How Difficult Is It To Get an EB-3 Unskilled Visa?

Britt Vergnolle
July 8, 2021

While all immigrant visas are difficult to obtain given their limited numbers, some have less requirements than others. The EB-3 visa, in comparison to others, has less requirements.

The United States makes approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas available each fiscal year for aliens as well as their spouses and children who wish to immigrate to the United States based on their occupational skills. There are five employment-based immigrant visa categories: EB-1, EB-2, EB-3, EB-4, and EB-5. EB-4 is mostly for religious workers and EB-5 is for investors who invest close to one million dollars or more in the U.S. economy.

EB-1 (First preference) category is for individuals with extraordinary abilities in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics. This preference category also includes outstanding professors or researchers as well as multinational executives and managers. These foreign nationals show an “extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics which has been demonstrated by sustained national or international acclaim and whose achievements have been recognized in the field through extensive documentation.” An award such as a Pulitzer, Oscar, Olympic Medal, Nobel Prize or similar award would typically prove extraordinary ability. The foreign national is compared to his or her peers, not to the population in general, in order to determine if he or she truly possesses extraordinary ability. This visa can also go to executives of major companies as well. However, this visa is notoriously difficult to obtain due to the lengthy requirements and extensive Requests for Evidence to demonstrate you are truly “extraordinary.”

The second preference category is EB-2, which is for individuals who are members of a profession holding an advanced degree or its equivalent or have exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. An individual may obtain permanent residency without labor certification with a national interest waiver. To obtain this visa, an applicant must have exceptional ability and their employment in the United States would significantly benefit the national economy, cultural, or educational interests or welfare of the United States. A foreign professional holding an advanced degree may also be able to obtain an EB-2 visa, but like the EB-1, the requirements and proof are fairly strict and difficult to prove.
The third preference category is EB-3, which is for individuals who are skilled workers, professionals, or other workers. The eligibility requirements for third preference classification are less stringent than for first and second preference classifications. As part of the application process, the foreign national's intended employer must be able to demonstrate an ability to pay the offered wage as of the visa priority date. The employer may demonstrate its ability to pay the offered age by annual reports, federal income tax returns, or audited financial statements. EB-3 is split into Skilled and unskilled. The Skilled category requires individuals with more than 2 years experience but the Other worker (unskilled) category requires less than 2 years of higher education, training, or experience. The foreign national must be capable, at the time the petition is filed, of performing unskilled labor that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.

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