My job offer is in a different field than my college degree. Can I qualify for an H1B visa?

Maybe. How similar is your degree to the degree normally required for the job? How much related work experience have you had?

To obtain an H-1B visa for an employee, the employer must show that the job offered normally requires a college degree in a specific field, and that the employee has this specific degree or its equivalent. In another post, I’ve discussed how to show equivalency if you don’t have a degree, or if you are very close to graduation, but what if you already have a diploma, just in a different field?

You will be in substantially the same position as a person without a degree at all. You can qualify through standardized tests or membership in professional associations, but the most common method is showing that you have a combination of education and experience equal to the specialized degree, where three years of relevant education make up for one year of missing college-level education.

To gauge how much experience you will likely have to show, ask yourself, if right before graduation you had switched majors to the specialized field, how many more courses would you have needed to take to finish? To get an answer to this question that will satisfy USCIS, you will need to have your degree evaluated by an expert in the field. The expert will analyze your past coursework to determine which classes would have applied toward the specialized degree, and how many additional classes you would have needed to finish the specialized degree.

When you get the expert answer, you will need to show enough experience to make up for the missing coursework that would have completed the specialized degree. If the degree you actually hold is very similar to the specialized degree and you would have needed only one more semester of coursework to finish, you need only show a year and a half of relevant experience to complete your qualifications for H-1B purposes. If the degrees were quite different, however, and you would have needed an extra two years of coursework to finish, you would need to show at least six years of relevant work experience.

In short, all is not lost if you have a great job offer but worry that USCIS might not consider you qualified because you don’t hold the right degree. We would be happy to discuss whether or not you might qualify for an H-1B visa in detail. Contact us!