EB-2 & EB-3: Employer-Sponsored Green Card
EB-2 visas are for individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business (including athletics).
EB-3 visas are for either:
- Individuals who qualify for permanent employment in positions requiring professionals who possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in a field directly related to the prospective employment; or
- Skilled workers who possess at least two years of employment experience or related training.
This option typically requires the applicant to have college degrees in addition to their other skills and accomplishments. The degree is typically at the master’s level from a U.S. university or foreign equivalent. The petition must include official academic record showing receipt of the degree, as well as letters from employers showing experience in the field.
The EB-2 process can be advantageous over the EB-3 because a limited number of people qualify, which is helpful during the labor certification process. Both EB-2 and EB-3 petitions require the position to be advertised to the public before hiring the foreign worker.
The adjudicating officer will use a 7-point regulatory qualification system to determine eligibility for the visa:
- Official academic record proving successful completion of degree from a college, university, or other institution of learning related to the applicant’s chosen field;
- Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in the applicant’s chosen profession;
- A license or certification to practice the chosen profession;
- Evidence of a salary demonstrating exceptional ability;
- Membership in a professional association;
- Recognition from government entities or professional organizations for contributions made to the applicant’s chosen field; and
- Other evidence of eligibility.
A relatively broad range of workers can qualify as EB-3 employees, including:
- Professionals (with a degree, which is required for the job)
- Skilled workers (with at least 2 years of job experience or related training/education)
- Unskilled/other workers (with less than two years’ experience)
For each of these categories, the employer must demonstrate that qualified and willing workers are not already available in the United States. The employer will also have to demonstrate that they have the financial ability to support the applicant.
Labor Certification Process
The most difficult part of either the EB-2 or EB-3 process is the labor certification, which must be performed with special care and attention. The purpose of this process is to prove that the employer cannot find available, qualified, and willing U.S. workers for the position. Adjusting qualifications for the position is where there is room for an attorney to help the EB-2 or EB-3 be successful. The job description and requirements must be tailored to match the skills and experience of your target employee.
The labor certification process is facilitated through the U.S. Department of Labor. The U.S employer must prove that they will not discriminate against the foreign worker by promising to pay the prevailing wage. This process takes about 6 months to adjudicate, and the EB-2 or EB-3 process cannot continue until the certification is approved.
Government Fees and Application Timing
For EB-1, EB-2, and EB-3 visas, the government fees are $700 for the I-140 and $1,225 for the I-485 Adjustment of Status. The PERM labor certification does not have government fees.