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EB-2 Professionals with Advanced Degrees

There are two EB2 categories: exceptional ability and professionals with advanced degrees. This article will talk about the latter. In order for you to qualify for the EB2 advanced degree professional immigration visa category, you must be a member of the professions and have an advanced degree or its equivalent. An advanced degree means a degree above a bachelor's degree, or alternatively, a bachelor's degree followed by five years of progressive professional work experience.

What is an advanced degree?

For the USCIS to approve an EB2 petition, it will require that the employer state on the labor certification application that the job offered to the beneficiary requires either a master's degree or a bachelor's degree followed by at least five years of progressive work experience. There are two ways to meet this requirement. The first is a US master's degree or higher, or a foreign degree that was evaluated as equivalent to a US master's degree. The second is a US bachelor's degree or an equivalent foreign degree that is followed by 5 years of progressive work experience.

USCIS and DOL have different interpretations

Although the USCIS will accept a bachelor's degree plus 5 years progressive work experience as the equivalent of a master degree, the Department of Labor (DOL) looks at it differently. If a labor certification application states that the position requires either a master’s degree or a bachelor's degree plus five years of experience, the DOL may not accept such a requirement. The DOL may conclude that based on other factors about position, five years is too much and may deny the labor certification. This conundrum is a result of what is known as the specific vocational preparation 7 issue (SVP 7), which calculates work experience differently when counted toward a degree equivalency.

Can work experience be equivalent to a doctorate degree?

In the event that the job requires a doctorate degree, USCIS requires that the person must have a US doctor degree or foreign equivalent doctorate degree. If the beneficiary has less than a doctorate degree, he or she will not qualify, as work experience is not counted toward the doctorate degree. If the position requires a doctorate, the beneficiary must have a doctorate.

What if I have a foreign three-year bachelor degree?

Around the year 2000, Legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) looked at whether a three year foreign bachelor's degree can be considered equivalent to a US bachelor's degree. The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) decided that a foreign three-year bachelor's degree cannot be considered equivalent to a four year US degree in order to meet the EB2 requirement of a bachelor's degree filed by five years of work experience. Therefore, a foreign national with a three-year foreign degree will have difficulty qualifying for this category. If you have questions about the EB2 Advanced Degree or Exceptional Ability immigrant petition category, please contact our immigration attorneys or call The Law Firm of Shihab & Associates, Co., LPA at the nearest office close to you to consult with an attorney.

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