EB2 or EB3? Know which one before you file!

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When applying for a Green Card, make sure you know which classification your education, or your employee or client’s education falls into before you file. Sometimes the education is not obvious. You can’t always rely on the candidate’s assessment of their credentials. For example, just because you or your employee or client believes the degree to be a Bachelor’s degree does not mean that is correct.

Oftentimes, candidates are tempted to file for EB2 instead of EB3 because the processing time can be years shorter. However, EB2 is scrutinized VERY carefully and requirements surrounding educational equivalencies for this particular visa are very strict and different from EB2. This can sometimes motivate candidates to say that the education is more than it actually is. Sometimes the misunderstanding is a mistake. Don’t take anything for granted, be 100% certain of the education you’re working with. Filing for EB2 with EB3 education successfully is a long shot and should only be done once EB3 is secured.

Before you get too far on the petition, let us review provide a pre-evaluation with all of your options so you can make the right decision about which classification to file for. Simply hit visit ccifree.com and attach the candidate’s resume and educational documents along with the job title or desired academic equivalency. We will get back to you within 24 hours with the pre-evaluation and a full analysis of all of your options.

One major difference between EB2 and EB3 is that EB3 allows for education to be combined, if, and only if it is so stated on the PERM. EB2 requires a single source degree. However, there are some interesting ways “around” it that have worked.

Both EB2 and EB3 visas are Green Card (permanent residency) visas, and the requirements are education-based for academics and skilled professionals. CIS takes two key aspects into account when assessing eligibility for these visas:

  1. The candidate’s job.
  2. The candidate’s education.

For both EB2 and EB3, the job must hold as a minimum requirement the visa’s education requirements, and the candidate must meet these requirements within CIS guidelines for equivalency. That means the candidate must hold the required degree or training for the job, and the degree must be in the exact field of the job.

EB3 is for skilled, unskilled, or professional workers. These requirements are different for the different kinds of jobs. If the job is classified as skilled work, to meet EB3 requirements the job must require at least two years of training or job experience, and the candidate must have this education or experience. For jobs classified as professional, the job must require and the candidate must hold a US bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent in that field. If the job is classified as “other” or unskilled, the job must require and the candidate require less than two years of training, and the job must be permanent to meet CIS requirements for EB3.

As you can see, EB3 is a broad classification that most candidates can meet. EB2 visa requirements are much more strict and have very specific requirements surrounding equivalencies for candidate with degrees from outside of the United States.

To meet EB2 requirements, candidates must either have:

  1. A US bachelor’s degree or a SINGLE SOURCE equivalent FOLLOWED BY five years of progressive work experience in the field, or
  2. A US Master’s Degree or higher or its foreign equivalent.

For candidates with education outside of the United States, meeting EB2 education requirements can be difficult because of the single source equivalency rule. The Bachelor’s degree equivalency must be a single source, so when it comes writing equivalencies for three-year bachelor’s degrees, you or your employee or client may not be able to meet EB2 standards. For example, when we work with H1B visas, when candidates have three-year degrees and at least three years of progressive work experience in the field, we can write a credential evaluation that converts the three years of progressive work experience into one year of college credit in the field, signed off by a professor authorized to issue college credit for work experience. We can then add that additional year to the three-year degree and have what CIS would accept as the equivalency of a US four-year Bachelor’s degree. The does NOT work for EB2 because the Bachelor’s degree must be a single source, so combining years of education with work experience will just result in an RFE or Denial.

If you or your employee or client has a three-year Bachelor’s degree and no additional education, their best option is to file for EB3 as a skilled worker with an Associate’s degree and work experience. Filing for EB2 would be a waste of time.

However, there are situations where a candidate DOES qualify for EB2 with a detailed credential evaluation. Before you get too far on your case or your employee or client’s case, visit ccifree.com and submit the candidate’s educational documents and a current, accurate resume, along with the job or desired equivalency. We will get back to you within 24 hours with a pre-evaluation of the candidate’s education, a full analysis, and an overview of all of your options.

About the Author

Sheila Danzig

Sheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.

This article was written by Rebecca Little

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