H1B Degree Equivalency: What Counts As Work Experience?

784495_graduation.jpgTo qualify for H1B employment, the petitioner must establish that the foreign national is a professional/specialist. This is established by showing that the person has at least a bachelor’s degree or has the equivalent level of work experience or specialized training. This may cause difficulty for the H1B beneficiary whose foreign four-year college degree is deemed to be less than the equivalent of a US college bachelor’s degree.

Experience and training equal college education on a three-for-one rule
The law acknowledges that someone who has less than a US bachelor’s degree can reach that level after years of relevant work experience and/or specialized training in the field. The USCIS will recognize that three years of such experience and training equals one year of college education. Thus, three years of college plus three years of experience and/or training would equal a four-year college degree.

The USCIS may ask for more than the law requires
The USCIS has been known to ask for evidence that all of the beneficiary’s work experience and/or specialized training was at the professional-level position. But, this is not the correct standard. According to the law, all that is required is for the beneficiary’s experience and/or training to cumulate to a professional-level position. Experience and training that is not at the professional-level still is counted for purposes of the three-for-one rule. When a person begins experience or training in a career without a professional-level degree, typically that person does not begin at the professional-level. Therefore, to require three full years of professional-level experience and/or training actually requires much more than three years. All that is required is that the person reached the professional-level at the end of those three years.