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What are the requirements for an EB-3 employment visa?

Employment-based immigration is one of the most common ways for people to begin a new life in the United States. U.S. immigration law provides for a number of visa types that allow skilled workers and professionals to enter the U.S. One of the most popular is the EB-3 visa.

Under the EB-3 program, a skilled worker is defined as one whose occupation requires at least two years of experience or training. The applicant's job must be of a permanent nature; temporary or seasonal work does not qualify.

Professionals may also qualify for the EB-3 program. A professional is defined as one whose occupation requires a U.S. bachelor's degree or an equivalent degree from a foreign country. Other education and work experience is not a substitute for the requisite degree.

Finally, unskilled workers may be eligible for EB-3 visas if they perform unskilled work, defined as work for which less than two years' experience or training is required. While the requirements for the unskilled category are less restrictive, there is a substantial backlog of applicants in this category.

In all three categories - skilled workers, professionals, and unskilled workers - the candidate must go through the labor certification process and demonstrate they are doing work for which qualified American workers are unavailable. In addition, the candidate must have a full-time permanent job offer in hand at the time of application. A Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker must be filed by the employer.

Workers who are granted entry to the U.S. under an EB-3 visa are eligible to apply for permanent residency status. EB-3 workers' spouses can be admitted to the U.S. and can also apply for permanent residency.

Those applying for employment immigration visas can benefit from consulting a knowledgeable immigration attorney. The attorney can identify the correct type of visa the client will qualify for and make sure all documents are properly prepared and submitted.

Source: U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, "Employment-Based Immigration: Third Preference EB-3," accessed Aug. 7, 2016

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