A limited number of EB-3 visas are issued per year. 140,000 immigrant visas are issued for the employment category each fiscal year. Nearly 28.6%, or around 40,040 visas, are allocated for the EB-3 program. Remaining applicants who lie outside of the cap or quota are shuffled back into the lottery for the preceding year until the next drawing occurs.
EB-3 recipients can bring immediate family members with them. A legal spouse of a skilled worker or professional will have access to an E34 visa, whereas the spouse of an “other” worker type can seek admission under an EW-4 visa. Unmarried children under 21 years old will usually come under the E35 for skilled workers and professionals, or under the EW-5 visa for “other” worker types. Spouses have the opportunity to apply for an Employment Authorization Document while waiting for their permanent residency application process to go through. This provides spouses with the opportunity to work freely in the United States.
Because the requirements for the EB-3 visa are lower, this program is more accessible to a diverse group of foreign national guest workers. As a result, the popularity of this program can mean longer waiting and processing times. Here’s a timeline of what to expect when petitioning under the EB-3 program: