Navigating Foreign Degrees and Equivalency Issues

28 Nov, 2023

Navigating the complexities of foreign degrees and their equivalency in the United States can pose significant challenges for individuals seeking employment through visas such as the H-1B. Issues surrounding the duration of bachelor’s degrees, acceptance of foreign qualifications, and the need for additional documentation can create obstacles in the immigration process. In this blog post, we will explore the nuances of foreign degrees and the strategies individuals can employ to ensure their qualifications meet the standards required for visa applications.

Understanding the Challenges

In many South Asian countries, bachelor’s degrees are conferred after three years of study, as opposed to the four-year structure commonly recognized in the West. This difference in duration can lead to complications when individuals seek to have their qualifications accepted in the United States. American authorities may not readily acknowledge a three-year bachelor’s degree as equivalent to a four-year degree, creating a barrier for individuals navigating the H-1B visa process.

Strategies for Equivalency

Individuals confronted with the challenge of a three-year bachelor’s degree may explore several strategies to align their qualifications with U.S. standards. One approach involves pursuing a master’s degree program, which typically spans one to two years, following the completion of the three-year bachelor’s degree. By combining the educational attainment from both programs, individuals can demonstrate a cumulative period of study that aligns with the four-year degree requirement for the H-1B visa.

Document Preparation and Verification

To address concerns regarding the equivalency of foreign degrees, individuals are advised to undertake a thorough review of their academic documents. This process may involve obtaining transcripts, diplomas, and other pertinent records to support the evaluation of their qualifications. In some cases, engaging professional services to provide a statement attesting to the equivalence of foreign degrees to U.S. standards may be necessary, albeit incurring additional costs.

Planning and Timely Action

Considering the potential delays and complexities associated with the evaluation of foreign degrees, individuals are urged to commence the document verification and equivalency assessment process in a timely manner. Institutions responsible for conducting such evaluations may experience high volumes of requests, particularly during peak periods, necessitating proactive planning and preparation on the part of applicants.

Alternative Approaches

In situations where pursuing a master’s degree may not be the preferred course of action, individuals holding three-year bachelor’s degrees can explore alternative methods to align their qualifications with U.S. equivalency requirements. One option involves the accumulation of additional credits at educational institutions in the United States, effectively extending the duration of study to meet the four-year degree standard. Additionally, individuals may opt to pursue a master’s degree program following the completion of their three-year bachelor’s degree, providing an alternative pathway to meet U.S. equivalency criteria.


Navigating the intricacies of foreign degrees and their equivalency in the United States requires proactive planning, thorough documentation, and a strategic approach to aligning qualifications with the standards essential for visa applications such as the H-1B. By understanding the challenges, exploring viable strategies, and undertaking timely action, individuals can mitigate potential hurdles and facilitate a smoother transition through the immigration process. Effectively managing the equivalency of foreign degrees is imperative for individuals seeking to pursue employment opportunities in the United States, ensuring that their qualifications are recognized and accepted in accordance with visa requirements.

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