PERM-Based EB-2 and EB-3 green cards are employment-based immigrant visas.  It requires a US employer sponsor and has a series of lengthy and complicated procedures. The first stage in a labor certification-based green card process is the filing of the PERM labor certification. This application is filed with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).


PERM (Program Electronic Review Management) refers to the electronic labor certification system. Labor certification (not to be confused with the Labor Condition Application – LCA) is required when the US employer wishes to hire the foreign worker on a permanent basis.  In brief, the PERM process requires the petitioning employer to conduct a series of recruitment activities to test the labor market before filing a labor certification application. If, during the recruitment process, the employer finds that there is not a sufficient number of able, qualified, and willing applicants, whether U.S. citizens or permanent residents, then the employer can submit a PERM labor certification application.


The EB2 classification is for those positions offered to individual who is a member of the professions holding advanced degrees or its equivalent, or a foreign national who has exceptional ability.  Sub-categories:

advanced degree

The job must require an advanced degree and the foreign worker must possess such a degree or its equivalent (a baccalaureate degree plus 5 years progressive work experience in the field).

exceptional ability

The foreign worker must be able to show exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or businesses. Exceptional ability means “a degree of expertise significantly above that ordinarily encountered in the sciences, arts, or businesses.” The foreign worker must meet at least three of the criteria listed on the USCIS website.

national interest waiver (NIW) (perm waived)

Aliens seeking a National Interest Waiver are requesting that the Labor Certification be waived because it is in the interest of the United States. NIWs are usually granted to those who have exceptional ability (see above) and whose employment in the United States would greatly benefit the nation. Those seeking a national interest waiver may self-petition (they do not need an employer to sponsor them) and may file their labor certification directly with USCIS along with their Form I-140.


The EB3 classification incorporates skilled workers and professionals. In addition, EB3 has a sub-category of other workers. Although all three of these types are assigned to the EB3 classification, typically, those filed as EB3 other workers are subject to an even longer wait for their priority dates to become current.

EB3 for Skilled Workers

The skilled workers classification is for individuals with at least two years training or experience not of a temporary or seasonal nature.

EB3 for Professionals

The professionals classification is for individuals who hold at least a U.S. bachelor’s degree, or a foreign equivalent, and who are members of the profession. When the USCIS issues a receipt and approval notice in the EB3 category, it usually contains the notation: “Skilled Worker or Professional, Sec 203(b)(3)(A)(i) or (ii).

EB3 for Other Workers

The other workers classification is for individuals who are capable of performing unskilled labor. The employer petitioning to fill a position in this category typically requires less than two years of training or work experience. The notation on the I-797 usually reads, “Other workers Sec. 203(b)(3)(A)(iii).”

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