The EB-3 visa process involves several steps that can take varying amounts of time to complete.
In this FAQ, we address common questions about the length of each stage and provide insight into the overall timeline for obtaining an EB-3 visa.
How long does it take to obtain a PERM labor certification?
The first step in the EB-3 visa process is for the U.S. employer to obtain a PERM labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL).
The time it takes to process a labor certification can vary depending on factors like the volume of applications and the complexity of the case.
On average, the PERM labor certification process may take anywhere from 6 months to a year or more.
What is the timeline for filing and processing the I-140 petition?
After obtaining the PERM labor certification, the employer must file Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker, with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
The processing time for the I-140 petition can also vary, depending on the workload at the specific service center.
Regular processing time can take between 2 to 8 months for USCIS to adjudicate the petition.
However, employers and applicants can choose to pay for premium processing, which guarantees a decision within 15 calendar days.
How long does it take for the priority date to become current?
The priority date is the date the PERM labor certification application was filed with the DOL.
The State Department publishes the Visa Bulletin each month that tells employers and applicants when their priority date is current.
The priority date must be current before the foreign worker can apply for an immigrant visa or adjust their status to a permanent resident.
The wait time for a priority date to become current depends on the applicant’s country of chargeability and the demand for visas in the EB-3 category. It can range from a few months to several years, especially for applicants from countries with high demand, like India, China, and the Philippines.
What is the processing time for an immigrant visa or adjustment of status application?
Once the priority date is current, the foreign worker can apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad, or adjust their status to a permanent resident if they are already in the United States.
The processing time for an immigrant visa can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months or more, while the adjustment of status process may take 6 to 8 months, depending on various factors such as the applicant’s background and the workload at the USCIS office handling the case.
Can I expedite any part of the EB-3 visa process?
You can expedite the I-140 petition by opting for premium processing, which guarantees a decision within 15 calendar days.
However, there are no options to expedite the labor certification, priority date, or the immigrant visa/adjustment of status process.