Skilled Workers EB-3

When a foreign worker is offered a job in the U.S. not requiring advanced education, often times the best route to permanent residence is through an EB3 visa. Many argue that the U.S. needs to accept more immigrants such as those who qualify under the EB-3. A fact sheet issued by Americas Society noted that large numbers of employers struggle to hire for certain positions — such jobs might be staffed more easily with the admission of more EB3 workers.

Also known as a third preference employment-based visa, the EB3 is issued as part of the green card application process. This page was designed to outline some basic information about the EB3, which is given to immigrants who hold a baccalaureate degree as well as skilled and unskilled workers. Topics covered include:

  • EB-3 Basics
  • Labor Certification
  • Skilled Workers
  • Professionals
  • Unskilled Workers
  • Applying for an EB-3 Visa
  • Filing Fees
  • Can My Family Apply for an Immigrant Visa Too?
  • Do I need an Immigration Lawyer?

While certain legal concepts are discussed on this page, it is not intended as a substitute for speaking directly with a qualified immigration lawyer. The process of obtaining an EB-3 visa can be overwhelming. Moreover, you need to know the priority date. An attorney can help applicants and employers navigate the bureaucratic maze and avoid costly or time-consuming mistakes.

EB3 Basics

Applying for an immigrant visa, such as an EB3, is one step in the process of obtaining a green card. Each year, the state department approves about 40,126 EB-3 visas, a figure that accounts for 28.6 percent of employment-based visas annually.

The EB-3 is granted to foreign nationals who are offered U.S. employment requiring a baccalaureate degree or a minimum of two years training. Persons offered non-seasonal U.S. jobs requiring less than two years of training may also apply.

Generally, this is for professionals, skilled workers, and unskilled workers. Each one of these categories has a specific definition. See below.

Workers who apply under the EB3 category typically need a U.S. employer to “sponsor” them and file the appropriate petition on their behalf with U.S. Immigration and Customs Services (USCIS). Additionally, employers must also obtain labor certification for the employee from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

Labor Certification for EB3

Before an employer can file a petition with USCIS on behalf of a foreign worker, it is necessary to obtain certification from the DOL. During the process of labor certification, the DOL considers the job being offered and determines whether or not there are already sufficient U.S. workers willing, qualified and available to accept the job. If not, DOL issues labor certification and the employer can continue with the application. This step is intended to ensure that U.S. workers’ wages and working conditions won’t be affected by EB-3 immigration.

Once the labor certification is approved, the employer may file the appropriate petition with USCIS. For more information, visit the DOL website.

EB3 Skilled Worker EB-3 Professional Visa | Immigration Lawyer

Skilled workers

This subcategory applies to foreign workers who can demonstrate that they have at least two years of job experience or training. In certain situation, relevant post-secondary education may be considered as training. 8 CFR § 204.5(l)(2). Also required is an offer of permanent work in the U.S.. With so many potential career possibilities falling under this subcategory, potential applicants might wonder if they qualify.


Applicants in this subcategory must show that they possess a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign equivalent. They must be members of the profession. Those applying for an EB-3 under this subcategory cannot substitute education and experience for a baccalaureate degree. The qualified applicant must be able to demonstrate that a baccalaureate degree is a necessary requirement for the job being offered.

Other/Unskilled Workers

Applicants in this subcategory must be capable of performing labor requiring less than two years of training or experience at the time the petition is filed on their behalf. The U.S. job offer cannot be temporary or seasonal in nature.

This category has been clarified by the case of Aliens for Better Immigration Laws v. U.S. (1994). If you are uncertain whether or not you qualify under this subcategory, it might be helpful to consult an immigration attorney.

Applying for an EB-3 Visa

We highly recommend that you hire an immigration attorney before pursuing an EB-3 visa. Your prospective employer may hire the lawyer. As mentioned earlier on this page, most employers who sponsor a foreign national will first have to apply for certification through the U.S. Department of Labor. Once labor certification is granted, the employer can file an Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140). This form is filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

If you want to come and work for an employer on a temporary basis, you can apply to work on an H1B visa basis. If you’re a NAFTA trade agreement country (Canada & Mexico), you should review our NAFTA TN Visa page.

Filing Fees

Under the current fee schedule, USCIS charges $580 to accept a Petition for Alien Worker (Form I-140). Unfortunately, this form is not included on the list of forms eligible for fee waiver based on financial hardship.

Can My Family Also Receive an Immigrant Visa?

In many cases, yes. Based on an applicant’s approved petition for an EB3 visa, spouses and unmarried minor children (under the age of 21) may apply for an immigrant visa as well. However, there are many factors to be considered. If you have questions about family access to immigrant visa, contact our office to see if we can help.

Do I Need an Immigration Lawyer?

During the application for an EB3 visa, it is usually the employer who petitions on behalf of the foreign national seeking permanent U.S. residence. While a lawyer is not required in order to apply for a EB3, the process can be overwhelming. A qualified immigration attorney can provide indispensible guidance as the petitioner navigates a vast bureaucratic maze. An attorney can also help prevent costly and time-consuming errors. Contact our office for more information.

For an overview of other types of employment based immigration, visit our EB1-EB5 overview page.