PERM EB-2 and EB-3

PERM EB-2 and EB-3

PERM Labor Certification

Program Electronic Review Management (PERM) is the system used for obtaining labor certification and is the first step for certain foreign nationals in obtaining an employment-based immigrant visa (“green card”). This is also known as PERM labor certification. The employment-based preference categories that require PERM labor certification are EB-2 (other than a National Interest Waiver) and EB-3. Before a U.S. employer can file an immigration petition for a foreign worker with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in most EB-2 and EB-3 positions, the employer must first obtain an approved labor certification from the Department of Labor (DOL). An application for labor certification is submitted to the DOL by using ETA Form 9089. The DOL must certify to the USCIS both that there are not sufficient U.S. workers able, willing, qualified, and available to accept the job offered the alien at the prevailing wage for that occupation in the area of intended employment, and that employment of the foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. In a green card case based on a labor certification, there are two possible category options: EB2 and EB3.


An EB-2 petition is an employment-based 2nd preference petition for a foreign professional with an advanced degree or its equivalent (master degree or higher), or a foreign national who has exceptional ability in the sciences, arts, or business. In some instances, a professional with a Bachelor’s degree and five years of progressively responsible experience in the job being offered may be considered to possess the equivalent of a Master’s degree in the field.

  • Advanced degree EB-2: Documentation, such as an official academic record showing that an alien has a U.S. advanced degree or a foreign equivalent degree, or an official academic record showing that an alien has a U.S. baccalaureate degree or a foreign equivalent degree and letters from current or former employers showing that an alien has at least 5 years of progressive post-baccalaureate work experience in the specialty.


  • Exceptional Ability EB-2:

o   Official academic record showing that an alien has a degree, diploma, certificate, or similar award from a college, university, school, or other institution of learning relating to an alien’s area of exceptional ability;

o   Letters documenting at least 10 years of full-time experience in an alien’s occupation ;

o   A license to practice an alien’s profession or certification for an alien’s profession or occupation;

o   Evidence that an alien has commanded a salary or other remuneration for services that demonstrates an alien’s exceptional ability;

o   Membership in a professional association(s);

o   Recognition for an alien’s achievements and significant contributions to an alien’s industry or field by an alien’s peers, government entities, professional or business organiyouzations;

o   Other comparable evidence of eligibility is also acceptable.


An EB-3 petition is an employment-based 3rd preference petition for a foreign national employee who has a Bachelor’s degree, or, if not possessing a degree, is a skilled worker, meaning the foreign national has at least two years of work experience for the job being offered. Additionally, there is a sub-category for unskilled workers that requires less than two years’ experience.

  • Skilled Workers: An alien must be able to demonstrate at least 2 years of job experience or training and must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.
  • Professionals: An alien must be able to demonstrate that an alien possesses a U.S. baccalaureate degree or foreign degree equivalent, and that a baccalaureate degree is the normal requirement for entry into the occupation and must be performing work for which qualified workers are not available in the United States; Education and experience may not be substituted for a baccalaureate degree.
  • Unskilled Workers (Other Workers): An alien must be capable, at the time the petition is filed on his or her behalf, of performing unskilled labor (requiring less than 2 years training or experience), that is not of a temporary or seasonal nature, for which qualified workers are not available in the United States.
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