eb1 eb2 eb3 green card wait times

Green Card – EB2 with Low Salary vs EB3 with High Salary?

Raghuram Sukumar Green Card 9 Comments

EB2 vs EB3 – Which is Better?

EB3 job with higher salary or EB2 with low paying job?

Employers can sponsor Green Card via Employment Based EB1, EB2 and EB3 category. EB1 is not discussed here for reasons we all know, it’s the fastest route to Green Card and it there’s no long wait time as EB2 and EB3 for Indian and Chinese Nationals. This article should clear some of the assumptions, misinformation and confusion about Green Card via Employment Based categories – EB2 and EB3.

Processing time between EB1, EB2 and EB3 can be compared to a race between Hare, Tortoise, and a Snail.


Let’s get some facts out of the way before we look into a question from a reader about EB2 vs. EB3 Job Offer.

  1. Having Masters Degree doesn’t qualify you for EB2
  2. Employee often doesn’t have the ability to control the Category EB2 vs. EB3
  3. Having Bachelors Degree and 5 Years Experience will not qualify you for EB2
  4. Frustrated with Green Card Wait times? There’s no way around that. Be patient.

EB2 Job vs. EB3 Job Offer

Here’s a question for evaluating potential job offers based on future Green Card category

I am working in H1B Visa with Employer A. I have received a good offer (30% Pay Hike) from an Employer B. But Employer B will apply for Green Card via EB3 and I’m from India.

My current employer will apply for Green Card in EB2 Category.

The problem is my wife is not getting H1B for last 2 years and she has 8 years of experience.

My current employer has offered me to move to L1B (stamp from Canada) so that my wife can work in L2 and file Green Card in EB2. Once I140 is approved they will move me back to H1 so that wife can get H4 EAD.

Some of you might not have the option to pick between two jobs based on Green Card category.

Priorities Based on Visa Category:

Here’s my general observation about the mindset of future EB green card applicants who are in about F1 Visa, H, and L Visas.

  • F1 Visa:  I need to find Financial Aid, Part-Time job, Internship, OPT, Full-Time Job and then H1B Visa.
  • H1B Visa: My friend switched jobs on H1B, and he got 30% pay increase. Sweet, I’m going to find a new job. 3 to 5 years runs out on H1B by switching employers.
  • H1B Visa (5th year): Time is running out, I want my Employer to apply for Green Card in EB2 category.

Note: Some employers apply for Green Card when the company is completing the 4th year or about to start 5th year of H1B Visa.  Maximum allowed H1B period is six years which is given in two, three-year increments.

So, you have to do your research before accepting a job offer. Don’t expect the employer to give in writing (or even via email) on when they would start your Green Card processing.

  • Best Case:  Starting your Green card process within first three years of your H1B Visa.

It’s extremely hard on you and your family if your Green Card processing starts on 5th year on your H1B Visa. Trust Me. There’re so many factors that have to work in your favor to get the H-1B extension beyond six years ( by completing Step 1 and Step 2). Refer to Green Card Steps for EB1, EB2, and EB2. It can take up to 12 months to get your PERM Labor Certification approval. Then followed by I-140 approval (about 30 days).

Learn About the Green Card Process

If I were to ask you about stages of Green Card, would you be able to list the procedure and steps? If you can, that’s great, if not then learn about the Green Card Process.

Here’s why I think you haven’t learned about the process. Necessity.

Test your Green Card process awareness with this 10 question Green Card Quiz.

Here’s my Answer: EB2 vs EB3

  • EB2 vs. EB3 (India or China): Do whatever it takes to get into EB2.

Look for long-term satisfaction not short term gains.

30% increase in salary looks tempting right now. But, you are looking at 15 more years of wait for EB3 (India).

Are you ready to face short-term gain of 30% salary increase and take in depression, uncertainty and lost productivity at work due to long wait times with EB3? You are possibly going to be doing the same job for ten more years to come.

Could you switch jobs during Green Card Process?

You can change employer (and employment) after I-140 approval, but it comes with it’s set of “problem package” and risks.

Plus, people get complacent and comfortable with the same routine, job, employer, lifestyle and don’t want to take the risk to switch the jobs and putting themselves into a new environment.

What happens at the New Employer?

  • Wait for 6 to 12 months
  • Start PERM Labor Certification
  • Complete Recruiting for EB2
  • Get PERM Approval
  • Apply for I-140

Note: About 25 % of applications are audited in Random during PERM Labor (add another one year wait time for that).

So, it can take 2 to 3 years to get I-140 approval.  You have officially ported your Priority Date only when your I-140 is approved with the new employer.  But, every time your application is processed at DOL or USCIS, it’s an opportunity for things to go wrong via RFE or Audits.

While you may have to work with your current employer on low salary for next 4 to 5 years, you can make up the difference with H4 EAD and income from your spouse’s salary.

In the meantime, make yourself valuable to the company. Learn the skills to make yourself better. Find your passion. (One of my favorite Book from Cal Newport – So Good They Can’t Ignore You. This book is must read for any professionals and especially new graduates).

You are going to work for many more years in your career and life, 3 to 5 years of low salary shouldn’t put a dent in your lifetime income.

EB3 with $70,000 for me is short-term thinking. I would prefer to work on $50,000 for EB2.

Think about the wait times and frustrations. EB2 India as per December 2015 Visa Bulletin is April 2004. That’s 11 years wait. I know someone (Indian National) who got Green Card recently (Sep 2015) in EB3 after waiting for 13 years. Based on my experience, I would stay with employer on EB2, unless you are willing to do the following:

  1. Move to the Employer paying higher salary
  2. Wait for 6 months to 1 year
  3. Employer initiates Green Card Process
  4. Get PERM Approval
  5. Get I-140 Approved
  6. Get H4 EAD for your spouse
  7. Then Move to another employer who can apply for EB2 ( who repeats Step 1 to 5)

As easy as it sounds, new employer have to start from PERM Labor Certification, then get I-140 Approval.

This process is going to take about two years, and H4 EAD is now depended on the previous employer not revoking I-140 immigration petition. If the previous employer revokes I-140, then underlying H4 EAD become invalid.


  • Find an employer who can file Green Card within first 3 years of your H1B Visa
  • Stick with an employer for EB2 ( don’t jump ship for pay increase and give up Green Card Processing)
  • Educate yourself about the Green Card Process.


  1. Hello, Mr. Raghuram Sukumar!

    Greetings, Sir. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts regarding this post “Job – Low vs High Salary ( vs Green Card)”. With this, Sir, I would like to some info about the H1B Visa.

    I am a registered nurse in my country, Philippines. Right now, I am taking up MBA in order to get an H1B Visa. I believe that a masters degree is needed for this type of visa. But my problem is how to get an employer in the US to process for my H1B Visa. Can you please share some valuable info as to how I can complete my H1B Visa process and hopefully work in US right after I graduate (estimated year is March of 2017)

    Thank you so much, Sir.

  2. Stay with your current employer and be in EB2 queue rather than in EB3 queue.
    EB3 means you are going to get GC after 15-20 years. And don’t know what will be in store for future. Also it is easy to say I switched and PERM is approved and I140 is approved. But it can vary from 1 yr to 2 yrs based on how USCIS is working now with minimum staff. So most of the things even though are right from filing point of view are going for audits and RFEs.
    Don’t be in a situation where life becomes difficult.
    Just read and analyze and make sure which option will work better for you.

  3. My PERM is approved on EB2 in Nov 24, 2015…. I am in USA now on B2… going to apply I140 in March, 2016… how long it will take for i140 approval, what is approval %?

    1. Author

      i-140 Rejections are pretty rare unless there ‘s huge mistakes in PERM/Application.

  4. Hi there, My name is Rob and my question or would say query that – have an approved I-140, and I wanted to back India ( due to some family constrain) now and have plan to come back after a year or 2, will this action impact on my GC processing? I’m still on H1b status and have 2 n half year to get maxed out yet.

    Thank you!

    1. Author

      GC is done for future jobs. As long as your employer is willing to keep the petition active, you should be able to come back. But, talk you employer’s attorney and if required another consultation on your own to understand the risks.

  5. Hi. I am from the philippines. I got petitioned for an eb2 visa. Howver my employer told me that the cut off dates for the visa bulletin has closed and will resume this october. How will this affect my petition?

  6. I have following situation:

    I have approved I1797 till 2019 Nov.
    I came to India while my project was active but could not get a date for stamping while project was active.
    I do not have any active project so I delayed stamping but most clients consider candidates who are in US.
    So until I come to US I can not get project.

    Can I get stamping based on current I797 while my project is expired ( on SOW past date and no client letter)?

    I have my I140 approved for GC but I am in India EB3 queue.
    If I am not in US and not working with the same employer who filed my GC, does my I 140 still remain valid?
    Does my employer need to withdraw I140 if I am not in US or not working with them or can they let it be?

    If in future I get an employer to file my H1b and they file my GC again can I use same priority date?
    Let’s say after 10 years my date becomes current. If I am not in US at that time can I still apply for I485 even if I do not have valid H1b at that time?

Leave a Comment - Your Thoughts Counts