bachelor degree

TN Visa Applications: Is Immigration Permitted?

NAFTA). These visas are called TN visas, and are issued to people with professional qualifications who want to seek temporary work in the U.S. Citizens of Canada are granted TN-1 Visas, while Mexican citizens may qualify for TN-2 visas. To obtain a TN visa, professionals must demonstrate that they have foreign degrees that are the U.S. equivalencies of a Bachelor Degree for most fields. In certain areas, such as computer science, an Associate Degree plus two years of work experience equivalency may be substituted for a four-year degree. The equivalency must be determined through the completion of a foreign education credentials evaluation completed by a foreign education credentials evaluation agency accepted or approved by the USCIS. In addition to a foreign credentials evaluation that demonstrates adequate professional qualifications, however, the applicant has to provide strong documentation that he or she intends to remain in the United States only temporarily. That is because the USCIS presumes that any person who is a citizen of a foreign country who is entering the United States is doing so with the intent to remain there permanently. Although a person may express a possible future intent to immigrate, it must not be during the length of the TN visa. People can offer many different types of evidence that they do not intend to immigrate permanently to the United States. Some examples of supporting evidence include the ownership of property in one’s country of citizenship or the presence of other family members who are not accompanying the professional to the United States. In addition, the request for a visa of less than 1 year’s duration is usually considered sufficient to indicate temporary, rather than permanent, employment in the U.S. Interested professionals may apply for TN visas in a variety of professional occupations. Scientists, such as biologists or zoologists, as well as healthcare workers, including Registered Nurses or Physicians, are eligible to apply for TN visas. Individuals who hold foreign degrees in healthcare fields, however, must also possess documentation that they possess government-issued licenses to practice. Furthermore, four types of workers – nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and medical technologists- must maintain a health care worker certification. This certification must demonstrate that the person’s education and licensure are comparable to the U.S. equivalencies required for that profession, and that the individual submitting the application speaks English to a competent level as determined by a standardized test. If you are a Canadian or Mexican citizen seeking a TN visa, seek an experienced attorney who handles non-immigrant visa applications regularly. Get a foreign credentials education evaluation from a responsible, experienced agency. Last, make it clear to the immigration official that you understand that this is a temporary, rather than a permanent, work assignment.]]>

New Requirements for TN Visa Applicants

NAFTA), a special visa qualification was offered to citizens of Canada and Mexico who qualify for temporary employment positions that can be categorized into certain professional classifications as defined by the NAFTA agreement. This immigrant visa is known as the TN visa, and includes a wide variety of positions in diverse fields such as social work, accounting, science, mathematics, and nursing. These visas are issued for one-year durations, but can be extended indefinitely. In order to qualify for a TN visa, a candidate must have at least the U.S.equivalency of a Bachelor Degree in the professional area for which he or she applies. To prove that the foreign degree is equivalent, a foreign education credentials evaluation must be done by a qualified agency, such as Career Consulting International. These educational evaluations are then submitted, along with other documentation, to USCIS officials to determine whether the visa application will be approved or denied. Professionals who apply for TN Visas may apply for TD visas to allow spouses or dependents to accompany them and reside with them during their stay in the United States. People who hold TN visas, however, may not seek employment within the United States. Canadian citizens are referred to as TN-1 Visa applicants, while citizens of Mexico are designated as TN-2 applicants. The most recent change in policy directly affects TN-2 visa applicants. The application process differs between Canadian and Mexican citizens, however. TN-1 Visa applicants may apply for this immigrant visa either at a US-Canada border crossing, or at most Canadian international airports. In this case, the TN visa may be granted on the day upon which the candidate submits the visa application, a foreign education credentials evaluation report, and accompanying documentation. Recently, the procedure has changed for citizens of Mexico applying for TN-2 Visas through the Matamoras, Mexico Consulate. Although this change has not yet been reflected on the consulate’s website, these new changes became effective on September 10, 2008. Visa applicants must now call for an appointment or schedule one online at the consulate website, located athttp://matamoros.usconsulate.gov/matamoros/nafta_visas_tn.html. Previously, applicants were able to submit their foreign education credentialsand evaluation reports prior to the interview. This is no longer true. Now, applicants are required to submit their foreign credential evaluations and other documents at the time of the interview appointment with the consulate. The employer is still required to submit the employee’s work credentials to theUSCIS to demonstrate that the employee is qualified for the TN-2 Visa. Only after approval may the employee schedule an appointment to have his or her visa stamped at the consulate. The employee’s start date will only be determined after these steps have been completed.]]>

THREE-YEAR DEGREES AND I-140 VISAS: AN IMPOSSIBLE COMBINATION?

all 3-year degrees have a high risk of being denied. The MATTER OF SHAH  is now being used to question degrees worldwide, rather than primarily for degrees from Indian universities. These degrees are, in fact, being denied much more frequently, and evaluators have been warned that, in all probability, this trend will only continue. What can we do to help students with 3-year degrees resolve this dilemma? 1. Recently, Ron Wada advised: “This is one situation where the service centers’ case by case policy can work in your favor, because that cuts both ways. They still leave the door open to say, “If you can show us that your three year degree is equivalent to a US 4 year bachelor degree then we will approve your case. But the burden of proof is on you. Alright, so one can visualize that it is possible to do this … ”  Furthermore, concerning the evaluation process itself, Wada stated, “I would like to say one thing here, for the future, the way I see the future of credential evaluations, we have to get smarter. We cannot assume that what we’ve used in the past, the cookie cutter, on the cheap, credential evaluation is going to fly. If you have a case that solidly meets the requirements you don’t even need a credential evaluation and it is not useful in that situation. When you need it is when you’ve got facts that aren’t clearly approvable and you need a credential evaluation to back that up. You are going to need a credential evaluation that does something for you, that gives analysis, that provides back up documentation. It cannot be the simple evaluation you’re used to getting.” At both the 2006 and 2007 AILA conferences with USCIS, this issue was discussed. USCIS offered this response to a question that arose during the April 19, 2006 AILA liaison’s visit with I-140 product line manager supervisors: “We are aware that some countries (i.e., many European countries) have educational systems that have the equivalent of 13 years education prior to university, and that education plus a three-year university degree is the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree in the U.S. However, many other countries’ educational systems have only 12 years of education prior to university, and then only three years of university coursework. With respect to such degree, we need evidence that the beneficiary has the equivalent of the required degree…A simple credential evaluation stating that the degree is equivalent may not be sufficient. It should be supported by a detailed explanation of how that conclusion was made and the transcripts of the beneficiary’s schooling to support the explanation and to document where the evaluator found the coursework equating a four-year degree.” Furthermore, during this session, the USCIS admitted that a Bachelor Degree awarded to a student who graduates from a 12+3 educational system, such as the one found in India, may be considered to be the U.S. equivalency of a four-year bachelor degree if the recipient can document that the coursework involved is equivalent to that found in a four-year degree program. We offer, in this expert opinion, a detailed explanation that utilizes comprehensive evidence concluding that, based on a comparison of coursework, the Indian 3-year degree is the US equivalency of a 4-year bachelor degree program. Again, as stated in the April 2007 NSC Liaison Spring Meeting: “2. We understand that NSC reviews a beneficiary’s educational qualifications on a case by case basis, and considers credential evaluations to be purely advisory in nature. The “case by case” policy makes it difficult for petitioners to understand what documentation is needed to support their case. One member reports receiving multiple RFEs requesting documentation of the “length and complexity” of the academic program; but this type of request in an RFE still does not provide the guidance needed to prepare a response. For the situations listed in Question 1 where documentation beyond the official academic record is needed to establish either bachelor’s degree or master’s degree equivalency, it would be helpful if NSC could provide some basic guidance concerning the minimum content of the supplementary documentation that would be needed to establish foreign degree equivalency with U.S. degrees. For example, for EB2 cases involving beneficiaries with an Indian 3 year bachelor’s degree followed by a 2 year master’s degree, we understand that NSC has approved I-140s where the petitioner has submitted either:

  1. Examples of comparable U.S. master’s degree programs requiring only one year to complete (indicating that a total of 5 years of undergraduate and graduate level education is sufficient); or
  2. Credential evaluations that provide a detailed comparison of credit hours completed by the beneficiary for the 3 year bachelor’s degree program with credit hours required by comparable U.S. bachelor’s programs.
Please confirm whether either or both of these types of documentation can establish equivalency in situations where NSC requires supplementary evidence of degree equivalency. Answer: In most situations, either of these instances would allow USCIS to determine in facor of educational equivalency. The petition filed must include adequate documentation to establish that the beneficiary is indeed meets the qualification requirements specified in the labor certification. If the requirement of a master’s degree is specified, the petitioner must be able to offer enough documentary evidence that the beneficiary’s education is the functional equivalent of a US master’s degree in the required field. CCI will review all RFEs and Denials that are based on foreign education credential evaluations wtihout charge. We do this in order to assist clients, as well as their attorneys and employers. Call Toll-Free: 1.800.771.4723 for details. Sheila Danzig is the executive director of Career Consulting International, a foreign credential evaluation agency that specializes in USCIS education-related RFE’s and Denials. Ms. Danzig is the co-author of an article that offers an in-depth examination of Indian 3-year degrees.]]>

TN Visa Applications: Is Immigration Permitted?

NAFTA). These visas are called TN visas, and are issued to people with professional qualifications who want to seek temporary work in the U.S. Citizens of Canada are granted TN-1 Visas, while Mexican citizens may qualify for TN-2 visas. To obtain a TN visa, professionals must demonstrate that they have foreign degrees that are the U.S. equivalencies of a Bachelor Degree for most fields. In certain areas, such as computer science, an Associate Degree plus two years of work experience equivalency may be substituted for a four-year degree. The equivalency must be determined through the completion of a foreign education credentials evaluation completed by a foreign education credentials evaluation agency accepted or approved by the USCIS. In addition to a foreign credentials evaluation that demonstrates adequate professional qualifications, however, the applicant has to provide strong documentation that he or she intends to remain in the United States only temporarily. That is because the USCIS presumes that any person who is a citizen of a foreign country who is entering the United States is doing so with the intent to remain there permanently. Although a person may express a possible future intent to immigrate, it must not be during the length of the TN visa. People can offer many different types of evidence that they do not intend to immigrate permanently to the United States. Some examples of supporting evidence include the ownership of property in one’s country of citizenship or the presence of other family members who are not accompanying the professional to the United States. In addition, the request for a visa of less than 1 year’s duration is usually considered sufficient to indicate temporary, rather than permanent, employment in the U.S. Interested professionals may apply for TN visas in a variety of professional occupations. Scientists, such as biologists or zoologists, as well as healthcare workers, including Registered Nurses or Physicians, are eligible to apply for TN visas. Individuals who hold foreign degrees in healthcare fields, however, must also possess documentation that they possess government-issued licenses to practice. Furthermore, four types of workers – nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and medical technologists- must maintain a health care worker certification. This certification must demonstrate that the person’s education and licensure are comparable to the U.S. equivalencies required for that profession, and that the individual submitting the application speaks English to a competent level as determined by a standardized test. If you are a Canadian or Mexican citizen seeking a TN visa, seek an experienced attorney who handles non-immigrant visa applications regularly. Get a foreign credentials education evaluation from a responsible, experienced agency. Last, make it clear to the immigration official that you understand that this is a temporary, rather than a permanent, work assignment.]]>

New Requirements for TN Visa Applicants

NAFTA), a special visa qualification was offered to citizens of Canada and Mexico who qualify for temporary employment positions that can be categorized into certain professional classifications as defined by the NAFTA agreement. This immigrant visa is known as the TN visa, and includes a wide variety of positions in diverse fields such as social work, accounting, science, mathematics, and nursing. These visas are issued for one-year durations, but can be extended indefinitely. In order to qualify for a TN visa, a candidate must have at least the U.S.equivalency of a Bachelor Degree in the professional area for which he or she applies. To prove that the foreign degree is equivalent, a foreign education credentials evaluation must be done by a qualified agency, such as Career Consulting International. These educational evaluations are then submitted, along with other documentation, to USCIS officials to determine whether the visa application will be approved or denied. Professionals who apply for TN Visas may apply for TD visas to allow spouses or dependents to accompany them and reside with them during their stay in the United States. People who hold TN visas, however, may not seek employment within the United States. Canadian citizens are referred to as TN-1 Visa applicants, while citizens of Mexico are designated as TN-2 applicants. The most recent change in policy directly affects TN-2 visa applicants. The application process differs between Canadian and Mexican citizens, however. TN-1 Visa applicants may apply for this immigrant visa either at a US-Canada border crossing, or at most Canadian international airports. In this case, the TN visa may be granted on the day upon which the candidate submits the visa application, a foreign education credentials evaluation report, and accompanying documentation. Recently, the procedure has changed for citizens of Mexico applying for TN-2 Visas through the Matamoras, Mexico Consulate. Although this change has not yet been reflected on the consulate’s website, these new changes became effective on September 10, 2008. Visa applicants must now call for an appointment or schedule one online at the consulate website, located athttp://matamoros.usconsulate.gov/matamoros/nafta_visas_tn.html. Previously, applicants were able to submit their foreign education credentialsand evaluation reports prior to the interview. This is no longer true. Now, applicants are required to submit their foreign credential evaluations and other documents at the time of the interview appointment with the consulate. The employer is still required to submit the employee’s work credentials to the USCIS to demonstrate that the employee is qualified for the TN-2 Visa. Only after approval may the employee schedule an appointment to have his or her visa stamped at the consulate. The employee’s start date will only be determined after these steps have been completed.]]>

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