In Florida, the unemployment rate in January 2019 was 3.4. Many U.S. citizens are gainfully employed in the state. But citizens aren’t the only ones who benefit from the low unemployment rate. The job market is strong, and there is plenty of work for foreign workers.If you’re a worker in a foreign country, you may be able to obtain an EB-3 green card. This visa gives permanent residency to people who meet certain employment criteria. To improve your chance at a good outcome, you should contact a Florida immigration lawyer. The Florida Immigration Law Counsel can take you through the process.
What are the Requirements for EB-3 Visas?
There are three basic types of workers who can qualify for EB-3 visas. First, there are skilled workers. These individuals must have a minimum of two years of training. They also must be obtaining a job that cannot be filled by qualified U.S. workers. Finally, they need a labor certification and an offer for a permanent, full-time position.
Certain professionals are also eligible for this visa. They need to have a U.S. Bachelor’s degree or the foreign equivalent of one. Additionally, the job they were offered must have no U.S. prospects. Unlike some other visas, this one does not allow the applicants to substitute experience for education. They also need a job offer and labor certification.
Finally, unskilled workers can apply for an EB-3. They need to be capable of doing unskilled labor. The job must not be temporary or seasonal, and there must be no available U.S. workers to fill the position. Much like professionals and skilled workers, unskilled workers need a labor certification and a permanent job offer.
When Can a Visa Be Denied?
In some cases, the immigration office denies the visa request. All of the following are potential reasons for them to deny or reject your petition:
- The information on the petition was inaccurate or inconsistent
- You did not pass the background check
- The petition was incomplete
- You did not pay the filing fee properly
- Your job title or employer does not meet the requirements
If you have a minor error on your application, you can fix the mistake and refile your petition. But a denial can be more serious. To refile, you need more or different documentation. Instead of refiling, you can make an appeal or a motion to reopen your case.
The Application Process
Before you can begin the application process, you need to collect all of your necessary documents. You also need to find an employer who will sponsor you throughout the process. They have the challenging task of obtaining the labor certification. The employer needs to prove that there are no qualified U.S. workers who can fill the position. If successful, the Department of Labor will issue a PERM Labor Certification.
After receiving the certification, the employer must file an I-140 form. Then, the waiting begins. It could take months or even years for the government to let you move on to the next step. You receive a priority date and cannot proceed until your date is current. Countries like China and India tend to have the longest waits.
When you’re allowed to move forward, you can file the form I-485. This lets you change your status. As soon as the form is approved, you can be a legal permanent resident.
If you’re not in the United States, you cannot file the I-485. Instead, you need to do consular processing. You will be required to do an interview with an officer at the U.S. embassy or consulate in your country. Additionally, you will need to fill out an online immigrant visa application.
How Long Does the Whole Process Take?
It’s impossible to say how long it will take for your visa to be approved or denied. This is because there are multiple details that can influence the process.
Typically, the labor certification takes several months. If there are no issues, it can take approximately eight months. But this can be extended if the employer is required to be supervised or audited. In some cases, it can take two years for them to receive the certification.
The I-140 can take about six months, but the timeline depends on the number of cases at the service center. You may be able to expedite this step with an extra fee for premium processing.
One of the longest waits is for the priority date. It can be as short as two months, or longer than ten years. Typically, the time depends on where you come from.
Lastly, the I-485 form can take about six months to be processed. The whole process from start to finish can take anywhere from 14 months to 15 years. The best way to learn about your potential wait is to speak to an attorney. After they hear about your situation, they can give you a better estimate.
The Cost of the EB-3
There are several fees associated with this visa. First, you need to pay a basic filing fee. The cost is $700 for all applicants.
The second fee is for the filing of the I-485. However, this fee varies based on the applicant’s age. The fee can be as low as $750 or as high as $1,140.
You should also consider the costs of attorney fees. Although you don’t need an attorney to file, you could benefit from working with one. The fees vary depending on the firm and how much time they spend on your case.
Another expense comes in the form of consular processing. If you’re not in the U.S., you need to have an interview. This process costs $230 and $88 for sponsorship.
Do You Need a Florida Immigration Lawyer?
The EB-3 process can be overwhelming. If you make one small mistake, you could ruin your plans for immigration. By working with an immigration attorney, you can get peace of mind. Rather than leaving your application up to chance, you can rest easy knowing it’s in good hands. Contact us at the Florida Immigration Law Counsel and let us handle your petition.