What is An EB-3 Visa?
An EB-3 is an employment-based permanent residency visa category. This means that an approved applicant will get permanent residency, or green card, with this visa. As a third preference visa category, requirements may be less strict but time frames and associated backlogs can, therefore be more significant. An employer sponsor is required for this visa. There is no self-petition option for this visa category.
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The basic requirement for an EB-3A (Professionals) visa subcategory is that an individuals have, at least, a US bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree. Therefore, a foreigner with a higher degree such as a master’s degree would qualify for an EB-3. However, someone with an advanced degree may also qualify for an EB-2. Individuals with a master’s degree should review the EB-2 visa requirements in the event they qualify.
An EB-3 can be changed to an EB-2 but the process, known as porting, is complicated. First, an applicant must qualify for an EB-2 and find an employer to sponsor and offer a requisite job position. This can be the existing employer proffering a new position or a different employer altogether. This employer will have to obtain a completely new PERM Labor Certification and also file a new Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers for the EB-2. Although this essentially going through the entire EB-2 process from the beginning, an applicant can request to maintain their priority date from their previous EB-3 filing. If the EB-2 category is current, then the applicant can immediately move forward in the process. If, however, the attempt to transfer to an EB-2 is denied, the applicant can continue, or fall back on, their original EB-3 application.
Similar to transferring from an EB-3 to an EB-2, technically an EB-3 application can be converted to an EB-1. The process for transferring an EB-3 to an EB-1 follows the same process as outlined in the previous question. However, it is important to note that the requirements for an EB-1 are notably stringent and specialized. Successful conversion from an EB-3 to and EB-1 is relatively rare. However, if an applicant believes that they may qualify under EB-1 but already have an EB-3 application in process, they should consult an experienced attorney to assist in this type of possible transfer.
Once a foreign applicant has been approved for an eb-2 visa, the applicant’s spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 can also be petitioned for. The applicant’s spouse must apply for an E-21 visa and the children for an E-22 visa. Once the visas are approved, the spouse will be eligible for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to be able to work in the US.
Once an individual receives permanent residency -- otherwise known as a green card -- through an EB-3, then they become eligible for US citizenship in the same manner as any other US green card holder. Permanent residents can petition for their US citizenship provided they meet the following requirements:
- The individual is at least 18 years old; and
- The individual meets any of the following requirements:
- Be an EB-3 holder for at least 5 years,
- Be married to a US citizen for at least 3 years, and/or
- Be currently serving in the US military.
If these requirements are met, the applicant will then need to file form N-400, Application for Naturalization. A copy of the EB-3 green card, along with passport photos and applicable fees will also need to be submitted. Applicants will also need to have evidence to show good moral character. Applicants will also need to show basic abilities to read and write in English and have competency knowledge about US history, government, and the Constitution. The applicant must also have remained in the US continuously for a required amount of time. An experienced immigration attorney should be consulted when an individual becomes eligible to petition for their US citizenship.
As of November 2020, the Public Charge Final Rule is no longer applicable for filing Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. The Public Charge Final Rule is not being applied to any pending applications or petitions and will no longer be applied to new petitions. USCIS has reverted to requirements and affiliated processes in place prior to the February 2020 original implementation of the Public Charge Final Rule. As of March 2021, applicants will no longer have to submit Form I-944, Declaration of Self-Sufficiency, or associated evidence/ documentation with Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.