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Avoid that EB2 RFE: Sidestep Education Traps

EB2 traps can set your Green Card, or your employee or client’s Green Card back years. Know where they are so you don’t fall into one.

Although it is tempting for candidates to try to meet EB2 qualifications when really their education and employment is a fit for EB3, trying to make education that simply does not work for EB2 fit is a waste of time. Sometimes, the candidate’s education simply does not work for EB2.

However, EB2 education requirements are very specific and equivalencies can be complex. If you or your employee or client DOES meet EB2 educational qualifications, you need to know, and you need to know how to justify this to CIS. Filing for EB2 with the RIGHT education will save you or your employee or client years in limbo. Before you file, take the candidate’s education to a credential evaluation agency that works extensively with EB2 cases and their RFEs and Denials. These agencies understand EB2 education requirements and CIS approval trends for this particular visa. Simply having an expert review your credentials, or your employee or client’s credentials before you file will go leaps and bounds to help you sidestep EB2 education traps.

Here are the main ones to be aware of:

  1. Mismatched Education

If the candidate’s degree is in a field that is not an exact fit for the job offer on the PERM, you can expect an RFE at best. This is a major EB2 education trap because employers will hire candidates with degrees in related fields and work experience in the field, but CIS will not approve their visas. If this is your situation, or your employee or client’s situation, you will need a very detailed and specific credential evaluation to write the US academic equivalency of the right degree in the right specialization. CIS has very strict requirements about how you can meet these equivalency requirements when it comes to EB2. Talk to a credential evaluator to see if you can make this equivalency work with your, or your employee or client’s education and work experience. The answer may be no. If this is the case, don’t be tempted to pull one over on CIS. This will not work.

  1. Bachelor’s Degree Equivalency is not a Single Source

EB2 education requirements state that to qualify a candidate must hold a US bachelor’s degree FOLLOWED BY at least five years of progressive work experience in the field, OR a US Master’s degree or higher in the field. If you or your employee or client has a bachelor’s degree from outside of the United States, or a US degree in the wrong field, you will need an equivalency that is a SINGLE SOURCE. CIS accepts three years of progressive work experience in the field as the equivalent of one year of US college credit towards a degree in that specialization. Likewise, following having earned a bachelor’s degree, CIS counts fives years of progressive work experience in your client’s field of employ as the equivalent of a US Master’s degree in the field provided that a bachelor’s degree was a minimum requirement for the job itself.

This gets tricky real fast. We always recommend taking your or your employee or client’s education and a current, accurate resume to a credential evaluation agency that works regularly with EB2 visas and their RFEs, and that also works with college professors with the authority to grant college credit for work experience. Your will need to have the work experience necessary to provide a SINGLE SOURCE bachelor’s degree equivalency. This requirement is complex and requires expertise to determine whether you or your employee or client can qualify, and to provide the evidence, analysis, and documentation necessary to explain this to CIS in the petition.

  1. Poorly Translated Documents

Candidates fall into EB2 education traps when they provide mistranslated or misevaluated documents. Some degrees simply don’t translate into English and retain their academic value. Some translation agencies have begun to provide evaluation services that are attractive to candidates wanting to save time and money. However, evaluation is a completely different, highly specialized service because of the complex nature of foreign academic differentiations and the fact that degrees with the same name hold different academic values between countries. Some degrees with different names hold the same equivalency. For example, Indian Chartered Accountancy is the foreign equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree in Accounting while the Canadian Chartered Accountancy and US CPA are not the equivalent of that advanced degree. This sort of problem comes up when academic value gets lost in translation, or when a translator takes credential evaluation liberties without the knowledge to assure accuracy.

To sidestep this EB2 education trap, if your or your employee or client’s educational documents need to be translated and evaluated, make this a two-step process. Do NOT compromise on this. You would never take credentials to an evaluation agency for translation! Get them translated into English first, then take them to a credential evaluation agency. Agencies that work regularly with EB2 visas can identify common translation errors and make academic value judgments accordingly.

To avoid these EB2 education traps, simply visit ccifree.com and attach all educational documents and a current, accurate resume, along with the job title. We will get back to you within 24 hours with a pre-evaluation of your case, or your employee or client’s case, and a full analysis of all of your options.

About the Author

Sheila Danzig

Sheila Danzig is the Executive Director of TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.