EB-3 Visa vs. Other Employment-Based Visas: Which Is Right for You?

Navigating the world of U.S. employment visas can feel like a maze. You hear acronyms thrown around: EB-1, EB-2, H-1B, and EB-3, but what do they all mean, and how do you know which one fits your plans?

In this blog, we examine employment visas in greater detail, focusing on the EB-3. We compare the EB-3 to other employment visas, highlighting key differences, benefits, and drawbacks, giving you a clearer picture of each option.

What Is the EB-3 Visa?

The EB-3 visa is divided into three main employee groups: skilled workers, professionals, and other workers.

Skilled workers are people who have worked at a particular job for at least two years. Professionals are workers who have a degree, and “other” workers have less than two years of experience in their field.

EB-3s are available when employers cannot find a U.S. citizen to fill your specific job role.

How to Apply for the EB-3 Visa

First, you need a labor certification. This document proves that there are no qualified U.S. residents that can do your job. Then, your employer must fill out an I-140 petition for you.

If you're already in the U.S., this visa could grant you permanent status. If you are not in the U.S., you must go through a process in your home country to get your visa or green card. The key to a successful application is double-checking everything and making sure you don't miss a step. One mistake can invalidate everything.

Other Employment-Based Visas

EB-1 Visa for Priority Workers

The EB-1 is reserved for those with exceptional talents and accomplishments. This elite group includes individuals with extraordinary abilities in the arts, sciences, education, business, or athletics. It also includes outstanding professors, researchers, and certain multinational executives and managers.

Unlike the EB-3, the EB-1 does not require labor certification, significantly streamlining the application process. The qualification criteria are stringent, demanding a level of distinction that sets these individuals apart from their peers. If you can demonstrate such extraordinary qualifications, the EB-1 visa offers a faster and less encumbered route to permanent residency.

EB-2 Visa for Advanced Degrees or Exceptional Ability

The EB-2 visa category is another attractive option for those with exceptional qualifications. It targets professionals holding advanced degrees or individuals with exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business.

The EB-2 also offers a National Interest Waiver (NIW), which allows certain individuals to bypass the labor certification requirement. The NIW applies if the work is deemed beneficial to the U.S. national interest.

This visa’s requirements are more demanding than the EB-3, as it targets a higher echelon of professional expertise. Applicants must demonstrate that their advanced degree or exceptional ability offers substantial merit to the United States.

Assessing Your Employment Visa Options

Determining the Best Fit: Personal and Professional Criteria

Choosing the right employment-based visa means assessing your qualifications and professional aspirations. Take an honest, holistic view of your career trajectory, educational background, and the requirements of each visa category.

For some, the EB-3 visa's broader eligibility criteria may present the most viable option. Others may find that their exceptional skills or advanced degrees qualify them for an EB-1 or EB-2 visa.

Priority Dates

Your priority date is the date your labor certification or petition was filed, and it holds your place in line. The EB-3 has longer wait times due to higher demand and limited supply. It often sees backlogs, so priority dates are a central concern for applicants.

The Visa Bulletin is updated monthly, and applicants must monitor it closely. When their priority date becomes current, a visa is available, and the applicant can proceed.

Strategic Considerations for Employment-Based Immigration

Employer Sponsorship and Job Offers

Employer sponsorship is the cornerstone of the EB-3 visa and many other employment-based immigration categories. At this stage, the employer demonstrates their genuine need for the applicant's skills, and the applicant must fulfill the job requirements.

A valid job offer is not just a formality. It is the foundation for application. The employer must navigate the labor certification process, proving that no suitable U.S. candidate is available for the position, and they must bring in talent from abroad.

Legal and Financial Implications

Each visa category carries its set of attorney fees, government filing charges, and labor certification process costs. EB-3 applicants must understand these costs and the legal intricacies involved to prepare for a successful application.

It is best to contact an experienced attorney who can navigate the legal landscape and help manage the financial investment involved. The right legal support can make the difference between a smooth application process and one fraught with unnecessary challenges and expenses.

Potential Setbacks

Visa Retrogression and Delays

Visa retrogression is a common hurdle for EB-3 applicants. It occurs when the demand for visas outpaces the supply, causing priority dates to move backward. This phenomenon can lead to frustrating delays and prolonged waiting periods.

Applicants must be prepared for these delays. It is good practice to keep up with the Visa Bulletin and remain flexible with long-term plans.

RFEs and Denials

A Request for Evidence (RFE) or a denial can be disheartening for EB-3 visa applicants. However, an RFE is an opportunity to provide additional evidence to strengthen your case, and you must respond to it thoroughly and promptly.

Denials are more challenging, but they are not insurmountable. Applicants have options such as filing a motion to reopen or reconsider. In some cases, applicants can reapply with a stronger petition.


Essentially, the right employment visa depends on your circumstances. If you are unsure of which visa applies to you, Maghzi Law Firm can help. We can review your case and help you decide how to move forward.

To meet with our team, contact us online or call our office at (843) 800-2750.

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