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What’s in an H1-B Credential Evaluation and Why Does it Matter?

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posted Feb 20, 2016 in H1B Visas by Sheila Danzig (8,100 points)

Over the course of the next two months before the H1-b filing date, you will see a lot of articles, blogs, and reports urging you to get your client’s education evaluated for US equivalence.  H1-b candidates with degrees from outside of the US are required by CIS to submit a thorough evaluation of their foreign credentials as evidence that their degree is the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree or higher, AND that their degree specialization matches their job title.  But what, exactly, is in a credential evaluation and why does it matter for your client’s H1-b visa approval?

There are three primary components to a credential evaluation:

1. Institutions of education and attendance dates.  An evaluation will indicate which schools and colleges your client attended and for how long, including the profile and accreditations of the schools your client attended.  This means elementary school, high school, and post-secondary institutions.  The reason for this is because the number of years of education varies from country to country from the time your client entered school as a child.  These are all factors in equivalency recommendations. 

2. Diploma, certificate, degree, and transcript equivalents.  All of these documents will be included in the evaluation along with their equivalents indicated and explained.  The steps of education is important in the evaluation process because many degrees in countries outside of the US are post-secondary degrees BUT the word degree is not in the title.  To evaluate these difficult degrees, the stages of education necessary to attain these certifications must be evaluated for post-secondary equivalence. 

3. Recommended US equivalent of your client’s degree.  Each credential evaluation will make an equivalence recommendation based on evidence, analysis, expert opinions, CIS precedents, international trade agreements, and even federal case law.  Since there are no set standards for foreign degree equivalence evaluation, an evaluator must make a case for their recommendation. 

For the H1-B visa, you want an evaluator who can write an accurate recommendation founded in evidence, precedents, expert opinions, and documentation for your client’s degree to be the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree or higher in the field that matches your client’s job title.  Not all evaluation agencies will write the detailed evaluation it takes to truly explain and assess the value of your client’s foreign degree.  Many evaluation agencies simply pull conservative equivalencies from standardized equivalency databases.  However, there are NO set foreign equivalency standards and every candidate’s education is different.

When you hire a credential evaluator for your client’s H1-B evaluation, make sure he or she is well-versed in the specific educational requirements of the H1-B visa.  This means when you call, you will be asked about your client’s specific visa, and your clients specific job.  Both of these variables factor heavily into the evaluation the right evaluator will write for your client’s education.  

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.


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