EB3 Processing Time in 2021: Explained Step-by-Step
The EB3 visa allows a U.S. company to sponsor a foreign worker for a green card. Through the EB3 visa, professionals, skilled workers, and unskilled workers can receive a U.S. green card based on a full-time job offer from a U.S. company.
In this guide, I’m going to discuss the EB3 processing time. If you have any questions, feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com.
As a general overview the EB3 processing time is anywhere from 1 to 3 years, but nationals of some countries may wait up to 10+ years.
- EB3 Visa Overview
- EB3 Visa Processing Time (Step-by-Step)
- PERM labor certification
- I-140 Immigrant Petition
- Immigrant Visa Processing / Adjustment of Status
1. EB3 Visa Overview
The EB3 visa is a powerful option for professionals, skilled workers, and unskilled workers hoping to get permanent residency in the United States. Through the EB3 visa, a U.S. company can sponsor a foreign worker for a green card through a full-time job offer.
In order to sponsor a foreign worker, the U.S. company must try to first hire a qualified U.S. worker. Only after the U.S. company has attempted and failed to recruit a qualified U.S. worker, can they sponsor a foreign worker. To learn more about the EB3 visa process, you may see our employer sponsored green card post here.
Of the total green cards available for foreign workers, 28.6% are allocated towards the EB3 visa. Therefore, approximately 40,000 EB3 visas are available per year. Additionally, no more than 7% of the total EB3 visas can go to nationals of any one country.
This means that there are usually more EB3 visa applicants than spots, which can lead to a backlog. As you will see below, this may impact the total EB3 processing time for you, depending on the country you are from.
2. EB3 Visa Process
There are 4 main parts to the EB3 visa process:
- Step 1: PERM Labor Certification
- Step2: I-140 Petition
- Step 3 Wait for Priority Date
- Step 4: Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status
I will explain each of these steps and the processing time of each step below. If you have any questions, my team and I would be happy to help you.
Step 1: PERM Labor Certification (About 10 Month Total Processing Time)
The first step in the EB3 visa process is for the U.S. employer to get an approved PERM labor certification. As I mentioned above, before a U.S. employer may sponsor a foreign worker, they must attempt to hire a qualified U.S. worker. It is only after they try and fail to hire a U.S. worker, that the U.S. employer can sponsor a foreign worker for a green card. Once the U.S. employer successfully goes through the PERM process, they receive a labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. Getting an approved labor certification is required for the employer to sponsor a foreign worker under the EB3 visa. This process usually takes about 10 months.
Step 2: Form I-140 Immigrant Petition (6 to 9 Month Standard Processing Time, 15 Day Premium Processing Available)
Once the PERM labor certification is approved by the Department of Labor, the next step is for the employer to submit a Form I-140 to USCIS. The Form I-140 is the immigrant petition and it is filed by the U.S. employer on behalf of the foreign worker. Once the form I-140 is filed, it usually takes 6-69 months to get a response from USCIS. The US employer can also elect to pay an additional $1,440 for premium processing, to receive a response in 15 days. If USCIS has any concerns about the petition, they may render a Request for Evidence (RFE). This can also slow down the processing time.
Step 3: Wait for Your Priority Date to Become Current (0 to 10+ Years)
When you submit your Form I-140 immigrant petition you will also receive a priority date. Your priority date will tell you when you can schedule your immigrant visa interview or apply for adjustment of status (next step). For some countries, there is no wait time and you can schedule a visa interview immediately. For other countries, particularly those born in China and India, this wait time can be much longer. You can look at the USCIS visa bulletin website by clicking here for more information about wait times. My team and I would also be happy to provide you with more information about your estimated wait time.
Step 4: Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status (About 9 Months)
Once the Form I-140 is approved and your priority date is current, the next step is to apply for the foreign worker to apply for an immigrant visa or apply for an adjustment of status.
Apply for Immigrant Visa
If you are outside of the United States, you will likely apply for an immigrant visa. This is done by filing a Form DS-260. A number of months after filing the DS-260 you will be required to attend a visa interview at the consulate or embassy of your home country. Following successful completion of the interview, you should receive your immigrant visa stamped into your passport. This whole process takes about 9 months.
Apply for Adjustment of Status
If you are lawfully present in the United States in a valid non-immigrant status, you may be eligible to do apply for an adjustment of status. An adjustment of status is the process of going from a non-immigrant status, to permanent resident status while in the United States. To apply for an adjustment of status the EB3 visa beneficiary (the foreign worker) must file a Form I-485 with USCIS. The adjustment of status process takes about 9 months to complete. One benefit of the adjustment of status is that the work authorization (EAD) and advance parole (travel permission) usually arrive within 6 months.
One of the benefits of an adjustment of status is that, if your priority date is current, you can concurrently file your form I-485 (adjustment of status) along with your Form I-140 (immigrant petition). Doing this can save you time on the overall EB3 processing time. If you’d like to know whether you’re eligible to do this, please email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com.
The EB3 visa is a great option for professionals, skilled workers, and unskilled workers hoping to get permanent residency in the United States. There are several steps in receiving an EB3 visa application.
- PERM labor certification: approximately 10 months (without audits)
- Form I-140 Petition: approximately 6-9 months (or 15 days with premium processing)
- Priority Date wait: approximately 0 to 10+ years
- Adjustment of Status or Visa Processing: about 9 months
Therefore, the EB3 processing time should take between 1 and 3 years for most EB3 visa applications to be processed. Yet, it can be longer for people of some countries.
If you have any questions about the EB3 processing time or about the EB3 visa in general, my team and I would be happy to help. Please feel free to email me directly at Michael@AshooriLaw.com. I am very responsive via email and would be happy to assist.
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Michael Ashoori, Esq.
U.S. Immigration Lawyer
I’m a U.S. immigration lawyer and I help families, professionals, investors, and entrepreneurs get visas, green cards, and citizenship to the United States.
Since starting my law firm, I’ve helped hundreds of people from all over the world with their immigration needs. I’m very passionate, hard-working, and committed to my clients.
Got a question? Send me an email.