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What are the differences between EB-2 and EB-3 visas?

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2023 | Professional Visas

Each year, the U.S. hands out about 140,000 immigrant visas to non-citizens looking to work there. You may be eligible for a visa if you’re a professional with the right work experience and qualifications.

For immigrants looking to work as professionals in the U.S., there are two visas to choose from: EB-2 and EB-3. Which visa is the right one for you?

Employment-based second preference (EB-2) visa

The employment-based, second preference visa is for individuals whose line of work involves having an advanced degree or for those with an “exceptional ability” that makes them stand above their peers in their chosen fields.

Applicants must have documentation of their academic record showing they have an advanced degree (either earned from the U.S. or a foreign equivalent). For those who display exceptional ability, they have to meet several criteria, such as having a letter from a current/former employer that documents at least ten years of full-time job experience; a license for their profession; membership in a professional association; and recognition for their achievements (such as in the form of awards and certifications). In both cases, an employer has to sponsor the EB-2 applicant.

Employment-based second preference (EB-3) visa

Skilled workers (individuals whose jobs have a minimum two-year training or experience requirement) typically apply for the employment-based, third preference visa. Notably, professionals with a U.S. baccalaureate or equivalent foreign degree must also apply for an EB-3 visa.

EB-3 applicants must have proper labor certification and a permanent full-time job offer in the U.S.

An EB-3 visa petition is usually submitted alongside an approved labor certification from the U.S. Department of Labor. U.S.-based employers must also file a form on behalf of the immigrant while proving that they can pay the worker for the amount they had offered.

What sets the two visas apart?

Although the sponsorship process for both visas is almost identical, the main point to keep in mind is that EB-2 is for those with advanced degrees, while EB-3 only requires at least a bachelor’s degree.

If you’re applying for a U.S. visa, keep in mind that the type of visa you should secure is dependent on your academic accomplishments and the nature of your work. And if you have more questions about the application process, don’t hesitate to reach out to an attorney to walk you through the process.