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Employment-Based Immigration Green Cards: EB-2 and Eb3

An EB-2 petition is an employment-based 2nd preference petition for a foreign professional with an advanced degree or its equivalent (masters degree or higher), or a foreign national who has exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. In some instances, a professional with a Bachelor's degree (or its U.S. equivalent) and five years of progressively responsible experience in the job being offered may be considered to possess the equivalent of a Master's degree in the field.


An EB-3 petition is an employment-based 3rd preference petition for a foreign national employee who has a Bachelor's degree, or, if no degree, then is a skilled worker, meaning the foreign national has at least two years of work experience for the job being offered. Additionally, there is a sub-category for unskilled workers that requires less than two years experience.

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Step 1: PERM Labor Certification Application

The first step in the EB2 visa process is the PERM labor certification. This PERM labor certification is not required for people applying in the EB2 national interest waiver category. It is required for all other EB2 green card applicants.

The PERM process requires requesting a prevailing wage determination and undergoing the recruiting process. It usually takes 2-4 months to receive a prevailing wage determination. The recruiting process takes a minimum of 60 days.  After receiving a prevailing wage determination and going through the recruitment process, you may complete the PERM form and submit the application.

Prior to filing a PERM application, the U.S. Petitioner is required to show that it could not find a ready, willing and able US worker for the position held by the foreign national employee. The PERM Labor Certification application is filed electronically with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).

The PERM labor certification application must be submitted within 180 days of any recruiting effort. After submitting the PERM labor certification application, the Department of Labor will usually take about 6 months to adjudicate the application, but it can take longer. ​


Once the US employer receives the labor certification, it can then sponsor a foreign worker for the position that they have available.

Step 2: I-140 Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker

After the PERM Labor Certification is approved with DOL, the U.S. petitioner may file the Form I140 Immigrant Petition. The petitioner should include the documents to show that the U.S. company offers a permanent position to a prospective employee; that the prospective employee met the minimum requirements of the position; and that
the U.S. company has the financial ability to pay the offered salary. 


Step 3: Immigrant Visa Consular Application or Adjustment of Status


When the employer submits the EB2 visa immigrant petition (Form I-140), the prospective employee will also receive a priority date. The priority date defines when the prospective employee can apply for an immigrant visa or apply for adjustment of status. 


Once the priority date arrives, the foreign beneficiary can either apply for their immigrant visa at their local US embassy abroad or for an adjustment of status in the United States. If the priority date is current, and the prospective employee is lawfully present in the United States, she/he may be eligible to concurrently file an adjustment of status application along with an immigrant petition (step 2). 

Let's Chat About EB-2 or EB-3 Green Cards?

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Licensed U.S. Immigration Counsel

Ana Kamkhadze, Esq.

Significant expertise in U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Law for almost a decade. 

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