Transitioning from H1B Visa to EB3

Global Immigration Partners, PLLC

Navigating the complex world of U.S. immigration can be daunting. Especially when considering a transition from an H1B visa to an EB3 visa.

The H1B visa, a temporary work permit, has been a popular choice for many professionals. However, the allure of permanent residency often leads to exploring the EB3 visa category.

This transition is not a simple switch. It involves a series of steps, each with its own set of rules and requirements. Understanding these can make the process less intimidating.

Our guide aims to shed light on this transition. We’ll delve into the benefits, eligibility criteria, and the step-by-step process of transitioning from an H1B to an EB3 visa.

Whether you’re an H1B visa holder considering this transition, or an HR professional assisting with the process, this guide is for you. Let’s embark on this journey towards permanent residency in the U.S. together.

Understanding H1B and EB3 Visas

Before we delve into the transition process, it’s crucial to understand what H1B and EB3 visas are. These two visas serve different purposes and have distinct eligibility criteria.

The H1B visa is a non-immigrant visa. It allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations. These occupations typically require theoretical or technical expertise.

On the other hand, the EB3 visa is an immigrant visa. It provides a path to permanent residency for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these visas.

What is an H1B Visa?

The H1B visa is a temporary work permit for foreign nationals. It’s designed for occupations that require a high level of specialized knowledge.

Typically, these occupations require a bachelor’s degree or higher. Examples include IT professionals, engineers, and scientists, among others.

What is an EB3 Visa?

The EB3 visa, or Employment-Based Third Preference visa, is for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers. It’s a pathway to permanent residency, also known as a Green Card.

Skilled workers are those with at least two years of job experience or training. Professionals must hold a U.S. bachelor’s degree or a foreign equivalent degree. Other workers are those who perform unskilled labor requiring less than two years of training or experience.

Benefits of Transitioning to EB3

Transitioning from an H1B to an EB3 visa offers several benefits. The most significant is the opportunity to become a permanent resident of the United States. This status comes with many advantages, including the freedom to live and work anywhere in the U.S.

Permanent residents also have more job security. They are not tied to a specific employer and can change jobs without jeopardizing their status. This flexibility can lead to better career opportunities and increased earning potential.

Moreover, permanent residents can sponsor their spouse and unmarried children under 21 for a Green Card. This allows families to stay together in the U.S.

Permanent Residency and Beyond

Obtaining permanent residency is a significant milestone. It’s the penultimate step towards the ultimate goal for many immigrants: U.S. citizenship.

After five years of being a permanent resident, you can apply for U.S. citizenship. As a citizen, you can vote in federal elections and have access to a U.S. passport, among other benefits.

Eligibility Criteria for EB3

The EB3 visa category is designed for skilled workers, professionals, and other workers. Skilled workers are those whose jobs require a minimum of 2 years training or work experience. Professionals are those whose jobs require at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree or a foreign equivalent.

Other workers are those who perform unskilled labor requiring less than 2 years training or experience. However, it’s important to note that this “other workers” category is subject to annual visa caps, which can result in longer waiting times.

The Transition Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

Transitioning from an H1B visa to an EB3 visa involves several steps. Each step is crucial and requires careful attention to detail. The process can be complex and time-consuming, but with the right guidance, it can be navigated successfully.

The first step is obtaining a PERM Labor Certification. Next, you’ll need to file an I-140 petition. The final step involves either an Adjustment of Status or Consular Processing. Let’s delve into each of these steps in more detail.

Step 1: PERM Labor Certification

The PERM Labor Certification is a crucial first step in the transition process. This certification is issued by the Department of Labor (DOL). It verifies that there are not sufficient U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the job.

Also, it confirms that hiring a foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. The employer must conduct a recruitment process to prove these points before filing the PERM application.

Step 2: Filing the I-140 Petition

Once the PERM Labor Certification is approved, the next step is to file the I-140 petition. This petition is filed by the employer with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The purpose of this petition is to demonstrate the employer’s ability to pay the offered wage.

The I-140 petition also establishes the basis for the immigrant visa classification. It’s important to note that the filing of the I-140 petition does not grant any immediate rights or benefits to the foreign worker.

Step 3: Adjustment of Status vs. Consular Processing

The final step in the transition process is either an Adjustment of Status (AOS) or Consular Processing (CP). AOS is an option if the foreign worker is already in the U.S. It involves filing an I-485 application to adjust the foreign worker’s status to a permanent resident.

On the other hand, CP is an option if the foreign worker is outside the U.S. It involves applying for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate in the foreign worker’s home country. Both processes have their own requirements and timelines, and the choice between the two often depends on the foreign worker’s individual circumstances.

Employer’s Role and Legal Responsibilities

The employer plays a significant role in the H1B to EB3 transition process. They are responsible for initiating the PERM Labor Certification and filing the I-140 petition. The employer must also demonstrate their ability to pay the offered wage to the foreign worker.

In addition, the employer has legal obligations to comply with all immigration laws and regulations. This includes maintaining accurate records and providing necessary documentation during the application process. Failure to meet these responsibilities can lead to legal consequences and may jeopardize the success of the visa transition.

Maintaining Legal Status During Transition

During the transition from H1B to EB3, it’s crucial to maintain legal status. This means you must continue to abide by the terms of your H1B visa until your EB3 visa is approved. For instance, you should continue working for your sponsoring employer and avoid any unauthorized employment.

It’s also important to keep track of your visa expiration dates. If your H1B visa is set to expire before your EB3 visa is approved, you may need to apply for an extension. This will help ensure you maintain legal status throughout the transition process.

Strategies to Avoid Pitfalls

The transition from H1B to EB3 can be complex and challenging. However, there are strategies you can employ to avoid common pitfalls. One such strategy is to stay informed about policy changes and updates to immigration laws. This can help you anticipate potential issues and adjust your plans accordingly.

Another strategy is to seek professional advice. An experienced immigration attorney can guide you through the process, help you understand your rights and responsibilities, and assist you in making informed decisions. They can also help you prepare for potential challenges and respond effectively if issues arise.

Conclusion and Next Steps

Transitioning from an H1B visa to an EB3 visa is a significant step towards achieving permanent residency in the United States. It’s a complex process that requires careful planning, thorough preparation, and a deep understanding of immigration laws and procedures.

As you embark on this journey, remember to stay informed, seek professional advice, and maintain a positive outlook. The process may be lengthy and challenging, but the rewards of permanent residency and the potential for citizenship are well worth the effort. Good luck with your transition and your future in the United States.

This Blog was written by:

Global Immigration Partners PLLC, is a specialized immigration law firm.

1717 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC, 20006, United States

Phone: +1 267-507-6078

Book a free consultation

#H1B Visa

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Global Immigration Partners | Transitioning from H1B Visa to EB3

Global Immigration Partners PLLC, is a specialized immigration law firm.

1717 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC, 20006, United States

Phone: +1 267-507-6078

Book a free consultation


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