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Greencard EB3 to EB2 Conversion

The Employment-Based EB3 Green Card Category for Indians and people around the world is moving at such a slow pace that some are saying it will take around 70 years for applicants in this category to get permanent residence in the United States.

Unfortunately at this pace it is impossible to predict if the waiting time will be reduced. Many are now disillusioned about any legislation which will reduce the waiting time. One possible solution is to convert your category from EB3 to EB2.

The Gehi Law Firm receives many inquiries about EB3 to EB2 conversion as to whether it is possible for an individual with an employment-based, third preference (EB3) case to change to the employment-based, second preference (EB2) category. As explained in this article, it is possible for many some people to make this transition. When combined with the potential to retain the priority date from the earlier employment-based (EB) case, this can be a powerful tool for qualified individuals to obtain permanent residence, or the “green card,” much earlier.

We offer reasonable fees and extensive immigration services to corporates. Call us today at718.269.5999 or email at corporates@gehilaw.com to discuss your Employment-based Green Card cases. We are available to meet you in person or help you organize an immigration seminar at your corporate location.

No Simple change from EB3 to EB2

Often individuals ask whether their current EB3 cases can somehow be converted to EB2s. They will usually mention that they had enough education and/or experience to meet the EB2 requirements at the time the EB3 case was filed. The answer to this is simply, “No.” The EB category of any labor certification-based case is set at the beginning, when the labor certification is prepared and filed. The category depends on the requirements specified in the labor certification. If these requirements are at the EB3 level, then the case is filed as an EB3, even if the foreign national beneficiary may have qualifications in terms of the education and work experience sufficient for an EB2 level job.

New EB2 Case Filing

It is possible for an individual with an EB3 case to have the existing employer / sponsor or a new employer file a new case in the EB2 category. Of course, the new position must meet the EB2 requirements, and the individual must qualify for the offered position. The starting point must always be with the job requirements, not one’s own education and experience. It is the job that must fit within the EB2 category, as the law requires that the employer specify the minimum education and other qualifications for the specific job. Then, of course, the beneficiary must be able to establish that s/he meets the education and experience required for the job.

New EB2 Filing with Job Change

It is not unusual for an individual with an EB3 case to qualify for EB2. This happens when one acquires additional education and/or experience through the years during which the EB3 case has been pending. Over time, people often are promoted into jobs that may meet the EB2 requirements. Typically, questions about potentially changing to EB2 come from individuals who have reached the point where they have filed their I-485s. They have waited for a number of years, but are suffering under the enormous waiting times in the EB3 category. Many have used AC21 to change jobs, are advancing in their careers, and now hold jobs that could meet the EB2 standards.

EB2 Filing can be with Existing or New Employer

As explained above, in order to move from EB3 to EB2 it is necessary to start over with an entirely new labor certification. This often is filed through a new employer, when an individual has moved to a different job. It potentially could be filed through the same employer that filed the EB3 labor certification. This could be appropriate if one obtained a promotion or otherwise moved into an EB2 job. If filing through the same employer, the employee ideally should have completed the minimum years of work experience for the EB2 position before starting work with the current employer. This is because there are legal issues and potential restrictions when relying on the experience gained with the same employer to qualify for the new job. These issues should be analyzed and discussed with an attorney experienced and knowledgeable immigration law.

Retaining Earlier Priority Date with New Case Filing

The greatest benefit to utilizing the strategy of re-filing comes in the potential to retain the priority date from the EB3 case. This option exists if the EB3 I-140 petition has been approved. If so, then it is possible to request retention of this priority date in the later-filed EB2 case. This means that it potentially is possible to transfer the earlier EB3 priority date to the later-filed EB2 case with a new or the same employer. In many cases, this means that the individual could have a current or closer-to-current priority date, thus saving many years of waiting to become eligible for permanent residence.

There are some issues with respect to retention of the priority date if the I-140 has been revoked. Generally, however, it is the policy of the USCIS to allow the retention and transfer of the earlier priority date if the I-140 petition has not been revoked by the USCIS for fraud or misrepresentation.

Is EB3 Filing Impacted by New EB2?

Most people inquiring about this option are concerned about any potential risks to their current EB3 cases. There are some procedural options with respect to the final step in the re-filed cases. However, it is possible to process the new case without risk of disruption to the EB3 case. This assumes that all information provided in the course of the prior filing was accurate.

A new labor certification filing, even if not approved, would not disrupt a prior approval. The same holds true for an I-140 filing. Conversely, approvals of the labor certification and I-140 do not disrupt or displace existing approvals. It is possible to have multiple approvals of labor certifications and I-140s for the same individual. Even when the request to retain the earlier priority date from the EB3 case is granted, the prior EB3 case remains undisturbed. There is nothing transferred or taken away from the EB3 case in the process of requesting that the EB2 case be assigned the same priority date.

At the final stage, there are options as to how to complete the case. The pros and cons should be discussed with a qualified Immigration Lawyer.

At the Gehi Law Firm, we have successfully utilized the strategy discussed in this article for many of our clients by filing for each a new EB2 case with the same or a new employer. While it requires starting over with a new labor certification, for many it offers a significant advantage in terms of timing when the earlier priority date can be retained.

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