Skilled workers, professionals, and individuals with at least two years of experience can seek the EB-3 visa category to obtain their green card instead of a bachelor’s degree.

The eligibility criteria for adjustment of status and attainment of permanent residency through this avenue are hinged on your assigned EB-3 priority date. This date plays a significant role in determining when an applicant can move forward in the immigration process and ultimately obtain their green card.

What is EB-3 Priority Date?

Consider your priority date as a spot in the queue for an EB-3 green card. It denotes the moment when USCIS receives your authorized PERM labor certification application, which is the initial phase of securing this type of visa. This labor certification request assures that hiring the foreign worker will not have any negative impact on American employees.

Due to the annual visa limits or quotas for employment-based green card categories, such as EB-3 and further segmented by country of birth, the priority date holds significant importance. In adherence to a “first-come-first-served” policy regarding the allocation of visas, applicants’ priority dates determine their eligibility for obtaining one.

Using the Priority Date

Each month, the Department of State releases a Visa Bulletin that displays “final action dates” for all employment-based preference categories, including EB-3 classifications in various countries. If your priority date is earlier than the final action date provided for your country on this list, you meet eligibility requirements to complete Form I-485 and Apply to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status.

Below is a Breakdown of the Process:

  • The Department of Labor (DOL) receives the PERM application filed by your employer in the United States.
  • After the approval of PERM, USCIS provides you with a priority date.
  • Make it a habit to keep an eye on the Visa Bulletin and confirm if your priority date precedes the final action date for your nation.
  • When your priority date becomes current, you can submit Form I-485 with USCIS to begin the green card application.

The EB-3 Visa Category

The EB-3 visa is an employment-based immigrant visa category that allows foreign nationals to obtain U.S. permanent residency (a green card). This visa category is intended for individuals who have specific skills, qualifications, or educational backgrounds that are in demand in the U.S. workforce.

The EB-3 visa has three distinct subcategories, each with its eligibility criteria.

  • Skilled workers like tradespeople, technicians, and certain types of healthcare workers.
  • Professionals such as engineers, accountants, and teachers.
  • Unskilled workers like agricultural workers, cleaning staff, and certain factory workers.

To apply for an EB-3 visa, applicants must carefully complete the following:

  • Labor Certification (PERM): The employer must conduct a recruitment process to advertise the job and document efforts to hire a U.S. worker.
  • Filing Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker): The I-140 petition includes documentation such as the approved labor certification, evidence of the worker’s qualifications, and proof of the employer’s financial stability.
  • Priority Date: Because the demand for EB-3 visas often exceeds the available supply, the priority date affects when the worker can apply for a green card.
  • Adjustment of Status (AOS) or Consular Processing: If the worker is already in the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa, they can apply for AOS with USCIS once their priority date becomes current. If the worker is outside the U.S., they will apply for an immigrant visa through consular processing at a U.S. embassy or consulate.

Contact CFUIS

Knowing your EB-3 priority date empowers you to take control of your green card journey. Don’t wait! Check the Visa Bulletin regularly and consult an immigration attorney to discuss your eligibility and next steps. With an informed approach, you can move closer to obtaining your green card and achieving your American dream.  Contact us today at 813-298-7222, email us, fill out our contact form, or schedule an appointment.