Back to the Basics: How to Answer a Difficult H1B RFE

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Ten years ago, receiving an H1B RFE was a relatively rare occurrence. Today, H1B applicants have about a one in three chance of getting an RFE instead of an approval.

What does this mean for FY 2019 H1B beneficiaries? There is a strong chance the petition will receive an RFE. This does not mean the end of the case, it’s a chance to fortify the case for approval. If you, or your employee or client receives an H1B RFE – even if it’s a double employment issue RFE or the Nightmare RFE that is virtually impossible to answer by its own instructions – the first step is to read it through carefully. Then, put it down and go back to the basics.

Go back to the original H1B eligibility requirements and identify which one is lacking in supporting evidence.

For a job to qualify for H1B eligibility, it must be a specialty occupation. That means as a minimum for entry into the position, the candidate must have a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent. CIS requires the degree be in the exact field of the H1B job, even if an employer will hire a candidate with a degree in a related field. That means if the job and the degree are not an exact match, evidence must be provided in the petition to fill in the gap. If this job in question does not typically require an advanced degree but this position is uniquely specialized, evidence clearly explaining why accompanied by an expert opinion letter to back it up is required to answer RFEs pertaining to this issue.

The H1B beneficiary must be earning the prevailing wage for the job as is consistent with that position, in that industry, in companies of that size, in that geographic location. If this is the issue, you will need to provide documentation of the employee’s wages and the factors that went into determining the wage level accompanied by an expert opinion letter to support why the wage level is set as it is.

If the RFE inquires into both of these issues, you do not need two separate expert opinion letters. At, we work with experts in all industries who can cover both concerns with one letter, which means you only have to order one.

For a beneficiary to meet H1B eligibility requirements, they must hold the necessary degree in the necessary field. This gets tricky when candidates need to meet the degree requirement through means of equivalency. H1B requirements state the candidate must hold the US bachelors degree or higher or its equivalent. Candidates with education from outside of the United States, incomplete education, no formal college education, or the right degree in the wrong specialization need to submit a detailed credential evaluation along with the RFE response. This evaluation must be written with consideration of the job and the specific requirements of the H1B visa. Often, a candidate’s work experience must be added to the degree to meet specialization requirements, or to account for missing years – because of incomplete college or from a 3-year degree to account for the missing fourth year.

At TheDegreePeople, we understand that every pathway through education is different, and therefore never write a cookie cutter evaluation. We take the individual, the job, and the visa requirements into consideration along with CIS approval trends. Every year, we work with difficult RFEs and every year we answer them successfully.

For a free review of your case We will get back to you in 48 hours or less with an analysis, pre-evaluation, and our recommendations.

This article was written by Rebecca Little