The EB-2 and EB-3, two employment-based visas, are the most sought-after visas. This year, there were extra employment-based visas rolled over from unused family-based visas from the COVID-19 Pandemic due to worldwide embassy closures.
EB-2 visas carry an advanced degree requirement, meaning the beneficiary must hold a US master’s degree or higher or its equivalent. However, for beneficiaries with only a bachelor’s degree, there is still an option to meet eligibility requirements. Since EB-2 visas carry significantly shorter processing times, if the option to pursue this visa is viable, beneficiaries and their sponsors should opt for it. Here’s how:
USCIS considers five years of progressive work experience FOLLOWING the attainment of a bachelor’s degree to be the equivalent of a master’s degree. That means if the beneficiary earned a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, and THEN endeavored five years of work experience in which they took on more responsibility and the nature of their work became increasingly complex and specialized, they would meet EB-2 education qualifications.
If this is your situation, or your employee or client’s situation, go for EB-2! However, there are still some pesky details along the way to be aware of:
- The five years of progressive work experience following attainment of a bachelor’s degree must have been completed BEFORE the sponsor files the LCA, and in most cases none of the post-degree work experience can have been performed for the sponsoring employer.
- If the bachelor’s degree was earned outside of the United States, a credential evaluation will be required to show the US academic value of the degree. Since the bachelor’s degree must be a single source to meet EB-2 standards, progressive work experience CANNOT be combined with a three-year bachelor’s degree to meet this equivalency. If this is the case, twelve years of progressive work experience can be converted into a full bachelor’s degree with an evaluation written by a professor authorized to grant college credit for work experience. This equivalency must be FOLLOWED BY an additional five years of progressive work experience.
- The offered position must require a master’s degree or higher to meet EB-2 qualifications.
- The listing for the position must clearly state that a master’s degree or higher OR a bachelor’s degree followed by five years of progressive work experience in the field is the minimum educational qualification for the job.
For EB-2, the advanced degree option is one of three ways to qualify. The second way to qualify is through Exceptional Ability by meeting three of seven criteria as specified by USCIS, and the third is through a National Interest Waiver.
If you, or if your employee or client qualifies for an EB-2 visa, let us review your case before you file to make sure the education is in order. At CCI TheDegreePeople.com we work with professors authorized to grant college credit for work experience, and all of our evaluations are written uniquely to fit the education, the employment, the visa requirements, and the work experience.
For a free review of your case visit www.ccifree.com. We will respond in 4 hours or less.
Sheila Danzig is the director of CCI TheDegreePeople.com. Sheila specializes in overturning RFEs and Denials for work visas.