The employment-based immigration process for unskilled workers EB3 generally includes a three-stage process involving the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). The following are the three stages:

  1. Stage 1: PERM/Labor Certification
  2. Stage 2: I-140 Immigrant Petition Application
  3. Stage 3: I-485 Adjustment of Status Application

EB3 Application Process

Stage 1

PERM/Labor Certification stage is the first step in the green card process for EB3. PERM stands for Program for Electronic Review Management.

During this PERM Labor Certification stage,  Employer has to prove that  there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified and available to accept in the area of intended employment and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers.

Steps have to be done in this stage:

  • Human resource Manager or your Manager notifies company’s Immigration Attorney about filing EB3 petition.
  • Initial Meeting: Manager, Employee, Human resource and Immigration Attorney
  • Job Description: drafted, revised and finalized.
  • Prevailing Wage determination request submitted to State Workforce Agency by Immigration Attorney
  • Followed by Recruitment Phases – handled by the employer’s human resource department
  • If no qualified US workers identified, the immigration attorney would file PERM Labor Condition application with DOL.
  • The Date, when the PERM application is filed with DOL, is your Priority Date (PD).
  • DOL processes and approves PERM Labor Certification.

Stage 2

After PERM/Labor Certification has been certified by DOL, I-140 petition application can be filed to USCIS by the Employer. USCIS will:

  • Verify employee meets job requirements specified on the PERM/Labor Certification Application
  • Verify the sponsoring employer can pay the offered wages to the employee.

The normal processing time of this stage is around from four to eight months. However, Form I-907 can be used to do the Premium Processing at this stage.

Stage 3

The form I-485 Application to adjust status can be filed after or concurrently the I-140 Petition Application. The amount of processing time at this stage depends on following factors:

  • Applicants country of birth
  • Employment-based classification
  • Priority date of the Applicant

The priority date is the date that the PERM/Labor Certification Application was filed with the DOL.

The applicant can file form I-765 and I-131 to request for the Working Permit and Travel Permit at this stage. These permits are 1-year valid.

Each I-485 application will go through many steps, which are performed by USCIS, in order to come to the final decision, and all the applicant can do is waiting for the USCIS’s response.

Those who have been issued Permanent Resident Card under EB3 for 5 years may be eligible for naturalization (to become US Citizen).


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