Documents Needed to File for an EB-3 Employment Visa

A handy checklist of the documents an employer needs to gather to submit along with the I-140 petition for a third-preference worker.

When an employer files an initial petition (Form I-140) for an EB-3 worker to receive a green card, it must include a large number of supporting documents. These serve to prove that the would-be immigrant has the necessary background and qualifications to apply in the Third Preference worker category and that this background is a match for the offered job.

For starters, regardless of subcategory, most petitions for EB-3 workers must include an original and one copy of the certified Application for Permanent Employment Certification (Form ETA-9089), also known as the "labor certification."

The employer will also need a Prevailing Wage Determination (Form ETA-9041), which is obtained through the Department of Labor. (There are some exceptions to the labor certification requirement, however, as discussed later in the article.)

If the position requires specific experience, the employee will need letters from the employee's current and former employers that document it. The letter should be written on company letterhead, or at least contain the name, address, and title of the writer, and must list the employee's specific duties in the job.

The packet also must include proof that the employer can pay the worker. Usually this is proven with tax returns and financial statements for the business.

That's just the minimum that's required in all categories, however. Below is a handy checklist of other documents needed for each subcategory of the EB-3 employment visa.

In the Skilled Worker Subcategory (EB-31)

If the employee is seeking a green card as a skilled worker, the I-140 petition must include:

  • Evidence that the employee meets the educational requirements, training, and/or experience needed for the job, as listed on the labor certification (minimum of two years training or experience).

In the Professional Workers Subcategory (EB-32)

If the employee is seeking a green card as a professional worker, the I-140 petition must include:

  • Evidence that the employee has a U.S. bachelor's degree,or equivalent foreign degree.
  • Evidence of professional certification, if applicable.
  • Evidence of prior experience, if required for the job, and
  • Evidence that a bachelor's degree is normally required for the job.

In the Unskilled Worker Subcategory (EW-3)

If the employee is seeking a green card as an unskilled worker, the I-140 petition must include:

  • Evidence that the employee meets any educational, training, or experience requirements of the job, as listed in the labor certification.

If Employer Did Not Seek Labor Certification Because It's a "Schedule A" Job

Regardless of which subcategory the worker is in, the employer might have been able to skip the labor certification part of the process if the job is one listed on "Schedule A." If so, documents to add to the I-140 petition include:

  • An original and one copy of Application for Permanent Employment Certification (Form ETA-9089). The form need not be certified, but must be signed by an authorized official of the petitioning company.
  • A prevailing wage determination (Form ETA-9141) certified by the Department of Labor.
  • Evidence of compliance with the posting/union notification requirements, including a copy of the posted notice and of any in-house postings via electronic or other media.
  • Evidence that notice of filing the Application for Permanent Employment Certification was provided to the bargaining representative of the employer's employees,if applicable, and
  • Evidence that the employee meets the educational, training, and experience requirements, as listed in the labor certification.

Below is a checklist of other documents that must be included, depending on the subcategory:

    Physical Therapists (Subcategory of Group I)

    For physical therapists, submit either:

    • Copy of a U.S. state physical therapist license, or
    • Letter from the state physical therapy licensing agency stating that the therapist meets all the qualifications to sit for the state exam.

    Registered Nurses (Subcategory of Group I)

    For registered nurses, submit either:

    • Copy of a full and unrestricted state nursing license to practice in the state where the nurse will be employed
    • Copy of the nurse's certificate from the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS), or
    • Evidence that the nurse has passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN).

    Group II: Exceptional Ability in the Arts or Sciences

    For Group II applicants on the Schedule A list, submit either:

    • Documentary evidence showing the widespread acclaim and international recognition accorded the person by recognized experts in the field.
    • Documentation showing that the employee's work in the artistic or scientific field during the past year did, and his or her intended work in the United States will, require exceptional ability.
    • At least two of the following:
      • Documents proving that the employee has won internationally recognized prizes or awards in his or her field of work.
      • Documents showing membership in selective international associations—associations that require outstanding achievement of their members, as judged by recognized international experts.
      • Articles about the employee's work appearing in relevant professional publications, including the title, date, and author of such published material.
      • Documents proving that the employee has acted as a judge in international competitions in the field or an allied field.
      • Evidence of original scientific or scholarly research contributions, which were of major significance in the field.
      • Copies of scientific or academic articles by the employee that have been published in international journals (including professional journals with international circulation).
      • Documents proving that the employee's artistic work has been exhibited in at least two different countries.

    Performing artists must additionally provide:

    • Documentary evidence that their work experience did require, and the intended work in the United States will require, exceptional ability, such as:
      • Documentation showing current widespread acclaim and international recognition, and receipt of internationally recognized prizes or awards for excellence.
      • Published material by or about the artist, such as critical reviews or articles in major newspapers, periodicals, and/or trade journals (including the title, date, and author of such material).
      • Documentary evidence that the artist's earnings have been commensurate with claimed level of ability.
      • Playbills and star billings.
      • Documents showing the outstanding reputation of the theaters, concert halls, night clubs, and other establishments in which the artist has appeared or is scheduled to appear.
      • Documents showing the outstanding reputation of theaters or repertory companies, ballet troupes, orchestras, or other organizations in which or with which the artist has performed during the past year in a leading or starring capacity.

    For more information, see EB-3 Visa for Professional, Skilled, or Unskilled Workers.

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