Navigating the H-1B Visa’s Educational Requirements

 

The H-1B Visa is a visa that allows United States employers to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations for a period of up to six years. Currently there is a quota on the number of visas granted per year and the application process is extremely competitive. As of 2012 there were 85,000 H-1B visas available each year, with 20,000 of those reserved for beneficiaries who have obtained the equivalent of a United States master’s degree or higher. The other 65,000 visas are available for beneficiaries who have achieved the equivalent of a United States bachelor’s degree or higher.  The education requirements for the H-1B visa are important in that they ensure that all applicants are educated and highly knowledgeable of the specialty field that they would like to work in in the United States.
 
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) usually requires that H-1B visa applicants contact a foreign credential evaluation service to research the applicant’s educational background and provide an analysis to determine whether or not the educational requirements are met by the individual. These services have contacts and resources with knowledge of institutions of higher education all over the world and are experienced in working with the USCIS.
 
These evaluation services will provide your foreign educational equivalency on the basis of two things: the degrees, licenses, or certificates you earned in a foreign country, combined with any relevant work experience evaluated using the USCIS’s three-to-one rule. This rule states that any relevant professional and specialized work experience may be converted to one year of college education. Accordingly you would need at least twelve years of relevant work experience to fully satisfy the USCIS’s educational requirement of a four-year degree.
 
There are many foreign credential evaluation services in existence and it is important that you do research to decide on the best possible service for your needs. Once you have selected the right service for you, you can begin the process of making sure that all your educational requirements are fulfilled. This will generally involve sending transcripts from all foreign colleges or universities that you attended as well as a resume with references for work experience. The evaluation service will then review your educational and work documents over a period of two to six weeks (or quicker for additional fees) before sending you a complete report. With this report in hand, you will be able to submit the H-1B visa and you will be on your way towards achieving all of your career goals.