify the employer and employee about their decision. Assuming that the certification is approved, the U.S employer can proceed to the next step, but if it gets denied, the foreign worker is not permitted to obtain an EB-3 visa.

Filing the Petition

After getting the labor certificate, a petition to the U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is also needed for the final approval of hiring a foreign worker. The U.S employer must file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker to the USCIS. The employer must verify with USCIS that the company is financially stable with financial statements, audits, and tax returns as supporting documents.

USCIS will process the petition and inform the employer about their decision. Assuming that the petition is approved, the matter will be brought to the National Visa Center (NVC), but if it gets denied, the U.S company is not allowed to employ a foreign worker.

When the approved petition reaches the NVC, a case number and invoice ID number are given. The case number and invoice ID number will be bundled with instructions and information on how to apply and will be mailed to the foreign employee’s home country. However, there is a limited number of EB-3 visa applications, the NVC will only dispatch the applicant’s documents when the priority date becomes current.

Application Procedures From Foreign Worker

File Form DS-261, Choice of Address and Agent

Completion of an online form (DS-261 form) serves as the foreign worker’s application for the EB-3 visa. Then, the U.S Embassy or Consulate of their home country will process the form. Once the application is successfully submitted, the applicant must get a copy of the confirmation page. This will be required by the NVC upon submitting your supporting documents.

Complete Medical Examination and Vaccination

The applicant is required to get medical examinations and vaccinations that are indicated in the NVC package. These documents are then required to be signed by a licensed doctor. The foreign worker must meet the U.S health requirements, if you lack vaccinations then you must have them.

Compile the Supporting Documents File

The following supporting documents listed below are required to be submitted after the NVC approves the Form DS-261.

  • A passport with validity of more than 6 months after planned flight to the U.S.
  • The employment offer from your U.S employer
  • An approved labor certification
  • An approved petition
  • The confirmation page of your Form DS-261
  • Medical and vaccine documents signed by the doctor
  • 2 photographs that conform with Photo Requirements
  • Diplomas and certificates to prove academic achievements
  • A copy of your resume or CV
  • Criminal and court records
  • Additional supporting documents may be required by the NVC depending on your situation

Attend the Visa Interview

After the NVC checks on your application and supporting documents, an interview will be scheduled at the U.S Embassy where you sent your application. In the interview, be clear and distinct in answering the questions about your background. In the end, the interviewer will carry out the final verdict if you will likely obtain an EB-3 visa or not.

Receive the NVC Package and Travel to the U.S

Once your application for EB-3 visa is approved, a package from NVC will be sent to you. This package must only be opened when you reach the U.S. You have to present this to the immigration officer at the U.S port of entry. The immigration officers are the only ones authorized to open the package and determine if you are granted access to the U.S or not.

What Are the EB-3 Visa Fees?

When applying for an EB-3 visa, you are accountable for paying certain fees. The DOL, USCIS and the U.S Embassy where you want to send your application will determine the cost. Here are the following fees that you have to pay:

  • DOL Labor Certification fee (employer)
  • The filing fee for USCIS Form I-140 petition (employer)
  • Processing fee for Form DS-261 (employee)
  • Medical examination fees (employee)
  • Fees incurred in getting support documents (employee)
  • Translation fees for interpreting the foreign language to English (employee)

How Long Is the EB-3 Visa Processing Time?

EB-3 visa processing might take a while, due to a limited number of employment-based visas allowed per year. If your application has been filled before the yearly limit has been reached, then your visa will be processed in a few months. But the allotted number of EB-3 visas are immediately filled up, that’s why applications may take from 1 to 3 or even 6 years to be processed.

Can I Bring My Spouse and Children to the U.S With an EB-3 Visa?

Yes. Once your EB-3 visa is approved and valid, you can include your spouse and children below 21 years old (single/unmarried) to accompany you in the U.S. They must apply for the following: The E-34 visa if your spouse is a skilled and/or professional worker and the E-35 visa for your children.

If the spouse is an unskilled worker, he/she is qualified for an EW-4 visa and EW-5 visa for children. If they get their visas, the spouse can get a job in the U.S by securing an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).