Credential Evaluation for Immigration
Why do I need credential evaluation for my US immigration case?
When applying for an immigrant visa, certain non-immigrant visas, or a green card, most cases will require applicants to demonstrate their educational degrees. More specifically, they need to prove that you have reached a level of education allowing you to work and earn financial support for yourself and your dependents. Lacking an academic degree may lead to the perceived inability to get a job and thus in not meeting the public charge requirement and a rejection of a visa or green card application.
The standard way of demonstrating the completion of levels of education is by holding a diploma for a bachelor, master or doctorate degree, the common benchmarks in the US education system, from a US-recognized college or university. However, foreign education systems differ, and the terms used in one country, such as Baccalaureate, Licentiate, Magister, or Specialist to name a few, do not translate literally in the English language to mean the same thing as US benchmark credentials. If this is confusing, it is even more so for somebody unfamiliar with a foreign language or a foreign country’s education system. Therefore, the best way to ensure no mistakes are made with your academic degrees for an immigration application or case is to obtain a credential evaluation report.
What is a credential evaluation report, and what kind should I get for my immigration application or case?
Credential evaluation reports are offered by private companies in the United States. These companies charge a fee for their services but are considered in the higher education industry as experts in the field of international education. Typically, a basic evaluation report is recommended for immigration purposes, such as a General report offered by Scholaro. General evaluation reports are an effective way of conveying the US equivalency of any foreign degree and are usually required for any USCIS application that requires a level of education. More comprehensive reports, such as the Course by Course evaluation that includes a breakdown of coursework, credits and grades may be required on the advice of a qualified immigration lawyer. When deciding which degree to have evaluated, it is recommended to demonstrate your highest educational achievement. However, there may be situations when your highest degree is not related to your career and the profession which is the basis for your income in the United States. In cases like this, an immigration lawyer would advise you to evaluate those credentials directly related to your job prospects.
How do I select the right service to for my credential evaluation?
The USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) does not provide a list of preferred evaluation services but does ask that the evaluation service creating reports follows the general guidelines of the U.S. National Council for the Evaluation of Foreign Educational Credentials. Since the publishing of USCIS regulations, the Council had dissolved in March 2006, but the principles of good practice remain in place and are championed by the AACRAO IESC (American Association of College Registrars and Admissions Officers International Education Standards Council) and AICE (Association of International Credential Evaluators) which is the first organization with published standards for overseeing private credential evaluation agencies. AICE is one of two organizations recognized for their oversight over these agencies by the US Department of Education. Therefore, selecting an organization that is an endorsed member of AICE or NACES, the other association of evaluation agencies helps ensure that the evaluation report will be accepted by USCIS.
What king of documents are needed to get an evaluation report, and how long does this take?
The USCIS does not direct which types of documents are necessary to prepare the evaluation report, so the agencies that prepare these reports set their own documentation requirements. A simple test to determine the type of requirements may be required is to decide what type of documentation would be required for official business purposes or further education applications in your home country. For example, if a local university in your country requires a diploma and a transcript to apply for further schooling, you can expect an evaluation service to require the same. Preparing and submitting documents can take time, especially when asked to submit documents by post or order them to be sent from a foreign country. Processing times, like an evaluation service’s document requirements will vary as well. An efficient service like Scholaro will process evaluation reports in five to seven business days, with rush services available as an upgrade when time is of the essence. In most cases, Scholaro accepts electronic submission of your official documents, eliminating the delays and risks caused by post or courier.
What should I do with my evaluation report?
In preparation for your immigration case to be reviewed by USCIS, a copy of the evaluation report should be submitted in all cases when answering questions or providing information about your academic background. In fact, it is recommended to attach a copy of the report to your resume or cv and to any instance when submitting your original diplomas, transcripts and other educational credentials. In certain cases, an original copy of the evaluation report is advisable, such as when appearing at your immigration interview. This is one occasion where lack of preparation can mean significant delays in the immigration process, so maximize the opportunity and have all original documents ready for the interview. When first submitting an application, an immigration lawyer can advise you on the nature of the documents required for your particular application. In most cases, the application is submitted electronically or by post. When choosing an evaluation service, it helps to work with a company that can provide copies of the report at any time. Scholaro takes the process one step further by providing the ability to validate each evaluation report, which eliminates the questions of report authenticity.
Common Questions about Scholaro evaluation reports for immigration:
Are Scholaro’s reports accepted by USCIS?
Yes, Scholaro is an Endorsed Member of AICE and prepares reports based on the recommendation of the National Council for the Evaluation of Foreign Educational Credentials and reports prepared by Scholaro are accepted by USCIS.
Do I need to send my original documents?
Scholaro can prepare most evaluation reports based on electronic submission of official documents. The process entire process is digital through a secure, easy to use website at www.scholaro.com.
How long does it take to get my evaluation report from Scholaro?
Standard processing is five to seven business days, with rush services available up to same business day service.
Do I even need an evaluation report?
A qualified immigration lawyer can guide you on what is required for our visa, green card or other immigration application. A credential evaluation report is advisable whenever answering questions about your academic accomplishments.
How much does an evaluation report cost?
A General Evaluation Report costs $99, while a Course by Course evaluation costs $189 as of January, 2021. Prices are subject to change over time, but the reports are always valid.