Guide to Education Evaluations for H1B Visas

Posted by Frank Gogol
Updated on May 23, 2022

Traveling to the United States can be a confusing and stressful process. There are important documents that you have to understand. This is especially true if you are traveling to the U.S. to work on an H1B visa. There are many documents you need to have. One of these is the education evaluation for H1B visa applicants.

What is Credential Evaluation for H1B?

The H1B visa process is for employers who want to hire nonimmigrant foreign citizens to work for them in the United States. U.S. employers sponsor H1B visas. If you want to apply for an H1B visa, there are 6 ways to find H1B visa sponsorship

This visa program applies to only a few kinds of jobs, which are called specialty occupations. A specialty occupation is a job that you must have a lot of job-specific education and knowledge to do. Generally, this means you must have at least a Bachelor’s degree or the equivalent qualification for your field. 

The H1B visa is for employers who can’t find people within the U.S. to do the specialized work they need to have done. The H1B visa allows them to hire people from outside the U.S. to work for them temporarily, but only if those people have the correct educational qualifications.

Education evaluation for H1B is the process of checking how your educational qualifications match up with the equivalent U.S. degrees or qualifications. It is also called Foreign Credential Evaluation. This service is provided by professional credential evaluators. 

The credential evaluator uses the documents that show your qualifications (your degree certificate and/or academic transcript) to produce a document called a Foreign Credential Evaluation. You then submit this document along with your H1B visa application to the U.S. Immigration and Citizenship Service (USCIS).

There are two kinds of Foreign Credit Evaluations:

  • Foreign Degree Evaluation: this is an evaluation of the overall qualification you received to match it up with its equivalent in the U.S.
  • Transcript Evaluation: this is an evaluation of your grades in the courses you took, to match them up with the U.S. grading system

Why is a Credential Evaluation Required for H1B?

The H1B visa application requires that your job need specialized academic knowledge or experience. If your qualifications are from an educational institution in the U.S., then you don’t need a credential evaluation. 

Educational institutions in different education systems around the world all have different ways of doing things. In some countries, a Bachelor’s degree may be a three-year program, in others, four years. In addition, some countries may have different names for equivalent qualifications. 

This variety makes it difficult for the USCIS to determine for sure whether your qualification meets the requirements for the H1B visa if you got it outside the U.S.

Credential evaluation allows you to ‘translate’ your qualifications from outside the U.S. to the equivalent of what they mean in the U.S. This makes it easy for the USCIS to determine whether your qualification is at the level of a U.S. bachelor’s or higher.

How to Get an H1B Credential Evaluation

There are several options you can try to get a Foreign Credit Evaluation. These are listed below.

  • Get a credential assessment from an employee at a U.S. university who has the power to grant a college-level credit.
  • Get a credential assessment from a credential evaluation service specializing in foreign education evaluation for H1B visa applications. The agency you choose must be trustworthy and recognized by the USCIS.
  • Get a college-level examination result or a pass from a special credit program

Please note that immigration regulations limit foreign credit evaluators to only evaluating qualifications. They cannot evaluate your work experience in your specialty, only your qualifications, and academic record.

Documents Required for an H1B Credential Evaluation

The exact documents you will need to provide to the credential evaluator could vary depending on your specialty and the nature of your qualifications. However, the documents listed below will generally apply to most H1B visa applicants:

  • Degree certificate (also sometimes called a scroll): for Foreign Degree Evaluation
  • Course transcripts (list of courses and grades received): for Transcript Evaluation

If your degree certificate or transcript is not in English, you will also need to supply a version of the document translated into English by a certified translator.

If the process is successful you will receive a document called a Foreign Credit Evaluation. A Foreign Credit Evaluation is an official description of your qualification which contains the following information:

  • Name of the degree awarded
  • Name of the educational institution which awarded it
  • The year in which the degree was awarded
  • The major field of study for the degree

How Long Does an H1B Credential Evaluation Take?

The time it takes to receive your Foreign Credit Evaluation depends on what method you use. The fees required also vary widely. However, using the best credential evaluation services, you can expect to receive a Foreign Credit Evaluation two days after you submit all the correct documentation. Some services may even offer overnight or same-day processing services for a higher price.

Other methods, such as getting a credential assessment from an authorized person at a U.S. university may also be fast. However, since providing official Foreign Credit Evaluation is not what a university specializes in doing, it is unlikely to be as fast as a dedicated service, although it could potentially be significantly cheaper.

The slowest way to do it is to get a college-level credit from a special credit program or a college-level examination result from a U.S. educational institution. This way might be the best if your qualifications are based mostly on experience. 

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Final Thoughts

There is a requirement for an educational evaluation for H1B visa applications. This is because these kinds of visas are for jobs that require at least a Bachelor’s degree. You do not have to have a degree from a U.S. college or university, but the degree from your institution must be equivalent to a U.S. one. The H1B education evaluation is how the USCIS checks whether your educational credentials are equivalent to the U.S. The process could take anything from a day up to several weeks or months, depending on which method you use.