How To Apply For A Green Card under EB-3 & EB-2 Category (most common for H-1B and E-3 visa holders)

If you are currently on an H-1B visa or E-3 visa and curious about what you have to do to get permanent residency (aka a Green Card) then we will try and document the process here for you.

If you are interested in the issues surrounding whether or not you are able to do it and what other visas can transfer to a Green Card, read the specific Green Card and visa posts as they discuss that in more detail. This post is designed to be strictly about the process.

Firstly let us show you the Green Card. The most thing to note is that it is not actually green and it is a plastic card issued to you by the USCIS.

You can read more in the Green Card information post about the EB-2 and EB-3 category of green cards. Essentially EB stands for employment based as this version of permanent residency requires the employer to file.

The EB-2 category is for Post Graduate degree holders like a Masters Degree or Bachelor Degree holders with 5+ years experience in the chosen specialty.

The EB-3 category is for Bachelor degree holders or those with enough work experience in the relevant specialty which was enough probably in the first place to get them their H-1B or E-3 visa without a Bachelors degree.

THE GREEN CARD PROCESS

Step 1: Labor Certification

Application  using Form ETA-750 submission via your employer to the Department of Labor.

During this Labor Certification procedure, your employer has to prove to the Department of Labor they were could not find a suitable person for the specific role you are in within the US. They will have to advertise for your position, and sometimes do interviews and other recruiting procedures to prove this under the DOL guidelines.

After this your employer can file an application with the DOL explaning they were unable to find both a suitably qualified and experienced candidate. As a result they wish to sponsor you for permanent residency as you have the relevant expertise.

This process can take many months to years to complete.

The cost of this process with the advertising of the role can obviously range greatly but a rough conservative figure may be $1,000 but if can differ greatly state by state and also with the different DOL offices.

Step 2: I-140 to USCIS & Adjustment of Status ( I-485)
These two can be filed in parallel but form I-485 wont be approved until after you I-140 is accepted
At this time you can also file for EAD ( Employment Authorization Document) and AP ( Advance Parol or Travel Document) , once you file for 485, you will be required to do fingerprinting.

Once your Labor Certificate is approved, your employer will file a Form I-140 -(know as Petition for Immigrant Worker) – on your behalf.

Employer should demonstrate that the company is in a good financial position to capable of paying the salary advertised for the job. For this purpose employer’s financial financial statement and corporate income tax return documents also required.

Also at this point a National Visa Number issued via the Department of State. The Adjustment of Status can only be filed once your Visa Number is available according to the Visa Bulletin released by the Department of State each month.

The applicant is given is granted against per year Quota/per country/per category. So people from China, India and Mexico and those from those countries with just Bachelor Degrees tend to have very long waits into many years before they can complete the process.

Another restriction at this stage is that a person applying for a green card needs to stick with the company, through which his/her green card is getting processed, till he gets his Green card. Otherwise he loses the process, and needs to apply for a fresh application from the beginning.

Spouse/Dependent applications can only be filed once the I-140 is approved for primary applicant.

The I-140 processing fee is constantly changing but is currently $500 for regular and $1,000 for premium processing.
The I-485 fee is $930 (includes work authorization EAD and Advnace Patrol Travel if filed at same time otherwise EAD is $340 and Advance Patrol is $305)
Additionally a $120 medical assessment paid to approved Doctor is required as well as $80 biometric fee.


It should be noted that these fees are multiplied when dependents like spouses and children under 21 are involved.


Get You Passport Stamp and Green Card

I hope this helps your understanding of the Green Card process. It is fairly complicated and is one of the reasons why lawyers start to become more necessary in these times which is unfortunate as that is an added cost to the employer and immigrant.

CJ

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95 thoughts on “How To Apply For A Green Card under EB-3 & EB-2 Category (most common for H-1B and E-3 visa holders)

  1. Hi Ray,
    You can be sponsored under EB-2 if you have a Masters Degree, however your brother’s company still has to go through the same process as described here.
    Cj

  2. Hello
    I’m just happy that i found your site,though i have a question I’m currently on a j2 visa but i wanna switch to f 1 visa i even found a college , but i don’t know what to do after to get a green card.In my home country i finished a year of a master degree in marketing and i know 4 languages including English, do you think i can find a job after 1 2 years of college here? if yes what do you think are my best options.

    Thank you so much !
    Hope to get an answer from you.I really appreciate that you are trying to help people from other country in their persuade for the green card .

  3. Hi I am on H1b visa since june 2006, my employer Has stop processing Greencard.How can I file for Greencard ,do you think I still have a sufficent time ?

  4. Hi Ann,
    Depending on what stage your Green Card process is in, it may not require your employer to do anything more as it is just being processed at a USCIS processing center. You can’t sponsor or petition your own Green Card application if it is still hasn’t been filed.
    Cj

  5. Hi,

    Currently, my company is applying for my green card. However, the job requirement is a Master and 2 years of work experience. I have 2 years of work experience but not directly related to my current job. Was in audit before and now in Finance. My question: Do I need to prove 2 years of work exp in Finance or will my audit experience work? and how should my previous employeer draft the verification letter for me – how much details?

  6. Hi
    I am an Indian born, Australian Citizen and having Master Degree in IT with Honors from Australia and also have 5 Year of experience in IT. I have a Job offer letter from US company so can i apply for green card on the basis of Advanced Degree Holder (EB-2) Visa from Australia….If yes then approximately how long will it take to get green Card. (i only wants to go to USA if i can apply for green card from Australia before going to USA )
    Reg.
    Nick

  7. Hello,

    I was doing a Master’s degree in the US in electrical engineering, but could not complete it for various reasons. But my employer has sponsored my H1-B on a bachelors.
    I also intend to do a Master’s sometime soon, within a year. Its been just few months since I started working. My question was, If I can finish up a Masters within the next 2-3 years ( around 2014), will I be eligible for a Green Card under EB-2. Will it be okay if my Employer files for GC, 3 years after I join work.Will I get a H1B extension after 3 years?

    Thanks,
    Sesh

  8. Hello,

    I am an architect (no masters) on H1B visa since october 2009, and it is the first time I have this visa. Can my employer apply now for my Green card under EB3 or is it better to wait until I have an H1B for the second time.
    Do I have better chances to be approved being on H1B for the second time or it does not matter? If I can apply now and it takes several years what do I need to do if my H1B expires in sept 2012?

    Thanks,
    V

    Thanks

  9. I have an MBA and relevant work experience in retail sector (12 years experience). I now want to open my own retail business in the US (actually abroad), may my own company sponsor me or my wife (that has also a prestigious MBA) for the EB-2 visa?

  10. Hi I need to know what the best way for an 18 year old to get a green card is, I have completed grade 12 and recieved my High School Certificate, (HSC) and wish to reside permanently in the united states, what is the best way for me to achive this?
    Thanks

  11. Hi there – I am currently on an E-3 visa and would like to apply for an EB-2 visa. My current US employer would like to sponsor me for this. I am Australian born citizen. Do you know the approximate backlog times/waiting times are for someone like me? Also, does my employer need to file the Labor Certification form ETA-9089, or do they need to file the ETA 750? Different websites indicate different forms….many thanks!

  12. Hi
    I am an Australian Citizen and my husband is a Canadian (he now has Australian Perm. residency). He moved to Australia after we married 2 years ago after having worked in the US for about 14 years with TN visas. He still has a current TN and works offshore in Australia for the same company in the US. We would like to return to the US to live. What would be the best option for long term living in the US; ask company to apply for H1B after we return under his TN (can they apply while he is offshore and will that jeopardise his future TN applications?), or wait until he has Australian Citizenship (2 more years) and enter with E3? Which would be the simplest method? Many thanks. Your website is wonderful.

  13. I’m am co-coordinating both sides for the process for my employer and self. I have had my E3 visa for 3yrs now, and renewed once. I wish to apply for my green card. However you mention for the employer to file a 750 form, where the DOL website states to file a ETA 9089 form. Yet the DOL website also has the 750 available? what is the difference which one should we file?

  14. Hi there – I’m a Canadian with a bachelor’s degree in commerce (marketing major) and I’m just starting out on this long visa road. Here are my basic questions:

    1) I want to work in entertainment in New York (particularly casting). Say I get a job offer with a casting agency in New York and they want me to start in a month. My ultimate goal is to live in NYC, but I know that permanent residency takes forever to get. So what’s the quickest way to get down there and start working? I don’t think I qualify for a TN (the job titles seem a little off from what I would be doing) and H1B’s can take a while to get (plus the quota might be full). Since I just graduated, could I get something like a J1 while I wait for an H1B (I’ve heard J1 processing times are shorter?), and then apply for EB3 while on H1B?

    2) Everything I just said aside, what do you think would be the quickest route to being able to start work if I got an offer tomorrow? Are there other options that I could attain quickly and then be able to switch to an H1B later?

    Thanks, much appreciated!!

  15. Hello,
    I’m F1 visa holder. I did volunteer at the county opublic health depertment over one year. So they hired me two month ago. I really need work permit . How can I apply H visa or work permit. Please help me!!

  16. Hi Brennan,
    1. The H1B visa is not full for this year but is moving faster so this is still an option for you. You could go via the J1 visa and yes it is a simpler process with no quota. Remember your employer has to do your EB3 (permanent residency) petition on your behalf. You can’t do it yourself and it is a long process.
    2. If you got a job offer and your employer was willing to sponsor your H1B visa, would go down that route as is best for your medium term prospects and options.
    Cj

  17. Hi,
    I am currently processing my EB2. I just stared applying for Labor Certification. I am currently here in Los Angeles California/ Now that same sex marriage is legal in New York, is it possible for my girlfriend and I to get married in New York, then come back here in Los Angeles, then include her as my dependent for my application once I-40 is apporved?

    Thank you very much

  18. Hi Michelle,
    Congrats on getting an Employer to sponsor your EB2 petition. Unfortunately until same sex marriage is recognized by the Federal Government, it is irrelevant for Immigration purposes.
    Cj

  19. Hello I am currently holding an H-1B I do not hold a masters degree but I already have 2 years of experience with my current employer under opt. My plan is to adquire 3 more years of full time experience with my current employer and apply for EB2. I understand that experience with my own employer wont count so Am I wrong when I say that I only have 2 Option??

    1.- Apply for EB2 after 3 more years to a better position within the company where the new position requires the 5 years of experience and Profesisonal Engineer Lincense.

    2.- Look for a different employer that would be willing to file for EB2 under the criteria of 5 years of experience?

    I really want to stay with the company I work for I love them and they love me. But seems to be hard for them to keep me without a masters.

    Thank you

  20. Hi there,
    I am currently applying for an H1b visa and next year I Will apply for a EB3 visa. Do you know how long it takes to get one? I am also applying for my children currently under the age of 21. If I get my Greencard and they are now over the age of 21 can they get their greencard aswell?

  21. Hello,
    I am currently on H1B visa and my employer would like to file green card for me. I have an MBA from US. but the problem that the job description doesn’t require advanced degree. Do you think the department of Labor may accept the petition ?

  22. Hi,

    Just wanted to say it was great finding this website, the information is really handy.

    Currently I am waiting for my new employer to finish application for a E-3 Visa, plus E-3D Visa for wife and step-son. Question I had was if/when I apply for a greed card, sponsored by employer, does that application automatically provide a green card for wife and step-son? Or do I then have to sponsor separately for them under the sponsor of family member?

    My son is 18 now and from reading it would be quicker to get his green card before he turns 21.

  23. Hi,
    I applied for H1B and got denied. Currently I am holding a F1 Visa and pursuing a Masters degree in Business Economics. I was working for my boss under my OPT and it expired. He would like to sponsor me through EB3 and at the same time he would like to re-apply for the H1B. Is that possible?

  24. Kelly he can sponsor you on EB-3 but that has long waiting lists so wouldn’t be able to work under that status for many years if it gets approved and is a more complex complete process than H-1B b/c it is a Permanent Residency application. He can concurrently file for both H-1B at EB-3 at the same time but on the H-1B side, would work on the application and fix areas so you don’t get denied again.
    Cj

  25. Hi,

    I am an indian born Australian Citizen planning to move to US on an E3 visa for myself and E3-D for my wife,

    Q1 is it possible to change my wife’s E3-D to an H1B and apply for GC while i am on E3

    Q2 if my wife is able to change her visa to an H1B, will there be any issues on her visa status if my E3 extention is rejected for some reason or if I loose my job and cant find another in 10 days time limit on E3

    Q3 If I apply for GC while I am on E3 and if they do not extend my E3 is it then possible for me to change to H1B (with my employer’s approval) without having to leave US

  26. i am an Indian born mastes student in Canada.
    1)My h1b is on process.
    Can canada masters used for filing eb2 as equivalent to US? or is there any further requirements? How long i have to wait for getting green card?

  27. hello u r information is very useful here in this forum , great work , keep it up , just want ask , how easy to get green card through dva lottery if I am Australian citizen , i heard that 55000 is limit , but as lot of aussies dont really apply for dva lottery , do u think there are chances of getting success

  28. Firstly Awesome advice. Was able to get lots of my questions answered. However, am still awaiting replies for a couple of questions asked which describes my situation as well. So here goes:
    ————–
    Hi,

    I am an indian born Australian Citizen planning to move to US on an E3 visa for myself and E3-D for my wife,

    Q1 is it possible to change my wife’s E3-D to an H1B and apply for GC while i am on E3

    Q2 if my wife is able to change her visa to an H1B, will there be any issues on her visa status if my E3 extention is rejected for some reason or if I loose my job and cant find another in 10 days time limit on E3

    Q3 If I apply for GC while I am on E3 and if they do not extend my E3 is it then possible for me to change to H1B (with my employer’s approval) without having to leave US
    ————-
    Hi
    I am an Indian born, Australian Citizen and having Master Degree in IT with Honors from Australia and also have 5 Year of experience in IT. I have a Job offer letter from US company so can i apply for green card on the basis of Advanced Degree Holder (EB-2) Visa from Australia….If yes then approximately how long will it take to get green Card. (i only wants to go to USA if i can apply for green card from Australia before going to USA )
    Reg.
    Nick
    —————-

  29. Babu this is explained here; E3 Visa 2012 FAQs. However yes it is possible change your wife’s E-3D visa to H-1B and have her company sponsor her Green Card PERM petition. Her status will be independent of your E-3 Visa status at that point. Yes you can also change to an H-1B visa if there is no extension to your H-1B as long as you are still within the valid status period.
    Cj

  30. Raja yes it is possible for an E-3 visa holder to be sponsored by their company for a Green Card PERM application.
    Cj

  31. Nirav your chances are as much or little as most other nations. Many Australians do apply relative to the small amount of Green Cards allocated to the region. Also it is not necessarily the country where you are a citizen, but where you are born (and/or your parents are from) that determines your eligibility and what nation you come under.
    Cj

  32. Asif a Canadian Masters is not equivalent to a US Masters when it comes to H-1B Advanced Degree exemption. However it is applicable for you to come under EB-2 PERM classification. As you are Indian born the wait times for EB-2 is around 4-6 years currently following receipt of your application.
    Cj

  33. Hi,
    I am on J1 visa ( two year rules does not apply) written on my visa. By qualification I am MBBS, PhD.
    Am I eligible to apply foe EB3 green card? If not, is there is any ways that I can apply for green card?

    Hope to have answer.
    Thank you.

  34. Hi Mohshin,
    You cannot be sponsored by your employer for an EB-3 Visa Green Card while on a J-1 Visa. The J-1 visa explicitly not a dual intent visa meaning you can’t do a permanent residency application on that status.
    Cj

  35. I am currently on H1 & my wife on H4. I am from India & my wife is from Egypt. one of my friend was referring that if my employer is processing green card they can use my wife’s country of birth or something of that sort that to tell my employer to file GC of my wife as Egypt’s GC can be processed within a year rather than for india.

    can we really do that ? what are the ways i can use my wife’s country of birth for green card processing.

  36. Hi Sakib,
    Your employer has to sponsor your for the Green Card with your wife able to be added earlier. They can’t sponsor your wife directly. If you were an Egyptian citizen as well then maybe something could be done but not positive.
    Cj

  37. Hello,

    I am an Indian born naturalized Australian citizen. My future employer is looking to sponsor me on an E3 visa. I have noticed from past posts that application for Green card is permitted however the applicant “has to demonstrate residency abroad”. In my situation this may be difficult as I do not own any property in Australia and also do not have any other family member in Australia. So once I leave Australia, I will not have anything in my name except for possibly a bank account and maybe a p.o.box number that I am looking to setup before leaving.

    In your experience, will this hamper the renewal of my E3 while I wait for the GC process to take its course? Would you advise that I convert to H1 at the first possible opportunity after landing in the US (is it legally permitted to transfer from E3 to H1?)

    Thanks

  38. Looks like I found the answer to what I was looking for in terms of transferring from E3 to H1

    https://visacoach.org/2012/06/19/e3-visa-2012-common-questions-answered/

    5. If you have a Green Card PERM Application while on E-3 Visa is it a good idea to switch to the H-1B Visa?

    This is an interesting question and one which we try to answer in this E3 Visa and Green Card post. While it is not explicitly forbidden to have an open PERM application on the E-3 Visa, it is also not explicitly allowed like the dual intent provision with the H-1B visa. Hence it often happens that the E-3 visa holder will switch to the H-1B visa to prevent any off change of a future E-3 visa denial.

  39. Hi.I am Iman and I m from Iran.first of all sorry for writing if I have mistake.I want to immigrate to usa by eb3 visa and I will make contract with an agent from Nimaria company from canada.1_I want to ask if you know this company is approved by canada and us government.2_is it posibel for iranian peopel that immigrate to usa by eb3 visa…I asked that because I was read in some sites that it is forbiden for Iranian peopel.3_shall I pey 45.000$ to this company to do my case and get a requst job from a us comany to get me eb3 visa…please help me becuse I am very comfused and I really need some one give me some help and direction!!…thank you so much

  40. Hi CJ,
    i m on E3 visa working in US since 2007 and till now i haven’t filed for GC thinking that its not allowed but reading few articles online, talking to attorney and friends i asked my current employer to start processing GC on E3. So they just started the process but i question is i m safe on E3 while i have GC process going on especially during extensions and renewals. i know that E3 is not a dual intent but at the same time i read online that many people got GC approved on E3 and didn’t have any issues during renewals.

  41. Hi CJ,

    I also have similar question like jay asked. I am on E3 visa and had done an extension. Am I safe on E3 while i have GC process going on especially during extensions and renewals.

  42. CJ Great site, packed with information.

    Hi Jay/Shah,

    I am looking to gain employment in the states through an E-3 visa. Currently researching about companies and the process, and have some engagements lined up. I do have some concern on the E-3 non dual intent clause, as I am potentially looking to emigrate due to the vast amount of opportunities available in the US when compared to down under. Would love to get in touch with yous, appreciate if you could drop me note, my nick name – at – google’s electronic m@il. Ta

  43. Hi

    I have got offer from us company and processing e-3 now. Can i get green card with E-3 without h1b visa? My company would suggested that I would better transfer e-3 to h1b for greencard.
    Have someone take greencard wiht e-3 visa?

    Thanks

    Young

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