The path to getting an H-1B Visa without a degree is commonly referred to as the USCIS “Three to One” rule:
“For purposes of determining equivalency to a Baccalaureate degree in the specialty, 3 years of specialized training and/or work experience must be demonstrated for each year of college-level training the alien lacks.”
—8 C.F.R. §214.2 (h)(4)(iii)(D)(5)
Commonly used by those that do not have a 4-year degree, this rule allows for three (3) years of work experience to be counted as one (1) year of academic study in a related field. For example:
- A person with no education is able to meet the degree requirement by showing at least 12 years of related work experience
- A person with a 2-year diploma can meet the degree requirement by adding 6 years of related work experience
- A person with a 3-year degree can meet the degree requirement by adding 3 years of related work experience
Proving “Specialty Occupation” Work Experience
If you are trying to qualify for an H-1B visa without a degree, you will need proof of your qualifications. Typically, this means that each year of qualifying experience must be supported by detailed experience letters from former and/or current employers. The letters must be from someone who can confirm the position held, time of employment, detailed duties, and other factors of employment. Keep in mind that a résumé or CV is self-servicing and not considered adequate proof of experience.
After compiling the necessary proof of education and experience, you should then obtain an evaluation in support of your qualifications. This can be done through an evaluation company such as Silvergate Evaluations.
Additional Outside Resources
- USCIS: How USCIS Determines Same or Similar Occupational Classifications for Job Portability Under AC21
- Silvergate Evaluations: Work Experience & Other Evaluations
We Can Help!
Don’t know where to start? Contact Richards and Jurusik for help with your H-1B Visas.