Are you looking to get an employment-based visa? If so, you may have heard of EB-2 and EB-3 visas. Both are permanent residency visas, green cards, for skilled professionals and academics. There are, however, marked differences between the two. Here, we will detail some of the more prominent differences between the two in an attempt to help guide you towards the one that may best suit your needs and situation.

What is the Difference Between an EB-2 and EB-3 Green Card?

An EB-2 Green Card is for those professionals who hold an advanced degree or equivalent. An EB-2 is the second preference category. Alternatively, the professional can be considered of exceptional ability, possessing expertise above that which you may ordinarily encounter in the fields of science, medicine, arts, business, or athletics. To be considered eligible for an EB-2 Green Card, you must be seeking a job position that requires an advanced degree or its equivalent that you yourself possess. Alternatively, you will be able to demonstrate exceptional ability in one of the previously mentioned categories.

Those looking to go through the process of obtaining an EB-2 Green Card may be able to seek a National Interest Waiver (“NIW”). The NIW is essentially a request to waive the requirement of obtaining a PERM Labor Certification before being granted the visa because it would be in the best interest of the U.S. for the applicant to be employed. The ability to apply for a National Interest Waiver means that a person can self-petition for an EB-2 Green Card. There would be no requirement for an employer to file a petition on his or her behalf. USCIS, however, imposes high levels of scrutiny on National Interest Waivers.

If a person is granted an EB-2 Green Card, his or her family has visa options as well. A spouse of an EB-2 Green Card recipient may be admitted to the U.S. with an E-21. Minor children can enter with an E-22. Additionally, the spouse of an EB-2 Green Card recipient may even apply for an Employment Authorization Document so that he or she is permitted to legally work in the U.S.

An EB-3 Green Card, on the other hand, is an employment-based visa for those job seekers looking for employment that requires a minimum of 2 years of training or experience. It is also the Green Card Classification for professionals whose prospective jobs require a baccalaureate degree or equivalent as well as other unskilled workers. An unskilled worker is said to be one applying for jobs requiring less than 2 years to be considered proficient at the work. An EB-3 is the third preference category.

EB-3 Green Card applicants are less scrutinized than EB-2 visa applications because there is a lower threshold to be met. Skilled worker applicants must be applying for a job that requires a minimum of 2 years of job experience or training. Professionals applying for the EB-3 visa Green Card classification must be pursuing a job that requires a baccalaureate degree or foreign equivalent and the applicant himself or herself must be a member of the profession. Unskilled workers applying for an EB-3 classification for the Green Card must be applying for a position that a person can qualify for with less than 2 years of training, but are not temporary or seasonal jobs. Furthermore, a PERM labor certification will need to be obtained to show that there are no qualified workers who can fill the position already available in the U.S.

Immigration Law Attorneys

If you should have any questions or need more information about the ways in which the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Laws may impact you, your family, your friends or your colleagues, please contact the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers at the NPZ Law Group – VISASERVE – U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers by e-mailing us at or by calling us at 201-670-0006 (x104). You can also visit our Law Firm’s website at