Provisional Certificate Accepted for EB-2 Post-Graduation Experience

A provisional graduation certificate, not the formal bachelor's graduation diploma, can be used to determine when an Indian second preference visa applicant's period of post-graduation experience begins, according to an April 17, 2017 decision by the AAO of USCIS.

The AAO held that work experience gained immediately after the issuance of an Indian provisional certificate can be counted towards the 5-year post-baccalaureate progressive experience required for the EB-2 visa petition,

To be eligible for the EB-2 visa category, an applicant is required to have earned an advanced degree or a bachelor's degree plus five years of progressive work experience. The work experience must be post graduation. In Matter of O-A-, Inc., the AAO held that 

(1) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must conduct a case-specific analysis to determine whether, at the time a provisional certificate is issued, a beneficiary has completed all substantive requirements to earn the degree and the university or college has approved the degree. USCIS must consider evidence presented regarding the individual nature of each university’s or college’s requirements for each program of study and each student’s completion of those requirements. and 
(2) If a petitioner establishes that, as of the date the provisional certificate was issued, the beneficiary had met all substantive requirements for the degree and that the degree was approved, USCIS will consider the date of the provisional certificate for purposes of calculating post-graduate experience

This decision has also been adopted by USCIS in a Policy Memo (PM-602-0144) issued on the same date.

The formal bachelor's diploma is usually granted many months after the provisional certificate in India.  The new policy makes it possible for Indian visa applicants to present evidence to support the use of the provisional certificates in EB-2 cases.  According to the most recent Visa Bulletin, the EB-3 visa category is almost four years behind EB-2 for Inda. 


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