Addressing the Education RFE

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In the past few years, RFE’s issued for education situations have become increasingly common. While almost 25% of all H-1B petitions are now met with RFE responses, a big chunk of those pertain to lack of evidence about the education of petitioners.

Don’t panic if you get an RFE. This means your petition is under consideration and you get another chance to build a solid case for approving your petition. Take this opportunity by reading over your RFE carefully with your employer and understand exactly what is being asked of you.

The two main education situations require you to submit a detailed credential evaluation with your transcripts. The first stems from a recent change in USCIS standards regarding your degree. In the recent past – as well as in the present when it comes to hiring domestic employees – you can meet the requirements for a specialty occupation by having a degree in a field related to your field of employ. Now, the USCIS requires your degree exactly match your field of employ.

So what if you have the right degree but the wrong major? No problem! A detailed credential evaluation can do two things to remedy the situation. First, we can take a close look at the courses you took to show that you did, in fact, specialize in your field of employ even if your major doesn’t clearly reflect it. Secondly, if you have work experience in your field of employ, we can convert years of work experience into college credit hours.

The second common education-related misunderstanding that can trigger an RFE to come your way is your degree from a different country than the United States. If you earned your degree outside of the United States, this means your bachelor’s degree came from a country with a different academic system. Many of these systems have three-year bachelor’s degrees instead of the US four-year degree. At the USCIS, they look at your three-year degree and all they see is the missing fourth year. You literally need to spell out the value of your education in terms of US equivalence. Again, you can do this with a detailed credential evaluation that can take a close look at the academic content of your degree. In most cases, the only difference between a three-year degree and a US four-year degree is density. You get more classroom contact hours each year with a three-year degree and by converting classroom contact hours into US college credit hours you end up with the academic equivalence of a US four-year degree. No problem. You’ve just got to order a detailed evaluation from an agency with the authority to make these conversions.

For a free consultation on your academic RFE, visit us online at cciFree.com or call any time at 1.800.771.4723. We’re always here to help you.

This article was written by Rebecca Little

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