The H1B visa is one of the most sought-after non-immigrant work visas and offers a wide range of employment possibilities in USA.
The H1B visa allows foreign nationals in “specialty occupations” to enter the U.S. to work in a variety of fields including accounting, architecture, engineering, modeling, and medicine and health.
A U.S. bachelor’s degree or its equivalent in their specialty.
A full unrestricted license to practice in the U.S., in fields that require state licensing, such as teaching or pharmacy.
A U.S. employer to sponsor the H1B visa.
NOTE: The foreign national cannot be self-employed.
If you have less than a 4-year degree, USCIS allows you to ‘combine’ your degrees if you have multiple degrees.
The regulations also allow you to combine progressive work experience in the field with university study, or in some cases, use work experience alone to meet the equivalency requirement.
The regulations specifically state that, for H1B purposes, three (3) years of progressive work experience in the field will be considered the equivalent of one year of U.S. university study.
The regulations allow for applicants to have the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree.
A 4-year bachelor’s degree from an accredited or recognized foreign university or college will generally be considered equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree.
In most cases, unless your education was completed in the U.S., a Credentials Evaluation showing an equivalency to a U.S. bachelor’s degree is required to obtain the H1B visa.
Thus, if you wish to come to the U.S. on an H1B specialty occupation visa, and all your degrees are foreign degrees, you will need your education credentials evaluated and submit that evaluation with the H1B petition.
This article will answer these important questions.
Learn everything you need to know about working in the U.S.
Because the H1B visa requires that applicants have a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, USCIS must have evidence that you either possess a U.S. bachelor’s degree or that your foreign degree is ‘equivalent’ to a particular U.S. degree.
Harry, a British national is seeking a job in the US as an electrical engineer. He completed an apprenticeship as an electrician 18 years ago. The apprenticeship was extensive with approximately 2 years of classroom work together with on-the-job training. The classroom work covered the theory and physics of electricity as well as the technical aspects of the job.
With Harry’s apprenticeship and 18 years of progressive experience leading to his current job in South Africa as an electrical engineer, education credential evaluators and the USCIS found that he had the equivalent of a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. He got his H1B petition approved and is happily working in the US.
The equivalency to a United States bachelor’s or advanced degree can be determined by one or more of the following routes:
Michael graduated from what he thought was a well-known university in Sweden with a degree in computer science. He was seeking a job in the IT industry in the US as a software engineer. He did not want to spend the money on an evaluation and did not believe that he needed a credential evaluation because his degree was in computer science (and everybody knows what that is) and it was from a ‘reputable’ university.
Unfortunately for Michael, the USCIS officer reviewing his case disagreed and asked for a credentials evaluation in a Request for Evidence. When Michael sought out the credential evaluation, he found out that his degree program was not ‘accredited’ by his own country’ education system and would not be deemed equivalent to a U.S. degree. Michael’s employer had to withdraw the application. Michael’s reluctance to spend the money for the evaluation up-front cost him and his employer a lot of time, money and aggravation.