If you or your employee or client is planning to file for EB2 visa status, make sure that the education meets requirements for this particular classification. EB2 visa processing time is very long, and filing a petition that is doomed is a waste of time, money, and peace of mind for everyone.
When looking at whether or not EB2 educational requirements are met, carefully read what CIS accepts as equivalencies. Different visas have different parameters around what education and experience combinations are permitted to meet visa requirements. This, alongside CIS approval trends, paves the way to an RFE or worse in a hurry if you rush forward unaware.
The Degree must EXACTLY fit the job title on the PERM
One common mistake in EB2 filing occurs when a candidate’s education does not exactly match the job title on the PERM. In the past, CIS has allowed candidates with degrees in fields related to their job to have their visas approved, but educational standards have tightened. This means if you have, or if your employee or client has a degree in a field that doesn’t exactly fit the field of employ, you cannot simply file as is. EB2 occupations are highly specialized, and you need to clearly show CIS that you have, or your employee or client has the precise skills and knowledge necessary to excel at the job. This means having education specialized to the profession. If this is you situation, or your employee or client’s situation, have a credential evaluator with experience working with EB2 petitions review the education and work experience. With the proper conversions, documentation, and citations, you may be able to get the evaluation needed to account for the proper degree specialization.
The Bachelor’s Degree must be a SINGLE SOURCE
If the bachelor’s or master’s degree is not an exact match for the job title on the PERM, or if you or your employee or client has a three-year bachelor’s degree, or anything other than a straightforward US education that fits the field of employ, DO NOT file without a credential evaluation. The purpose of this is to explain that the candidate holds the educational value equivalency of the education required by CIS to meet EB2 eligibility requirements. However, this leads into another common problem EB2 candidates face: the bachelor’s degree must be a SINGLE SOURCE. Unlike other visas, you cannot combine work experience and college credit to make the bachelor’s degree or master’s degree equivalency in the correct specialization. However, CIS does accept a work experience conversion of ONLY years of work experience in the field into enough years of college credit to meet CIS requirements for bachelor’s degree equivalency. Talk to a credential evaluator with the authority to convert years of work experience into college credit to see if you have, or your employee or client has the background necessary for this solution.
EB2 processing time is years shorter than the time it takes to process EB3 petitions. For this reason, candidates are tempted to try to meet EB2 requirements even if they do not. DO NOT BE TEMPTED BY THIS. It is a waste of time. However, if the EB2 educational requirements can be met, definitely take advantage of this. Before you file, have a credential evaluator with extensive experience working with EB2 cases and EB2 RFEs review your case, or your employee or client’s case and see if you can clearly meet the requirements for this visa. If the education and work experiences fit, congratulations! Go for it.
About the Author
Sheila Danzig is the Executive Director of TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.