EB-2 NIW vs EB-3 visas: which is the best option?

EB-2 NIW vs EB-3 visas: which is the best option?

EB-2 NIW vs EB-3 visas: 4 minutes read

In the complex world of immigration to the United States, choosing the right visa can be a crucial step in achieving both professional and personal goals. In this article, we will do a detailed exploration so that you can analyze these two employment-based visa options: the EB-3 visa also known as the PERM Labor Certification and the EB-2 visa with National Interest Waiver. 

The choice between these two options should as much as possible be made in conjunction with an experienced attorney who can more accurately examine the applicant’s profile and recommend which is the most appropriate and thus achieve the best results. 

EB-2 NIW Visa

The EB-2 NIW (National Interest Waiver) visa is an employment-based visa category that allows professionals with advanced degrees or exceptional skills to bypass the traditional process of finding an employer to sponsor them in order to  



  1. Have advanced degrees or exceptional skills in your industry. 

  2. Demonstrate that the knowledge and or value proposition is of national interest and will benefit the country. 
  3. Must present evidence to support your ability and skills in your industry. 

  4. You must demonstrate merit of national importance that you can be exempted from labor certification.

The benefits of this visa include the labor certificate waiver, which means that the applicant does not need a job offer to qualify. In addition, this visa offers shorter processing times. It is ultimately an excellent opportunity for professionals seeking to migrate to the United States who meet the application criteria.   

EB-3 Visa

The EB-3 visa is also an employment-based visa category that allows skilled, professional, technical and other workers to obtain U.S. residency in the United States. Eligibility requirements for this visa are classified according to the subcategory in which the applicant is identified.  

The EB-3 A visa

Is for those professionals who possess an educational degree equivalent to or higher than the normal job requirement.   

EB-3 B visa:

For those skilled workers with at least 2 years of work experience or academic training.  

EB-3 C visa:

For those unskilled workers who can perform unskilled labor in a job that is not temporary or seasonal, for which no competent worker is available within the United States. 

The selection criteria for this visa include an offer of full-time employment, a labor certification, and a demonstration to the DOL that the foreign worker is qualified to perform the job, that there is no worker with the same skills within the country, and that the foreign worker has the necessary work and educational experience.  

The benefits of the EB-3 visa are; the possibility of obtaining U.S. residency and the opportunity to work full time in the United States. It is important to note that the application process is complex and requires careful preparation, detailing the evidence supporting the applicant’s ability and capacity.  


Direct comparison between the two visa categories:

Does not require a job offer to qualify or labor certification issued by the DOL (Department of Labor).
Has a higher processing priority2 than EB-3, meaning that the applicant may receive a decision sooner.
Requires a full-time job offer and a labor certification.
Has a lower processing priority than EB-2 NIW so applicants may face longer waiting times. Wait times can also be long, especially for unskilled workers.

Which visa should you apply for?  

This will depend on the unique needs and profile of the applicant. Here are some things to consider:  


  • The level of education, plus academic and job skills.   


  • The availability of a valid job offer.  


  • The processing priority and wait times that best accommodate the applicant’s situation.  


  • In the case of EB-2 NIW, the ability to demonstrate substantial merit and national importance to the United States

In summary, both EB-2 national interest and EB-3 or PERM are viable options for foreign workers seeking to immigrate to the United States through work, academic skills and work experience. The choice is not always simple, but an informed decision in conjunction with an experienced attorney can give more assurance that you are taking the right path to achieve your professional and personal goals in the United States.  

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