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EB-3 Green Card FAQ

EB3 Green Card > EB-3 Green Card FAQ

Employment-based green cards serve as the foundation for employment immigration. A significant number of individuals who apply for popular nonimmigrant visas, such as the H-1B, eventually seek permanent residency. Among the favored choices is the EB-3 green card, known for its less stringent criteria. However, the immigration process itself is intricate, leading to numerous inquiries about the functioning of the EB-3 program. Explore common questions about this particular green card in our comprehensive EB-3 FAQ section.

Table of Contents

Can I Utilize Premium Processing for My EB-3 Application?

Yes, in most cases, you have the option to expedite the processing time of your EB-3 petition through premium processing. This service allows you to shorten the processing time to just 15 calendar days by submitting the I-907 form and paying a fee of $2,500.

However, it’s important to note that even if your petition is approved within 15 days, it doesn’t mean you will immediately receive your green card. You still need to wait for your priority date to become current. Consult with your immigration attorney to determine if premium processing is suitable for your specific circumstances.

How Can I File for Premium Processing?

To request premium processing, you must complete Form I-907, the Request for Premium Processing Service. Discussing this process with your attorney is advisable, as you can either file Form I-907 along with your I-140 or submit the premium processing request separately if you have already filed the I-140 and it is currently pending at the service center.

What Is The Fee For The EB-3 Application?

The EB-3 application entails several costs that should be considered. The first mandatory fee is the I-140 filing fee, which amounts to $700. The employer must pay this fee each time the I-140 is filed, including for green card “porting,” and the beneficiary is not permitted to cover this cost.

Once your I-140 is approved, you can adjust your status or utilize premium processing. If you choose adjustment of status, you will need to submit an I-485 form to the USCIS along with a filing fee, which varies based on your age. Here is the fee schedule:

  • For applicants under the age of 14 filing with a parent, the fee is $750.
  • For applicants under the age of 14 not filing with a parent, the fee is $1,140.
  • For applicants between the ages of 14 and 78, the fee is $1,225 (including an $85 biometric service fee).
  • For applicants over the age of 78, the fee is $1,140.

If you opt for consular processing, you will need to complete the DS-260 online immigrant visa application and pay a fee of $325. Additionally, there is an affidavit of support fee of $120, bringing the total to $445. Before attending your EB-3 interview at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy, these fees must be paid. It’s also important to factor in additional expenses such as travel fees, attorney fees, or the optional premium processing fee of $2,500.

What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of an EB-3 Green Card?


  1. Lawful Permanent Residence:
    All green cards, including the EB-3, grant the holder lawful permanent residence, allowing them to live and work in the U.S. with few restrictions (excluding certain federal jobs that require security clearance).
  2. Ten-Year Validity:
    Green cards are typically valid for ten years (except for EB-5 and marriage-based green cards), after which they can be renewed by paying the renewal fee. Renewal does not require requalification, only proof of good conduct and continuous residence in the U.S.
  3. Lower Qualification Requirements:
    The EB-3 has the least stringent qualifications among employment-based green cards. Having a non-seasonal job is usually sufficient to qualify under the “other workers” category, making it accessible to many workers.



  1. Longer Waiting Period:
    The EB-3 category often entails a longer waiting period compared to other employment-based green cards. Qualifying for an EB-2 or EB-1 green card may offer a quicker path to permanent residence, particularly for individuals from heavily populated countries like China or India.
  2. PERM Labor Certification Requirement:
    The EB-3 requires a PERM Labor Certification as part of the I-140 filing process. This involves the employer posting the job and conducting a recruitment process to ensure no qualified U.S. workers are available for the position. PERM audits and supervised recruitment can introduce challenges and delays to the process.


Limited Alternatives to PERM:
Unlike the EB-1 and EB-2 categories, the EB-3 do not provide options to bypass the PERM requirement. The EB-1 does not require a PERM, and the EB-2 offers a National Interest Waiver as an alternative. In contrast, the EB-3 necessitates the completion of the PERM process.

What is the Distinction Between an EB-3 Visa and an EB-3 Green Card?

It is common for people to confuse the terms visa and green card, thinking that they represent different entities. In reality, a green card is a type of visa.

A U.S. visa serves as a means for immigrants to spend time in the United States.

Visas can be broadly categorized into two types: nonimmigrant visas and immigrant visas.

  • Nonimmigrant visas are temporary, and holders typically return to their home countries once the visa’s validity period expires. Examples of nonimmigrant visas include H-1B, L-1, O-1, and E-2 visas.
  • Immigrant visas, on the other hand, grant permanent residency. Holders are bestowed with lawful permanent residence in the U.S., allowing them to live and work with minimal restrictions for an indefinite period. These visas are commonly referred to as green cards, owing to the greenish color of the permanent resident cards.

Therefore, the EB-3 visa and the EB-3 green card are essentially the same since green cards are a specific type of visa.

What is the Distinction Between the EB-3 and the H-1B?

As discussed in the previous question, there are two main categories of visas: immigrant visas (green cards) and nonimmigrant visas. The EB-3 falls under the immigrant visa category, granting permanent residency to its holders. On the other hand, the H-1B is a nonimmigrant visa that allows individuals to temporarily work in the U.S. The maximum duration of stay on an H-1B visa is typically six years.

Moreover, there are variations in the requirements for the EB-3 and H-1B visas. To be eligible for an EB-3, you need either a job offer and a bachelor’s degree or a full-time non-seasonal job offer. For the H-1B, you must possess at least a bachelor’s degree and have a job offer for a position that necessitates your degree.

Another distinction lies in the H-1B visa’s popularity, resulting in the USCIS conducting a lottery to randomly select petitions for processing due to the overwhelming number of applications each year. Hence, your H-1B petition must be randomly selected and subsequently approved to obtain the visa. The EB-3, however, is not subject to such a lottery system.

Nevertheless, there is an annual limit on the number of EB-3 green cards issued. Rather than a randomized lottery, the Department of State assigns a priority date. Before proceeding with your application, you must wait until your priority date aligns with the dates provided in the monthly visa bulletin.

In practice, many individuals utilize the H-1B as a stepping stone toward obtaining an EB-3. They may initially seek employment and work temporarily under the H-1B visa before transitioning to immigrant status by adjusting their status to EB-3.

Can I get an EB-3 with a master’s degree?

Yes, you can. You would meet the qualification for the EB-3 under the bachelor’s degree requirement. However, it’s worth noting that having an advanced degree, such as a master’s or higher, is one of the qualifications for the EB-2 category. Therefore, you may also consider applying for an EB-2 separately or concurrently with an EB-3.

Can I get an EB-3 without any degree?

Yes, you can. The EB-3 category accommodates three types of individuals:

  1. Those with at least a bachelor’s degree.
  2. Those with a minimum of 2 years of job experience.
  3. Those with less than 2 years of experience but hold non-seasonal jobs.

If you fall into the last two categories, you can still qualify for an EB-3 even without a degree.

Can I Obtain an EB-3 Without Any Experience?

Yes, as mentioned earlier, the third category within the EB-3 is designed for individuals with less than 2 years of experience. However, it’s important to note that this places you in a different category with distinct dates in the visa bulletin. Additionally, having your I-140 petition approved with limited or no experience may be more challenging than having some experience.

Can I Obtain an EB-3 Without an H-1B Visa?

Yes, you can. While the H-1B visa is a common pathway to obtain an EB-3, it is not the only option. Other nonimmigrant visas, such as the O-1, L-1, and E visas, are considered “dual intent” visas. Although if you qualify for any of these visas, you may be better suited for an EB-1 or EB-2 green card, it does not exclude you from pursuing an EB-3.

Alternatively, you can obtain an EB-3 without first obtaining a nonimmigrant visa. Through consular processing, which involves attending a one-on-one interview with a consular officer at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your home country; you can enter the U.S. as a lawful permanent resident without needing to adjust your status.

Can I File For an EB-2 And an EB-3 Simultaneously?

Yes, you can. There are no restrictions on filing for multiple green cards concurrently. You can even file for the same green card through different employers. By doing so, if one petition is denied, you still have the opportunity with the other. In the event that both petitions are approved, you can simply choose which one to proceed with.

How can I check my EB-3 priority date?

To check your EB-3 priority date, refer to the notice of receipt (I-797) you received from the USCIS. Your priority date is specified on this document and remains unchanged. The priority date determines your position in line to receive an immigrant visa. You can track the availability of immigrant visa numbers through the Final Action Date chart provided in the Visa Bulletin.

The Final Action Dates are determined based on the category of the green card and the charge ability area, which refers to your country of origin. These dates are subject to constant change depending on the number of petitions received from each charge ability area.

If green cards are still available, the final action date is likely to move closer to your priority date. However, if green cards are unavailable, there will be no movement in the final action date. In some cases, the date may retrogress or move backward from your priority date if the numerical limit has been reached. To check the final action dates applicable to your category, consult the latest visa bulletin and compare it to your priority date.

How Long Does the EB-3 Process Take?

The EB-3 process involves several steps that can vary in duration:

Step 1

PERM Labor Certification

The PERM requires a minimum 60-day recruitment process. Following that, the Department of Labor takes an average of six to nine months to process the form. Additional delays of nine months to a year and a half may occur if your employer undergoes an audit or supervised recruitment.


Step 2

Filing the I-140

After obtaining the PERM, your employer will file the I-140 with the USCIS. Processing times for the I-140 average around six months, depending on the workload at the service center. Premium processing is available, which reduces the processing time to 15 calendar days.


Step 3

Priority Date Waiting Period

You must wait until your priority date becomes current. This waiting period significantly impacts the overall processing time, as priority dates vary across countries. Some countries may have current priority dates, while others may require several years of waiting.


Step 4

Consular Processing or Adjustment of Status

Once your priority date is current, you can proceed with either consular processing or adjustment of status. Filing the I-485 for adjustment of status takes approximately six months to process, but it is not eligible for premium processing. Consular processing timelines can range from a few weeks to several months, depending on the workload at the U.S. Consulate or Embassy in your home country.


Overall, the shortest waiting time for the EB-3 process could be around one year, while the longest waiting time could extend beyond a decade. The duration depends on your individual circumstances and factors such as the priority date and country of charge ability.

Why is the EB-3 Faster than the EB-2?

As discussed previously, the processing time of EB-3 is influenced by the priority date. Understanding the reason behind priority dates can shed light on the relative speed of EB-3 compared to EB-2. Each green card category has an annual limit the Department of State sets.

Instead of conducting a random lottery for oversubscribed visas, as done for the H-1B, the Department of State processes petitions in the order they are received. Consequently, the more individuals petitioned for a specific green card category, the longer it took to process each petition.

The final action dates are also divided based on the petitioner’s country of origin. Countries with a high number of annual petitioners receive separate consideration, while the remaining countries are grouped together in a general category. Therefore, if your country has a substantial number of EB-3 petitioners, you will likely experience a longer waiting period than individuals from countries with fewer EB-3 petitioners. For instance, due to the significant number of EB-3 petitioners from India, an individual from that country must wait for all preceding petitions from India to be processed before their priority date becomes current.

When the number of petitions exceeds the available visas for a country in a given year, the final action date retrogresses or moves backward. If the annual limit is reached, no movement will occur on the final action date. Conversely, if the number of petitions is below the limit, the final action date will progress.

Therefore, if more individuals from your country apply for the EB-2 category compared to the EB-3 category, the EB-3 processing may be relatively faster due to the difference in demand.

Will The EB-3 Ever Become Current for India?

Technically, yes. Given sufficient time, your EB-3 date will eventually become current. However, due to the high number of annual petitions from Indian citizens (often exceeding the annual limit), the movement of the final action date for India is consistently slowed, halted, or even retrogressed.

Can an EB-3 be Converted to an EB-2?

A common question we receive is whether an EB-3 can be converted to an EB-2. This query is often posed by individuals whose priority dates are not expected to become current for several years and who are seeking a faster path to obtaining their green card. Transitioning from EB-3 to EB-2, known as “porting,” is not as straightforward as it may sound.

To port to EB-2, you must first meet the qualifications for an EB-2 category. This may include demonstrating extraordinary ability in your field, holding an advanced degree, or having your work qualify for a national interest waiver. Once you meet the EB-2 qualifications, you must find an employer who will sponsor you and offer a job that requires your new EB-2 qualifications (such as a position requiring a master’s degree). This employer can be your current or new one—what matters is securing a new job opportunity.

Subsequently, the employer sponsoring your EB-2 petition must obtain a new PERM Labor Certification, even with the same employer. Additionally, your employer must file a new I-140 petition for the EB-2 category.

This process may appear more like starting anew rather than straightforward porting, and that perception is not entirely inaccurate. The only advantage is the ability to retain your priority date from your previous EB-3 petition. Retaining the priority date means you do not have to start the waiting process anew; you can continue from where your EB-3 left off with your EB-2 petition. If the final action date for EB-2 is current, you can progress as soon as your new petition is approved.

What If My EB-3 To EB-2 Porting is Denied?

If your attempt to “port” from EB-3 to EB-2 is denied, the denial notice will indicate whether you can appeal the decision or file legal motions to reopen or reconsider your case. The option to reopen a case is available when you have new evidence to present, while reconsideration is applicable when you can argue that the evaluating officer was incorrect in denying your application from a legal standpoint.

Fortunately, if your EB-2 porting attempt is denied, you still have your EB-3 petition to rely on as a fallback option.

Can an EB-3 be Converted to an EB-1?

Yes, it is technically possible to petition for an EB-1 and retain your EB-3 priority date by utilizing the same “porting” strategy mentioned earlier. However, it’s important to note that the EB-1 is a highly prestigious green card category, and only a select few individuals qualify for it. Consult with your immigration attorney to determine if this pathway is viable for you.

How does USCIS Determine the Same or Similar Classification?

When assessing whether two jobs are sufficiently similar to meet the porting classification, USCIS considers several factors, including:

  • DOL SOC system
  • Job responsibilities associated with each position
  • Education, skills, licenses, and certifications required for each job
  • SOC code from Form I-140, Form 9089 (if applicable), and the SOC code of the new position
  • Wages associated with each job
  • Other supporting evidence submitted

How Can I Go From an EB-3 to Citizenship?

One of the primary motivations for obtaining an EB-3 is to eventually pursue U.S. citizenship. Citizenship provides numerous advantages that are not available to green card holders, such as protection from deportation, enhanced family sponsorship preferences for green cards, and access to federal jobs requiring security clearances.

The path from EB-3 to Citizenship follows the same process as any other green card category. Individuals become citizens through a procedure known as naturalization. To proceed, you must ensure that you meet the following requirements:

  • You are at least 18 years old.
  • You meet one of the following criteria:
    • You have held an EB-3 green card for at least five years.
    • You have been married to a U.S. citizen for at least 3 years.
    • You are currently serving in the United States military.

Next, you need to submit an N-400 citizenship application form to USCIS. The application should include a copy of your EB-3 green card, passport-sized photos, and the N-400 processing fee of $725. However, specific documentation and fees may vary depending on your individual case, so it is essential to consult with your immigration attorney for guidance.

Additionally, you must demonstrate good moral character, encompassing various aspects ranging from criminal history to marital fidelity. You should also be able to read and write Basic English, have a fundamental understanding of the U.S. Constitution, history, and government, and have maintained continuous residence in the U.S. for the required period (i.e., 5 years or 3 years).

Is There an EB-3 Adjustment of the Status Interview?

Possibly. When filing an I-485 to adjust their status to a green card, including the EB-3 category, it is common for individuals to be called in for an interview. However, if you are well-prepared and your case is genuine, there is no need to worry about the interview. The evaluating officer will ask questions based on your I-485 and I-140 to verify your identity, such as details about your employer, address, and date of birth.

If changes in your circumstances make you ineligible, such as engaging in criminal activity or losing your sponsoring employer, your application may be denied. It is crucial not to resort to dishonesty during the interview. While an application can be resubmitted, attempting to fraudulently immigrate could result in a long-term or permanent ban on re-entry to the U.S.

How VisaNation Law Group Can Help

We have addressed several common questions about the EB-3, but you need more information to make an informed decision about your immigration journey. To have all your questions answered and avoid common pitfalls associated with obtaining any green card, it is advisable to consult with an immigration attorney.

VisaNation Law Group boasts a dedicated team of EB-3 attorneys specializing in employment immigration. They have assisted numerous workers, like you, in obtaining permanent residence in the U.S. through the EB-3 category. From gathering evidence and filing the petition to overcoming obstacles such as Requests for Evidence, they will guide you through the entire process, ensuring your case is handled comprehensively from beginning to end.