Work and Employment

EB3 Visa:
A Comprehensive Guide to PERM 

The EB3 visa is for any workers seeking permanent residency in the U.S. Employers often kick-start this journey with the PERM process to support their employees in securing a green card. This guide will break down the EB3 visa process step-by-step, and cover the EB3 visa benefits, costs, and PERM processing time.

Chelsea Spinos, Writer
Simon Craven, Manifest Immigration Lawyer

By:

Chelsea Spinos

Chelsea Spinos is a contributing writer for Manifest Law. She covers all topics related to U.S. visas and green cards. She is passionate about helping people navigate their immigration journey with clarity and confidence.

Reviewer:

Simon Craven, Esq.

Simon Craven is an immigration attorney with 11+ years of experience working on thousands of successful immigration cases. Simon is passionate about US immigration and helping people.

11 min read • Feb 15, 2024

Construction worker man with arms crossed
Construction worker man with arms crossed
Construction worker man with arms crossed

Key takeaways

You need a job offer from a sponsoring U.S. employer in order to meet EB3 visa requirements.

The first step of the EB3 visa process is the Permanent Labor Certification (PERM), which is the most common employment based immigration petition.

Your employer will be required to publish your job in newspapers and state sites as part of the PERM process.

EB3 visa lawyers at Manifest Law can help you prepare a petition and avoid any mistakes on your journey to a U.S. Green Card.

What is the EB3 Visa?

What is the EB3 Visa?

Man looking at papers with women sitting at his desk surrounded by U.S. flags
Man looking at papers with women sitting at his desk surrounded by U.S. flags
Man looking at papers with women sitting at his desk surrounded by U.S. flags

The EB3 visa is for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers seeking permanent residency in the U.S. This visa category requires U.S. employer sponsorship, and more specifically, a full-time job offer that doesn’t have qualified U.S. candidates.


The EB3 process involves three key steps:


  1. The PERM Labor Certification process

  2. The I-140 Form (Immigrant Petition)

  3. The I-484 Form (Adjustment of Status)


Before we break down each of these steps, let’s first take a look at the benefits of the EB3 visa.

The EB3 visa is for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers seeking permanent residency in the U.S. This visa category requires U.S. employer sponsorship, and more specifically, a full-time job offer that doesn’t have qualified U.S. candidates.


The EB3 process involves three key steps:


  1. The PERM Labor Certification process

  2. The I-140 Form (Immigrant Petition)

  3. The I-484 Form (Adjustment of Status)


Before we break down each of these steps, let’s first take a look at the benefits of the EB3 visa.

The EB3 visa is for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers seeking permanent residency in the U.S. This visa category requires U.S. employer sponsorship, and more specifically, a full-time job offer that doesn’t have qualified U.S. candidates.


The EB3 process involves three key steps:


  1. The PERM Labor Certification process

  2. The I-140 Form (Immigrant Petition)

  3. The I-484 Form (Adjustment of Status)


Before we break down each of these steps, let’s first take a look at the benefits of the EB3 visa.

What are the benefits of the EB3 visa?

What are the benefits of the EB3 visa?

The EB-3 visa stands out for several compelling reasons:


  1. Almost any job qualifies for an EB3 visa.

  2. Unlike National Interest Waiver green card cases, there's no need for a project in the U.S. national interest.

  3. Unlike the EB1 green card, no “extraordinary ability” is required.

  4. Filing a PERM labor certification application establishes your EB3 priority date (your place in line) for the green card application.


Given these advantages, it's no surprise that people across all different professions choose the EB-3 visa as their path to permanent residency in the U.S. 

The EB-3 visa stands out for several compelling reasons:


  1. Almost any job qualifies for an EB3 visa.

  2. Unlike National Interest Waiver green card cases, there's no need for a project in the U.S. national interest.

  3. Unlike the EB1 green card, no “extraordinary ability” is required.

  4. Filing a PERM labor certification application establishes your EB3 priority date (your place in line) for the green card application.


Given these advantages, it's no surprise that people across all different professions choose the EB-3 visa as their path to permanent residency in the U.S. 

The EB-3 visa stands out for several compelling reasons:


  1. Almost any job qualifies for an EB3 visa.

  2. Unlike National Interest Waiver green card cases, there's no need for a project in the U.S. national interest.

  3. Unlike the EB1 green card, no “extraordinary ability” is required.

  4. Filing a PERM labor certification application establishes your EB3 priority date (your place in line) for the green card application.


Given these advantages, it's no surprise that people across all different professions choose the EB-3 visa as their path to permanent residency in the U.S. 

In fact, nearly 100,000 PERM labor certifications are approved each year!

What are the EB3 visa requirements?

What are the EB3 visa requirements?

Man reading CV of woman at his desk
Man reading CV of woman at his desk
Man reading CV of woman at his desk

For EB3 visa eligibility, you will need to be in one of the following categories and meet the EB3 visa requirements:

For EB3 visa eligibility, you will need to be in one of the following categories and meet the EB3 visa requirements:

EB-3 Visa: Skilled Workers

  • Have a job offer from a U.S. employer 

  • Have at least two years of job experience or training

EB-3 Visa: Professionals

  • Have a job offer from a U.S. employer 

  • Hold a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent

EB-3 Visa: Unskilled Workers or Other Workers

  • Have a job offer from a U.S. employer 

  • Be capable of performing unskilled labor that requires less than two years of training or experience

Don’t have a U.S. employer sponsor for EB3 visa? See if you qualify for another Green Card option. Check out our free visa quiz. 

Don’t have a U.S. employer sponsor for EB3 visa? See if you qualify for another Green Card option. Check out our free visa quiz. 

EB3 Visa Process

Now, let’s dive into the three key steps of the EB3 visa process!

Step 1: PERM Labor Certification

Step 1: PERM Labor Certification

The first step towards getting an EB3 visa is completing the PERM process with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). PERM, or Program Electronic Review Management, is the most common process employers use to help their employees secure a green card for permanent residence in the U.S. It is generally based on their employer performing a test of the U.S. labor market. 


The PERM process consists of several steps and can often take years before you actually receive a green card. Patience and diligence are essential in navigating this process!


Now, let’s look at the four main parts of the PERM application process.


Part 1: Drafting the Job Description

Part 1: Drafting the Job Description

Desk with resume and three people discussing
Desk with resume and three people discussing
Desk with resume and three people discussing

A PERM application starts with carefully crafting a job description. Employers need to provide details such as the job title, duties, education, and experience requirements, and any additional criteria.


To ensure a smooth EB3 visa process, it's crucial to maintain a relevant job description, considering potential delays in EB3 processing time. While a more general description is often recommended, there might be cases where a more detailed one is necessary. 


In each PERM application, the Department of Labor assesses whether the job requirements are considered "normal." Employers can typically only request education, training, and experience typical for the position. Any requirement exceeding this triggers additional review and prolongs the EB3 visa processing time.


If the Department of Labor questions specific job requirements, employers must show that it's a "business necessity." This means proving the extra qualifications are essential for job duties, and someone without them would be unable to do the job, even after reasonable on-the-job training.


For example, with a foreign language requirement, employers need to show a clear link between the job, the business, and the need for a foreign language. 

Part 2: Prevailing Wage Determination

Two people shaking hands
Two people shaking hands
Two people shaking hands

Now, onto part two of the PERM green card process! Once the job details are finalized, a request for prevailing wage determination is submitted to the Department of Labor. The prevailing wage is essentially the standard pay for the role, considering job duties, requirements, location, and other relevant factors. 


Important note here – the employer must show they can pay the prevailing wage later in the EB3 visa process, when the worker actually receives the green card.

Part 3: Recruitment

Newspaper ad with "Job Opportunity" written
Newspaper ad with "Job Opportunity" written
Newspaper ad with "Job Opportunity" written

We are at the third stage, which is the PERM recruitment process. This is where the employer places ads in several places to see if there are any available qualified U.S. workers. 


As previously mentioned, EB3 visa jobs are split into three categories: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Unskilled Workers/Other Workers


The main distinction here is that professional roles usually call for a bachelor's degree, while the other positions don’t. 


For most EB3 visas, the following recruitment activities are required:


  • Place a job order with the local State Workforce Agency (SWA) (“job bank”) for at least 30 days. 

  • Run ads in newspapers on two Sundays.

  • Post an internal job notice for ten consecutive business days. 


If the job is a professional occupation, such as EB2 and most EB3 jobs, the employer must do at least 3 extra recruitment activities. 

PERM “Special Handling” for College and University Professors

Woman standing in front of white board
Woman standing in front of white board
Woman standing in front of white board

Let's quickly touch on PERM Special Handling, a process within the PERM labor certification system specifically for foreign workers in academic roles like professors, instructors, and lecturers at higher education institutions.


Instead of the standard recruitment process we just looked at, employers need to simply show that the faculty member was selected as the "most qualified" candidate for the position.


If the professor receives the offer letter within 18 months of PERM filing, no additional recruitment is needed. If not, the college or university undergoes a recruitment process, which includes one ad in a national professional journal (online ads work too if posted for at least 30 days). After placing the ad, the employer re-selects the sponsored employee based on the recruitment process.


Colleges and universities must also display a Posting Notice at the worksite for 10 days and obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination from the Department of Labor.

Let's quickly touch on PERM Special Handling, a process within the PERM labor certification system specifically for foreign workers in academic roles like professors, instructors, and lecturers at higher education institutions.


Instead of the standard recruitment process we just looked at, employers need to simply show that the faculty member was selected as the "most qualified" candidate for the position.


If the professor receives the offer letter within 18 months of PERM filing, no additional recruitment is needed. If not, the college or university undergoes a recruitment process, which includes one ad in a national professional journal (online ads work too if posted for at least 30 days). After placing the ad, the employer re-selects the sponsored employee based on the recruitment process.


Colleges and universities must also display a Posting Notice at the worksite for 10 days and obtain a Prevailing Wage Determination from the Department of Labor.

Recruitment with Pending Prevailing Wage

Two business men shaking hands
Two business men shaking hands
Two business men shaking hands

As the PERM processing time becomes longer and longer, employers often look for ways to expedite the EB3 visa process. One approach involves initiating recruitment while the Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) is still pending with the Department of Labor (DOL).


Typically, the PWD is secured before recruitment to align advertisements with the determined wage. Failing to do so may require redoing ads, adding extra costs and complications. For straightforward cases where meeting the prevailing wage is certain, concurrent recruitment can speed up the PERM process.


However, for managerial or more complex positions, delays or disagreements with the PWD may arise. A practical approach is to delay costlier steps like newspaper ads until 2-3 months after submitting the PWD application. This allows flexibility to redo initial recruitment if needed, without significant consequences. 

As the PERM processing time becomes longer and longer, employers often look for ways to expedite the EB3 visa process. One approach involves initiating recruitment while the Prevailing Wage Determination (PWD) is still pending with the Department of Labor (DOL).


Typically, the PWD is secured before recruitment to align advertisements with the determined wage. Failing to do so may require redoing ads, adding extra costs and complications. For straightforward cases where meeting the prevailing wage is certain, concurrent recruitment can speed up the PERM process.


However, for managerial or more complex positions, delays or disagreements with the PWD may arise. A practical approach is to delay costlier steps like newspaper ads until 2-3 months after submitting the PWD application. This allows flexibility to redo initial recruitment if needed, without significant consequences. 

Part 4: Filing the PERM Labor Certification Application with DOL

Part 4: Filing the PERM Labor Certification Application with DOL

Application form with woman filling out paper
Application form with woman filling out paper
Application form with woman filling out paper

Finally, we are at the final step of the PERM green card process! 


If no qualified U.S. workers meeting all the minimum requirements are found, the employer can now submit the PERM application (ETA-9089) to the Department of Labor (DOL). This is done online through the Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) system, where both employers and attorneys can track the case. Typically, this must be done within 6 months of initiating recruitment.


The final PERM application will include details about the company, role, and employee. 

Finally, we are at the final step of the PERM green card process! 


If no qualified U.S. workers meeting all the minimum requirements are found, the employer can now submit the PERM application (ETA-9089) to the Department of Labor (DOL). This is done online through the Foreign Labor Application Gateway (FLAG) system, where both employers and attorneys can track the case. Typically, this must be done within 6 months of initiating recruitment.


The final PERM application will include details about the company, role, and employee. 

💡 Manifest Tip: Remember to review the form very carefully, as the information cannot be changed once submitted!

Step 2: Form I-140

Okay, now onto the second step of the EB3 visa process, which is submitting the I-140 form.


After the PERM labor certification is approved, the next step is filing the I-140 form (immigrant petition) with USCIS. This must be done within 180 days of DOL certification. This form outlines your employment details, and confirms your employment offer for labor certification. 


You can download the form directly here:

Or see an example of form I-140 below:

Form I-140
Form I-140
Form I-140

The I-140 form is filed with documentation confirming that the employer can pay the prevailing wage as shown earlier in the process. This is usually done by showing that the company has ample income and assets to cover the salary.

💡 Manifest Tip: The prevailing wage only needs to be paid to the employee after they receive the green card.

Completing the I-140 form requires showcasing your EB3 visa qualifications. Adding documents like your diploma, transcripts, or detailed reference letters from previous employers about your experience are helpful.

💡 Manifest Tip: If your role requires specific skills or certifications, be sure to provide the necessary documentation confirming these qualifications.

Step 3: Form I-485

This is the final step towards securing an EB3 green card! Now, it's all about you and your personal background, with less focus on the job offer.


You can download the form directly here:

Or see an example of form I-485 below:

Form I-485
Form I-485
Form I-485

If you're in the U.S., you'll file an Application for Adjustment of Status on Form I-485. You can also apply for work and travel authorization while waiting. 


If you're applying from outside the U.S., you'll go through "consular processing" to obtain a visa to travel to the U.S. as a permanent resident. After completing this process, you enter the U.S. and receive your green card.


These steps happen when your "priority date" is current, meaning there are available green cards.

What is a green card priority date?

A green card priority date is the moment you officially express your desire to apply for permanent residency (a green card), determining your place in the green card queue.


For petitions requiring a Labor Certification, your EB3 priority date is established by submitting the PERM labor certification to the Department of Labor (DOL).


Visa limits exist for each employment green card category and for each country. Lower preference categories and high-population countries (like China and India) typically have longer waiting times.

A green card priority date is the moment you officially express your desire to apply for permanent residency (a green card), determining your place in the green card queue.


For petitions requiring a Labor Certification, your EB3 priority date is established by submitting the PERM labor certification to the Department of Labor (DOL).


Visa limits exist for each employment green card category and for each country. Lower preference categories and high-population countries (like China and India) typically have longer waiting times.

Each month, the State Department releases a Visa Bulletin showing the waiting periods for green cards. The chart “Dates for Filing vs. Final Action” can vary each month, so make sure to check the USCIS website for the most current information.

Each month, the State Department releases a Visa Bulletin showing the waiting periods for green cards. The chart “Dates for Filing vs. Final Action” can vary each month, so make sure to check the USCIS website for the most current information.

PERM Processing Time

PERM Processing Time

In an ideal scenario, the PERM process can lead to a green card in 2-3 years. In other cases, like for individuals from India, the PERM to green card timeline may extend to over a decade before receiving a green card.

In an ideal scenario, the PERM process can lead to a green card in 2-3 years. In other cases, like for individuals from India, the PERM to green card timeline may extend to over a decade before receiving a green card.

Let’s a take a look at the timing for each step:

For applicants applying from outside the U.S.:

Prevailing Wage Determination:

Recruitment

DOL Labor Certification Decision

I-140

  • Most determinations are made in about 6-9 months.

  • Minimum of 60 days total (30 days for advertising and 30 days waiting for applications). Normally averages about 3 months.

  • Decisions on the ETA-9089 Labor Certification are currently taking about 13 months.

  • Cases that are audited by the DOL take longer, usually by a few months.

  • Normal processing of a PERM-based I-140 petition is currently taking about 6-8 months.

Manifest Law©️. Learn more on www.manifestlaw.com

PERM Premium Processing

PERM Premium Processing

Premium processing for PERM is possible for I-140 cases. For an additional USCIS filing fee of $2,805, you will get a decision on the I-140 form within 15 business days. A decision could be an approval, a denial, or a request for additional evidence. 

Premium processing for PERM is possible for I-140 cases. For an additional USCIS filing fee of $2,805, you will get a decision on the I-140 form within 15 business days. A decision could be an approval, a denial, or a request for additional evidence. 

Adjustment of Status (I-485) and Consular Processing

Adjustment of Status (I-485) and Consular Processing

Employment Authorization Card United States
Employment Authorization Card United States
Employment Authorization Card United States

If you’re applying from within the U.S., you can apply for a green card once your priority date is current. The decision typically takes 1-2 years, but you can request work and travel authorization while waiting.

If you're applying from outside the U.S., you'll go through consular processing, which usually takes over a year. 

If you’re applying from within the U.S., you can apply for a green card once your priority date is current. The decision typically takes 1-2 years, but you can request work and travel authorization while waiting.

If you're applying from outside the U.S., you'll go through consular processing, which usually takes over a year. 

EB3 Visa Cost

EB3 Visa Cost

There are two fees involved in an EB3 visa: 


  1. EB3 visa lawyer fees

  2. Government fees and other costs

💡 Manifest Tip: The Employer is required by law to pay all expenses related to the “PERM” labor certification process. The Employee may pay fees at the later stages with USCIS (I-140, I485).

EB3 Visa Lawyer Fees

When it comes to lawyer fees for the EB-3 visa, the costs can vary. For a personalized approach, we suggest choosing a firm specializing in EB3 green cards.


At Manifest Law, our immigration lawyer fees for a visa EB3 start at $7,995 and can be paid over 6 months.


PERM Green Card Advertising Fees


As part of the PERM recruitment process, most employers are required to pay for advertisements. The fees can vary depending on your location and the type of advertising, typically ranging from $1 to $4,000 on average.


U.S. Government Fees

USCIS:

I-140 (Immigrant Visa Petition):

Most Organizations

Organizations with fewer than 25 employees

Nonprofits

I-140 Fee

$715

$715

$715

Asylum Program Fee

$600

$300

N/A

TOTAL

$1,315

$1,015

$715

Manifest Law©️. Learn more on www.manifestlaw.com

I-485 (Green Card Application with USCIS from within the US):

I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (with biometric services)

I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status (under the age of 14 in certain conditions)

$715

$715

Manifest Law©️. Learn more on www.manifestlaw.com

I-765: with a pending or concurrent i-485

I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (online filing)

I-765 Application for Employment Authorization (paper filing)

$210

$260

Manifest Law©️. Learn more on www.manifestlaw.com

I-131: Advance Parole based on Pending/Concurrent I-485

I-131

$630

Manifest Law©️. Learn more on www.manifestlaw.com

Should I hire a lawyer for an EB3 visa?

Should I hire a lawyer for an EB3 visa?

Since the EB3 visa process and the PERM process are both very technical and complex, many people find it helpful to work with a lawyer. 


Getting an immigration attorney could make the difference in your EB3 green card case. They know how the process works, help you get the right documents, and plan your case. They can handle challenges, navigate the system, and make sure you meet the EB3 visa requirements. While it’s not required, having a lawyer often makes the application process easier and increases your chances of success.

If you choose to hire Manifest Law, we provide flexible payment plans of up to 6 months, a visa-approved or money-back guarantee (terms apply), and immigration lawyers with lots of experience with EB3 visa to green card applications.


Take the First Step:

Schedule your free consultation!

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Review of visa options available for you

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General information about timelines, fees, requirements for various visa options

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Information on Manifest fees, terms and process

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Full clarity and transparency every step along the way

Picture of Avi Goldenburg, principal attorney at Manifest law, smiling in eye glasses and a blue button up shirt in his office.

Avi Goldenberg

Principal attorney at Manifest Law

Take the First Step:

Schedule your free consultation!

Check mark in a circle icon

Review of visa options available for you

Check mark in a circle icon

General information about timelines, fees, requirements for various visa options

Check mark in a circle icon

Information on Manifest fees, terms and process

Check mark in a circle icon

Full clarity and transparency every step along the way

Picture of Avi Goldenburg, principal attorney at Manifest law, smiling in eye glasses and a blue button up shirt in his office.

Avi Goldenberg

Principal attorney at Manifest Law

Take the First Step:

Schedule your free consultation!

Check mark in a circle icon

Review of visa options available for you

Check mark in a circle icon

General information about timelines, fees, requirements for various visa options

Check mark in a circle icon

Information on Manifest fees, terms and process

Check mark in a circle icon

Full clarity and transparency every step along the way

Picture of Avi Goldenburg, principal attorney at Manifest law, smiling in eye glasses and a blue button up shirt in his office.

Avi Goldenberg

Principal attorney at Manifest Law

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

What are the steps of the EB3 visa process?

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What is PERM vs I-140?

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How long does it take to file I-140 after PERM approval?

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What happens after PERM is approved?

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Can I stay in the U.S. while waiting for PERM approval?

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How do I know if my PERM is approved?

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How long does it take to get a green card after PERM approval?

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Attorney Advertising. This website is intended for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and is no substitute for consulting a licensed attorney. Only an attorney can provide you with legal advice, and only after considering your specific facts and circumstances. You should not act on any information on this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney. manifestlaw.com is a product of Manifest Law PLLC. Manifest Law PLLC is a law firm operating as a New York Professional Corporation.

2024 Manifest Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

Attorney Advertising. This website is intended for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and is no substitute for consulting a licensed attorney. Only an attorney can provide you with legal advice, and only after considering your specific facts and circumstances. You should not act on any information on this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney. manifestlaw.com is a product of Manifest Law PLLC. Manifest Law PLLC is a law firm operating as a New York Professional Corporation.

2024 Manifest Copyright. All Rights Reserved.

Attorney Advertising. This website is intended for general informational purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and is no substitute for consulting a licensed attorney. Only an attorney can provide you with legal advice, and only after considering your specific facts and circumstances. You should not act on any information on this website without first seeking the advice of an attorney. manifestlaw.com is a product of Manifest Law PLLC. Manifest Law PLLC is a law firm operating as a New York Professional Corporation.

2024 Manifest Copyright. All Rights Reserved.