How to Use the EB-3 Visa for Unskilled Workers | Passage Law

Faraz Shaikh

The EB-3 visa is a valuable option for foreign nationals seeking employment in the United States. This visa category is divided into three subcategories: professionals, skilled workers, and unskilled workers (“other workers”). This article focuses on the EB-3 visa for unskilled workers.

What is the EB-3 Visa?

The EB-3 visa is an employment-based visa that allows U.S. businesses to support international employees seeking permanent residency. The EB-3 visa for unskilled workers is specifically designed for those performing jobs requiring less than two years of training or experience.

Eligibility Criteria for the EB-3 Visa for Unskilled Workers

To qualify for the EB-3 unskilled visa, applicants must meet specific requirements:

  • Job Offer: Candidates must possess an acceptable employment offer from a U.S.
  • Labor Certification: To explain that there are no eligible U.S. workers, the employer must get a labor certification from the Department of Labor.
  • Form I-140: An employer who wishes to petition for an alien worker must file Form I-140.

EB-3 Visa Application Process

The application process for the EB-3 unskilled worker visa involves several steps:

EB-3 Visa Application Process

Step 1: Job Offer and Recruitment

The process begins with the U.S. employer extending a job offer to the foreign worker. The employer must ensure the position is listed on the EB3 unskilled jobs list. Recruitment efforts must comply with Department of Labor (DOL) regulations to prove there are no qualified U.S. workers available for the job.

Step 2: Labor Certification (ETA 9089)

The employer must file for labor certification using ETA Form 9089. This step is important in explaining that the employer has made noticeable efforts to recruit U.S. workers for the post and that hiring a foreign employee won’t hurt the pay and working conditions of American workers with comparable jobs. The labor certification processing time for EB-3 can vary, often taking several months.

Step 3: Filing Form I-140

The employer files Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) after the labor certification is authorized. This form establishes the foreign worker’s qualifications and the employer’s intent to hire them. The I-140 processing time for EB-3 can also vary, but usually takes several months to a year.

Step 4: Visa Application or Adjustment of Status

Visa Application or Adjustment of Status in EB-3

After the I-140 petition is approved, the foreign worker must either apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate (if outside the U.S.) or adjust their status to a lawful permanent resident (if already in the U.S.). This step involves submitting Form DS-260 (Immigrant Visa Application) or Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status).

Additional Considerations for EB-3 Visa Applicants

EB-3 Visa Cost

The cost of obtaining an EB-3 visa includes several components:

  • Filing fees for labor certification
  • Filing fees for Form I-140
  • Consular processing or adjustment of status fees
  • Additional costs such as medical examinations, travel expenses, and attorney fees

Processing Times

Processing Times in EB-3

The overall EB-3 processing time can vary greatly based on factors such as the applicant’s country of origin and the demand for visas in the specific category. Generally, applicants should be prepared for a process that may take several years from start to finish.

Premium Processing


In some cases, employers can opt for EB-3 premium processing, which speeds up the processing of the I-140 petition. Premium processing guarantees a response from USCIS within 15 calendar days for an additional fee.

EB-3 Visa Requirements and Eligibility

Basic Requirements

To qualify for the EB-3 unskilled worker visa, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Possess a formal job offer from a US employer.
  • The job must be listed on the EB3 visa jobs list
  • The DOL must provide a labor certification to the employer
  • The employer must file Form I-140 on behalf of the worker

Employer Requirements

U.S. employers must show their ability to pay the offered wage and prove that hiring the foreign worker will not negatively impact the job market for U.S. workers. This often involves a detailed recruitment process and documentation of efforts to hire U.S. workers.

Common EB-3 Visa Jobs and Employers

EB-3 Job Openings

Jobs commonly filled by EB-3 unskilled workers include positions in industries such as hospitality, construction, agriculture, and manufacturing. Examples of EB-3 visa jobs include:

  • Housekeepers
  • Janitors
  • Farmworkers
  • Construction laborers
  • Factory workers

Employers and Sponsorship

Employers and Sponsorship in EB-3 Visa

Several U.S. companies actively sponsor EB-3 visas for unskilled workers. These EB-3 sponsoring companies often work with EB-3 recruitment agencies to identify and hire qualified foreign workers. Applicants need to research potential employers and ensure they meet all sponsorship requirements.

Transitioning from EB-3 Visa to Green Card

Green Card Process

The EB-3 visa is a direct pathway to obtaining a green card. After living and working in the U.S. on an EB-3 visa, workers can apply for permanent residency. This process involves:

  1.     Filing Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status)
  2.     Undergoing a medical examination
  3.     Attending an interview (if required)

Timeline and Waiting Periods

The green card process EB-3 processing time varies based on individual circumstances and USCIS backlogs. Generally, the wait time can range from a few months to several years. The EB-3 visa wait time is influenced by factors such as the applicant’s country of origin and the priority date assigned during the labor certification process.

Key Differences: EB-3 vs. Other Visa Categories

EB-3 vs. H-1B

The EB-3 visa differs from the H-1B visa in several ways:

  • EB-3 visa is for permanent residency, while H-1B is a temporary work visa.
  • EB-3 visa requires labor certification, whereas H-1B does not.
  • H-1B visas have an annual cap, while EB-3 visas are subject to annual limits based on employment-based visa preferences.

EB-3 vs. EB-2

The EB-3 visa is for unskilled, skilled, and professional workers, while the EB-2 visa is for advanced degree professionals and individuals with exceptional ability. The EB-3 processing steps include labor certification and filing Form I-140, similar to the EB-2 process, but the eligibility criteria differ.

Conclusion and Next Steps

How to Use the EB-3 Visa for Unskilled Workers

Understanding the EB-3 visa process can be complex, but with the right guidance, it offers an easy pathway to permanent residency in the United States. Understanding the EB-3 requirements, processing times, and associated costs is important for a successful application.

Call to Action

Are you ready to start your journey toward permanent residency in the United States? Let Passage Immigration Law assist you in obtaining your EB-3 unskilled worker visa. Consult us today for a consultation and take the first step towards your American dream.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the EB-3 Visa?

The EB-3 visa is a permanent work visa for skilled, professional, and unskilled workers.

How to Find an EB-3 Sponsor?

Finding a sponsor involves searching for employers with EB-3 job openings and EB-3 recruitment agencies.

Can an F1 Student Apply for an EB-3 Visa?

Yes, F1 students can apply if they have a qualifying job offer and meet all requirements.

How Long Does an EB3 Green Card Take?

The EB3 processing time varies, usually taking several years, including labor certification processing time EB-3 and I-140 processing.

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