EB2 – Know if the Education Works Before You File

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Before you, your client, or your employee file for EB2 visa status, make sure that the education meets the requirements for this particular visa. Filing for EB2 instead of EB3 is preferential to beneficiaries because the turnaround waiting time for EB3 can take as long as a decade. However, if your education – or your client’s or employee’s education – does not meet EB2 requirements in the first place, time and effort is wasted anyway. These visas require advanced degrees or their equivalencies, and education requirements on the PERM are very specific when it comes to equivalencies.

There are also situations where you, your employee, or your client may have the right education; it just needs to be evaluated in the proper manner to meet CIS requirements for the EB2 visa. This is where many petitions are met with RFEs. The education must exactly match PERM education requirements. One common cause for an RFE stems from the requirement that a Bachelor’s degree equivalency must be a SINGLE SOURCE. Unlike educational requirements for other work visas, your Bachelor’s degree equivalency cannot combine work experience with your degree. This especially becomes a problem for beneficiaries with three-year Bachelor’s degrees. CIS does, however, accept a Bachelor’s degree equivalency from performing a conversion of years of progressive work experience into college credit hours. When you have a credential evaluator look at your education, or the education or your client or employee, have him or her also take a look at your client’s work experience to see if this conversion can be substituted for their Bachelor’s degree to meet PERM requirements.

There are situations where a beneficiary’s education simply does not – even with a detailed credential evaluation – meet EB2 requirements. For example, it is not uncommon for beneficiaries to claim that their high school diploma is a college degree, either because they are lying or by mistake.

When educational documents are translated, the value of the degree can get lost in translation because there is simply no English equivalent to express the degree your client has earned. Bad translations are the cause of much confusion when it comes to meeting educational requirements. You may not catch these translations, but experienced credential evaluators can because they have detailed knowledge of educational structures across cultures. In the case of a bad translation, you, your employee, or your client may actually be qualified for EB2 status. Or they may not be. Do not proceed to file without making absolutely sure.

Some foreign degrees that do not call themselves degrees – such as the Indian Chartered Accountancy Certificate – are actually postsecondary education that meet PERM requirements for a Bachelor’s degree equivalency. Other similar certificates and titles are not actually degrees, such as the Canadian Chartered Accountancy Certificate, or the US CPA certification. It is not always obvious which degree is actually a degree until you get that RFE. The way to determine whether or not your education actually meets the requirements for a postsecondary degree can be determined in the educational steps required to obtain that license or certificate, and the jobs that license or certificate qualifies you, your employee, or your client to work.

Before you file, take your educational documents and work experience to a credential evaluator with experience working with difficult cases and RFEs for a review of your client’s case. Sometimes, your background simply does not fit the educational criteria for this visa. Sometimes, your education will work if the evaluation is carried out properly, in detail, with references to precedents, federal case law, and international trade agreements. The right evaluator for this situation understands the nuances of EB2 visa requirements, as well as CIS trends. For a free assessment of your education, or your employee or client’s education, visit us at www.ccifree.com/.



This article was written by Rebecca Little