Back to the Basics: How to Answer the Most Difficult H1B RFEs

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For years, the scariest H1B RFE out there was The Nightmare, which had so many requests involved it was virtually impossible to answer on time by its own guidelines.

CIS approval trends change every year. Several years ago, CIS stopped approving the visas of beneficiaries with degrees that did not exactly match their field of employment. Last year we saw CIS come down hard on computer programmers making level 1 wages, challenging whether or not the job meets H1B specialization requirements. This year, we’re seeing as much as The Nightmare combined with specialty occupation and wage level issues all wrapped up into one overwhelming RFE.

Here’s how to answer it: Go back to the basics.

Read over the RFE with your team, then put it down. Getting caught up in the wording and each individual request is a shortcut to absolutely nowhere. Get out the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook and go to the entry for the H1B job in question while you go back to the original H1B requirements and thoroughly explain and provide evidence as to why the beneficiary, the employer, and the job meet them.

To be H1B eligible, the job must require a minimum of a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent to perform. If the occupation’s entry in the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook indicates that sometimes an advanced degree is not a requirement, you need to clearly show why this job is particularly specialized and back it up with an expert opinion letter.

The beneficiary must make the prevailing wage for the job, based on the position, the geographic location, and for companies of that size. If the indicated wage does not meet the job duties and education level indicated in the position’s entry in the Occupational Outlook Handbook, you need to thoroughly explain all of the factors that went into determining the wage level and back it up with an expert opinion letter.

The beneficiary must also hold the necessary degree for the H1B job in the exact field of the job. If you have, or your employee or client has the right degree in the wrong field – even if it is in a related field – incomplete college education, or a degree earned outside of the United States, you will need to include a detailed credential evaluation that fills in the gaps between your education, or your employee or client’s education and the degree they need to get the RFE overturned. The evaluation must take the particular H1B visa requirements, the job, and the education into consideration with regards to CIS approval trends and international education and trade agreements, as well as precedent decisions.

At TheDegreePeople, we have credential evaluators on hand that work regularly with visa cases and difficult RFEs. We also have experts in every field on call 24/7 to write the opinion letter you need to address specialty occupation and wage level issues in your RFE response.

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

This article was written by Rebecca Little