How to Apply for an EB-3 Employment-Based Visa

Since the late 19th century, migration from the Philippines to the US has steadily increased, representing the fourth-largest origin group after the foreign born from Mexico, India, and China in the last quarter of 2019. Some came to study, but most of them came for work, mostly in farms along the West Coast and in Hawaii.

There are a lot of Filipino skilled workers, experienced professionals, and “other” non-skilled workers looking to work in the US, and would be interested in the Employment-Based visa, third preference (EB-3) immigrant visa category, so here’s a complete guide to help you secure that elusive EB-3 visa.

Photo credit: Gustavo Fring

What is an EB-3 Visa?

The EB-3 is an immigrant visa for a US permanent residency. It stands for Employment-Based visa, third preference, and is intended for skilled workers, professionals, and other non-skilled workers.

Who can apply for an EB-3 Visa?

The EB-3 visa is an immigrant visa preference category limited to the following workers:

  • Skilled workers. These are people whose jobs require at least two years training or experience, that are neither temporary nor seasonal in nature. These workers need to have ample educational, training, or experience requirements for the job, though relevant post-secondary education may be considered as training.
  • Professionals. Workers with jobs that require a bachelor’s degree and are members of the professions.
  • Other workers. This sub-category is for unskilled laborers with less than 2 years of training, education, or experience, but are neither temporary nor seasonal workers.

How to apply for an EB-3 Visa?

An EB-3 visa is not something you can petition for yourself. Instead, the employer must fill out Form I-140 and go through the Labor Certification process on your behalf. They must also provide documents to prove the company’s financial stability. At the end of the process, the company will send these documents to the USCIS processing office. Once done, this is basically a spot in the green card waiting line.

After USCIS processes your application, you will need to arrange a one-on-one interview with a consular officer at your local U.S. embassy and fill out the DS-260 online application. If you are already in the US, then you will need Form I-485 Adjustment of Status instead.

How long does it take?

Priority date applications are available on the USCIS’s Monthly Visa Bulletin. As for the processing period, approval of the immigrant visa  can range from instant to several months. Others, however, have to wait for over 12 years for their green cards to come through due to extreme backlog.

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