EB2 and EB3 Visas – Employment Based Visa

What is an EB visa

EB2 and EB3 are both employment-based (“EB”) immigrant visas for skilled professionals & academics. The number of visas available under these “high-priority” categories is currently “exceptionally high” according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Here’s a detailed overview of EB2 & EB3 visas.

EB2 vs EB3 Visas 

EB2 Visa: This visa is for applicants who have “exceptional ability” in their respective professions or studies. Experienced professionals and holders of advanced degrees in sciences, medicine, business, arts, and other subjects fall in the EB2 category. They qualify for green card EB2. It is also known as Advanced Degree Permanent Residence Card.

EB3 VisaEB-3 visa applicants have to launch employment-based petitions to qualify. People who are qualified to apply for EB-3 green card are defined as “unskilled workers” by the USCIS. They’re experienced professionals in jobs that require less than 2 years to become proficient. Don’t mix up EB3 vs H1B as they’re completely different.

EB-2 and EB-3 Differences and Similarities

Although EB2 & EB3 visas are both employment-based green cards that lead to permanent resident status in the US – they’re totally different. EB2 jobsEB2 processes, and EB-2 green card processes are all totally different from their EB3 counterparts.

EB-2 Visa

EB-2 Green Card Process

The EB-2 visa is a more desirable route to permanent residency. The approval time is much shorter, compared to EB 3 visa. But, EB-3 visa applicants are also held to higher standards and scrutinized more closely by the USCIS.

EB2 Visa Eligibility Criteria

Here are the requirements for EB2 Green Card applicants

  • Advanced Degree: A master’s degree or something equivalent, like a bachelor’s degree with 5+ years of work experience.
  • Valid Job Offer: The applicant must have a valid job offer in the field in which they have an advanced degree. The offer should be from a US company that is willing to sponsor the applicant.
  • Exceptional Ability: The applicant must have “exceptional ability” as per the USCIS’s standards.

Applicants can demonstrate their abilities in sciences, arts, business, medicine, etc., by –

  • Showing academic records, certifications, and licenses
  • Letters documenting recognition in the field from industry experts, previous employers, professional association membership groups, etc.
  • Salary slips suggestive of exceptional ability.

National Interest Waiver (NIW):  How to get a green card E2B if you don’t have an official US-based employer as a sponsor? You’ll have to obtain an NIW.

  • To do that, you’ll have to prove that you’re engaged in work that serves US “national interests.”
  • To be eligible for NIWs, applicants must qualify for the EB2 categoryby demonstrating exceptional ability in a specific field.
  • They must benefit any aspect of the United States economy or society – be it health, science, or the education system.

Compared to other employment-based green card options, NIW presents several advantages. But, qualifying for NIWs is very difficult. Only experienced immigration attorneys can help applicants cross the barriers set by the USCIS.

EB-2 Labor Certification Process

To qualify for this EB2 process, applicants must have employers sponsoring them by offering them permanent jobs. Employers must also “test” the labor market to assess whether there are any qualified US-born workers qualified for the job in question.

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) oversees this process which is called “PERM Labor Certification.” Employers have to undergo lengthy and expensive steps such as advertising the job, ensuring the application process is USCIS-compliant, etc.

If the government agency reviewing the case conclude that there are no qualified US-born workers for the position – they accept it. NIW applicants are exceptions to these requirements.

Families of EB2 Visa Holders

An EB2 Visa holder’s partner may get admitted through the E-21 visa. His/her minor children may get admitted via the E-22 visa. This process of family members applying for permanent residency takes time. During this time, partners of EB2 green card holders can apply for Employment Authorization Documents (EADs) to work in the US.

EB3 Visa

The EB3 visa is a route to permanent residency in the US for skilled and unskilled workers. The EB3 visa process is simple. US companies can sponsor foreign workers for green cards through full-time job offers. These companies have to undergo the “PERM Labor Certification” process with the DOL as well.

Currently, 28.6% of all green cards made available in the US to foreign workers are assigned towards the EB3 visa. That’s 40,000+ EB3 visas given out every year. To qualify for US EB-3 visas, applicants have to meet way fewer requirements (compared to EB2 visas). But, this also means that a lot of people apply for EB3 visas and the wait list for approval is usually very long.

How long do EB 3 visa applicants have to wait? They receive their official “priority date” when they submit their Form I-140 immigrant petitions. Once the USCIS posts an applicant’s priority date in its monthly Visa Bulletin, he/she can adjust their Temporary or Non-Immigrant Visas to Green cards or Permanent Residency Visas.

EB3 Visa Eligibility Criteria

Here are the EB3 Visa Eligibility Criteria for Skilled Workers –

  • 2 years of job experience and training
  • S. baccalaureate degree (or a degree that’s equivalent in the applicant’s native country)
  • Full-time EB-3 job offer
  • The job in question must pass the PERM Labor Certification process
  • Necessary labor certifications

Unskilled Workers must be physically/mentally capable when they file their visa petitions. They must have 2+ years of training or experience in whatever unskilled labor they aim to perform in the US.

EB-3 Labor Certification Process

In addition to the PERM Labor Certification process, the applicant must also obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination. The employer/s in question have to prove to the USCIS and the DOL that they’re not hiring foreigners just to cut expenses. Employers must collect all documents and records detailing their companies’ recruitment processes.

This part of the EB3 visa application process is the most complex. Only experienced immigration lawyers can help employers and visa applicants go through this strenuous process. That’s where specialist immigration attorneys from Zavala Texas Law can help.

EB3 Visa Application Process

The employer has to file I-140 forms with the USCIS. If they meet all the requirements, the EB3 visa application goes through.

Families of EB3 Visa Holders

Partners of EB3 Visa holders can be admitted into the US via EW4 (“other worker”) or E34 (“skilled worker”) visas. Children of EB3 Visa holders can be admitted through EW5 (“other worker”) or E35 (“skilled worker”) visas. Partners are allowed to apply for Employment Authorization Documents (EAD).

The Expert Immigration Assistance You Need

The USA skilled worker immigration landscape is ever-changing, confusing, but full of opportunities. Employers and applicants naturally have many confusions about this process. What’s the green card process for EB-2 applicants? What are the differences between EB3 VS H1BWhat’s the minimum salary for EB2 green cards? There are many confusing questions to answer.

Don’t worry – with Zavala Texas Law, you’ll get the best legal counsel on all types of immigration processes. From defending people facing removal proceedings to overseeing EB3 & EB2 processes – our attorneys do it all. Need immigration attorneys in Houston with high approval rate? Contact Zavala Texas Law now.


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