Credential Evaluation

Your Very Very Last Minute H1B Checklist

  • Consistent dates, locations, spellings and other answers.
  • Double-check all of the documents and applications included in the petition to make sure all of the answers are consistent. Inconsistencies between applications, educational documents, and resumes can trigger a pretty serious RFE as CIS is cracking down on visa fraud. Inconsistent dates and locations for where the candidate has lived, worked, and gone to school are big red flags, as are misspellings.
    1. Education clearly meets CIS requirements for H1B eligibility.
    Find out right now. Simply go to ccifree.com and attach the candidate’s educational documents and an accurate, current resume, along with the job title and we will respond within 24 hours with a full pre-evaluation of your case. We will include all of your options for writing the evaluation for the educational equivalency needed to get the H1B visa approved. We offer rush delivery options to get your credential evaluation to you in as fast as three hours.Educational requirements for CIS are tricky. If the candidate has a degree from outside of the United States, do NOT file without a credential evaluation. The candidate may have a degree earned in the United States that is not H1B qualified. The degree must be an exact match for the job or CIS will not approve the visa.
    1. Documentation clearly shows the job is specialized.
    H1B requirements state the job must require a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent to be considered specialized. The H1B visa program’s purpose is to bring highly skilled workers to the US to fill these highly specialized jobs that the US workforce cannot fill on its own. That means you have to show that the job requires a specialized skillset, which means an advanced degree in the exact field of employ. To prove this, provide a copy of the ad for the job that includes duties and minimum requirements, as well as the official job description itself. Also include ads and descriptions for similar jobs in the same field to show that this job is specialized across the board and not just to accommodate the candidate’s visa. If the job is particularly specialized for this particular company, include an expert opinion letter as to why this is the case.
    1. Organized and in order!
    Make sure your petition is in order with all of the paperwork where CIS expects it to be. A disorganized petition is not pleasant to read and this will impact approval. File for the audience and it will pay off in the end.Good luck!About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    Does the Education H1B Qualify? Find Out Fast!

    st, and since this year is predicted to follow the trend of those before, you won’t have long before CIS closes its doors.Don’t let the last minute cause you to file an incomplete petition that will only get met with an RFE or worse. CIS educational requirements have changed in the past few years and they’ve just gotten stricter. Your education, or the education of your employee or client alone may not be enough to get their visa approved. You will have to submit a credential evaluation along with the petition to clearly show that the candidate meets H1B educational requirements.At TheDegreePeople, we have been working with H1B cases for a LONG time, and we are well versed in the nature of your needs in the last weeks before filing season. Do not hesitate to contact us for rush services. We can have evaluations completed and sent to you within hours as needed.Here are some common situations where candidates run into trouble:

    1. Education from outside of the United States
    If your degree, or if your employee or client’s degree is from any country besides the United States, you will need a credential evaluation to show US equivalent academic value. CIS will not accept the transcripts as is. H1B requirements state candidates must have a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent. CIS cannot discern academic equivalency for foreign degrees without a credential evaluation stating what the foreign degree means in terms of US academic value. If your petition, or if your employee or client’s petition makes the lottery with a foreign degree but no evaluation, you can count on an RFE or Denial that will be a whole lot harder to deal with a few months down the road.
    1. Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree
    CIS will NOT approve three-year Bachelor’s degrees, especially those earned in India, without more evidence. The problem lies in the missing fourth year. CIS requirements state that an H1B qualified candidate hold a US four-year bachelor’s degree or higher. While it has been shown that most Indian Bachelor’s degrees have the same or greater amount of classroom contact hours and thus college credit hours as the US four-year Bachelor’s degree, CIS requires candidates to account for the missing fourth year. The content vs. duration argument and supporting evidence simply will not work.If you have, or if your employee or client has a three-year Bachelor’s degree, the missing fourth year will need to be accounted for with progressive work experience. This is work experience in which the candidate took on increasing responsibility and complexity in their work as time went on indicating that skills and knowledge specialized to the field were learned through this work experience. This work experience must be in the candidate’s exact field of employ, which we will come back to soon. Three years of progressive work experience can be converted into one year of college credit in that field, and this conversion must be done by a professor authorized to award college credit for work experience. ONLY work with credential evaluation agencies that work with professors who can do this or it will not be helpful to your case at all.
    1. Degree Specialization Does Not Match the H1B Job
    In years past, CIS has accepted degrees in fields related to the candidate’s H1B job to meet the requirements of academic specialization. However, in the past six or seven years, CIS has been virtually only approving degrees that are an EXACT match. Even though employers hire candidates with related degrees, CIS will not flat out approve their visa. If your major, or if your employee or client’s major was in a field different than their H1B job, you can expect an RFE at best if you submit without a credential evaluation.If this is your situation, or your employee or client’s situation, you will need an evaluation that highlights the college courses taken in the field of the H1B job, as well as a work experience conversion that converts years of progressive work experience in the field into college credit towards a major in that field.
    1. No Degree At All
    If this is the situation, you CANNOT submit without a credential evaluation. H1B eligibility leans heavily on education because it is designed to bring highly skilled, highly educated workers to the United States for specialized jobs that the US workforce cannot fill on its own. However, many brilliant candidates are self-taught, learned on the job, or through other means.If this is your situation, or your employee or client’s situation, a credential evaluation that converts years of work experience into college credit will be needed. Yes, that’s twelve years of progressive work experience in the field.Before you file, let us review the candidate’s education and work experience to make sure they meet H1B requirements, and decide what needs to be done to fill in any gaps or clear up any questions CIS may have. At TheDegreePeople, we understand the last minute and offer rush delivery options down to THREE HOURS if necessary.Let us provide a pre-evaluation with all of your options to help prevent or overturn an educational RFE. Simply hit go to ccifree.com and submit the candidate’s educational documents, an accurate resume, the job title, and the desired equivalence. We will get back to you within 24 hours with the pre-evaluation and a full analysis of all of your options.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    Your H1B Last Minute Filing Tips

    st if possible because in the past few years CIS has been flooded with petitions and closed its doors in five days.Don’t let the time crunch cause you to file a disorganized or incomplete petition. There’s no point in making the FY2018 lottery if your petition, or your employee or client’s petition is just going to get an RFE or Denial. Here’s what you can do to make the most of the next few weeks:

    1. Double-check all documents for consistency.
    Make sure the dates, locations, and spellings are consistent on all documents included in your client’s petition. If there are errors or inconsistencies, CIS will be skeptical of the validity of the education and employment history, and H1B eligibility. Just a simple double-check will significantly reduce the likelihood of an RFE.
    1. Make sure everything you need is included and in order.
    The petition must CLEARLY SHOW that the job is a specialty occupation, and that the candidate has the proper education needed for their H1B job, and H1B visa status. That means the job must require a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent, and you or your employee or client must meet these education requirements. That means you need the ad or employee contract for the job showing the minimum education requirements, as well as documentation that similar jobs for the same industry also hold these specialized education requirements. If this job is uniquely specialized, include an expert opinion letter explaining why this is the case.If you or your employee or client has a degree from outside of the United States, no degree, or a degree in a field that doesn’t EXACTLY match their job, you will need to include an evaluation of the candidate’s credentials and work experience. This evaluation must clearly show that you or your employee or client has the educational equivalence of the required degree. When you file, make sure all of this is in order and readable.
    1. Let us review the candidate’s education and work experience to make sure they qualify. There is no charge.
    Before you file, let us provide a pre-evaluation with all of your options to help prevent or overturn an educational RFE. Simply go to ccifree.com and send us the candidate’s full name and the title of the job, and attach copies of all of the education documents and a current, accurate resume. We will get back to you within 24 hours with a pre-evaluation and all of your options.Taking this extra step before you file will save you a ton of grief in the long run. If the candidate’s education will not stand up to CIS requirements, you need to know NOW. We work regularly with H1B cases and H1B RFE cases. Let us review the candidate’s education and work experience to make sure you have everything you need included in the petition for CIS to approve it. Sometimes, you or your employee or client WILL need a credential evaluation to fill in the gaps of the education. Work experience conversions to college credit are common with this visa, particularly for candidates with three-year Indian bachelor’s degrees. At TheDegreePeople, we have found that those who file petitions WITH a credential evaluation have had far fewer RFEs for specialty occupation issues than those who filed without one.There is no point in filing a petition CIS will not approve. Best-case scenario, you will have to deal with an RFE in the near future. No matter how crunched you are feeling for time, do NOT forgo this essential third tip. Fortunately, agencies that specialize in evaluations for visas understand the needs of their clients and anticipate your needs at the very last minute.At TheDegreePeople, we offer 3-hour rush delivery service when needed. Before you file, let us provide a pre-evaluation with all of your options to help prevent or overturn an educational RFE.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    Do’s and Don’ts for H1B Filing

    Don’t file without double-checking every document included for consistency. Inconsistent spelling of institutions, workplaces, and even names can hurt the credibility of the petition. Make sure location, education, and employment dates match on all documents.Don’t assume CIS knows the academic value of a foreign degree.Don’t assume CIS will see that the candidate’s education and work experience indicate the degree of skill and specialization needed for the candidate to excel at his or her H1B job simply because the employer did.Don’t file with pages out of order. Making your petition, or your employee or client’s petition readable and easy to digest is key to a favorable outcome.Do check in with a credential evaluator with experience working with H1B cases and their RFEs before you file to make sure the education is in order.Do include a foreign credential evaluation in the petition if the degree is from outside of the United States.Do include a foreign credential evaluation in the petition if you or your employee or client has a degree in a field other than their job, a generalized degree, or no college degree.Unless the degree is a four year US bachelor’s degree or higher in the exact field of the H1B job, never assume CIS understands the value of the education. CIS approval trends change, and the person adjudicating the petition is most likely NOT an international education expert. You will need to use the petition to hold CIS’ hand and guide them through the story of why you, or your employee or client is H1B qualified.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    3 Simples Rules to See if Your H1B Candidate Qualifies

  • The job requires an advanced, specialized degree.
  • Simply referencing the ad or job description for the H1B job is not enough. Even if the candidate’s job requires a US bachelor’s degree or higher to perform, you need to clearly show that similar jobs in the same industry ALSO require this level of specialized expertise. You need to show that this is an industry standard. Sometimes, the job will require a unique level of skill and expertise that is not an industry standard. In these cases, you will need an expert opinion letter and evidence about this particular job and company to justify why this job is specialized while similar jobs in the industry with the same title are not.
    1. The candidate has a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent.
    If you, or your employee or client has a degree of this nature from a US institution, and it’s in the correct field, you’re good to go. However, if the candidate has an advanced degree from a country other than the United States, you need to take a closer look to make sure that the candidate is actually H1B qualified. Take the candidate’s transcripts and work experience to a credential evaluator who works regularly with H1B cases and their RFEs. When it comes to degrees like the Indian three-year Bachelor’s degree, the candidate will need at least three years of progressive work experience in their field of employ to account for the missing fourth year of college necessary for the US four-year bachelor’s degree equivalency. Not all work experience will meet the requirements for this conversion. You, or your employee or client may have what is needed to make the conversion, but will still need the right credential evaluation for it to work. If the credential evaluator does not ask about the visa or job, look elsewhere. The evaluator must understand the particular H1B visa requirements as well as CIS approval trends to make an accurate assessment of your, or your employee or client’s educational qualifications, and write the evaluation needed to get the H1B visa approved.
    1. The candidate’s degree is in the field of their H1B job.
    Do you, or does your employee or client hold an advanced degree with a major in their exact field of employ? If the answer is yes, then you’re most likely good to go. If the answer is no – even if the degree is from a US institution – the next step is to find out if your client has the course content and work experience needed to write the equivalency to a degree in the right field. Take the candidate’s transcripts and work experience to a credential evaluator who works regularly with H1B cases and their RFEs to determine if there are enough years of progressive work experience in the field to fill in the gaps between their degree specialization and their field. In the past, candidates with degrees in fields related to their job have had their visas approved, but in the past six or seven years this has not been the case. The degree must be an exact match to prove the candidate has the specialized skills and expertise needed for their H1B job or CIS will not approve the visa.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    Your H1B Solutions for the Generalized Degree

  • Specialized Job
  • Specialized Education
  • Successful candidates meet both of these requirements by having a job that requires an advanced degree – a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent – to perform, and the accompanying education required to perform it. CIS requires this education to be specialized precisely to the field. That’s where candidates run into trouble come filing season.Do you, or does your employee or client have a generalized degree or a degree specialization is a field other than the job? Then you need a credential evaluation. Even if the degree is from a US institution, CIS requires a degree equivalency in the exact specialization of the candidate’s job. For example, a business degree will not cut it for a job in finance. A sociology degree will not cut it for a job in psychology. A job in biology requires a bachelor’s degree or higher in biology – not chemistry, geology, or physics.If you or your employee or client has a generalized degree or a degree mismatched to their job, take the transcripts and work experience to a credential evaluator who works regularly with H1B visas and their RFEs. Evaluators who work regularly with RFEs understand what triggers them and how to prevent them. CIS approval trends regarding education have changed in the past six or seven years, and one of those changes is that the degree specialization must be an EXACT match for the job offer. The evaluator can take a close look at the course content of the candidate’s education, and combine that with progressive work experience in the field to write the evaluation you need to prove educational specialization.Be sure that the evaluation agency you work with has professors on hand who are authorized to issue college credit for work experience. This way, the candidate’s years of work experience in the field can be converted into college credit counting towards their specialized major equivalency. CIS accepts a three years of progressive work experience to one year of college credit in the field equivalency for the H1B visa. Consult with your evaluator to make sure you or your employee or client has the right kind of work experience – and enough of it – before you order your evaluation.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    Get Those Visas Ready! H1B Season Starts April 1st

    st, 2017 for visas for fiscal year 2018.The annual cap is 65,000 for candidates with bachelor’s degrees, and another 20,000 for candidates with master’s degrees of higher. This cap has not changed. Last year, CIS received a record 236,000 petitions in the first five days of opening its doors to petitions, during which CIS is mandated to continue to accept petitions even if the cap is exceeded. After that point, the petitions go into a randomized lottery for review for approval.Every year, more and more petitions have come in, exceeding the annual H1B cap in the first week. There will almost certainly be an H1B lottery again this year. That means if you or your employee or client has a cap-subject H1B job and is petitioning for a visa for FY2018, the petition MUST be filed on April 1st or very shortly after to make the lottery.Make sure that when you file, everything you or your employee or client needs to get the visa approved is included. If you or your employee or client has a degree that doesn’t fit their job title, a foreign degree, a three-year bachelor’s degree, or any other unusual education situation, do not file without first consulting with a foreign credential evaluation agency that specializes in H1B visas. Making the lottery only to receive an RFE or worse is not worth the time, money, and energy.About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    H1B Case Study: Approved with NO College Credit!

    can an H1B candidate be approved without any college credit, but rather how much progressive work experience is needed.As an equivalency, CIS accepts three years of progressive work experience as the equivalent of one year of college credit. This equivalency must be written by a professor with the authority to grant college credit for work experience. Progressive work experience means the candidate took on more responsibility and complexity with time, indicating that the nature of the work experience was educational and increasingly specialized. This work experience must be in the candidate’s EXACT field of employ to meet CIS specialization requirements for H1B visa approval.If you or your employee or client has no college credit or no degree from a government accredited institution, twelve years of progressive work experience in the field is needed to make this equivalency work.Sometimes, candidates say that their high school diploma is a college degree. Other times, candidates hold credentials from programs that are not government accredited. If this is the case, you need to know about it before you file the H1B petition. Take your transcripts, or your employee or client’s transcripts to a credential evaluator who can identify what kind of educational background you or your employee or client has, and whether or not the institutions are accredited. Evaluators with experience working with H1B cases can also identify whether or not work experience is “progressive” and will count towards a college credit equivalency.About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    You Can Sidestep the Most Common H1B RFEs

    Degree does not match the job titleWe expect this CIS approval trend that emerged about six or seven years ago to hold strong. Your degree, or your employee client’s degree must be an exact match for the job. H1B visa holders must work specialty jobs and have the specialized skills and expertise required to perform the duties of these jobs. To prove specialization, you or your employee or client must either hold a degree in that exact field, or have the individual credits and work experience to write an equivalency to that exact field. For example, if you or your employee or client has a job in finance and a Bachelor’s degree in business, you need to include a credential evaluation that takes a close look at the candidate’s courses taken in finance, as well as work experience in the field of finance. Work experience – so long as the candidate took on progressively more responsibility through this work – can be converted into years of college credit with three years of work experience equating to one year of college credit in the field. This evaluation is necessary to sidestep this VERY common RFE.Three-year bachelor’s degreeAt TheDegreePeople, we work with many clients with Indian three-year Bachelor’s degrees. Every year, we see that without a credential evaluation, virtually all of these clients receive an RFE. In the past, we’ve been able to answer these RFEs by showing that the course content of three-year degrees is the equivalent to a US four-year bachelor degree by converting classroom contact hours into college credit hours using the Carnegie Unit conversion of fifteen classroom contact hours to one hour of college credit. However, last year it did not work. Luckily, we always have a plan B.This year, if you or your employee or client has a three-year bachelor’s degree, you should understand right off the bat that your client will need a work experience conversion to get the H1B visa approved. CIS is hung up on that missing fourth year, and at the end of the day, it’s up to them whether or not to approve your visa, or your employee or client’s visa. Consult with a credential evaluation agency about the candidate’s education and work experience and include a credential evaluation with a work experience conversion in the initial H1B filing on April 1st.If either or both of these situation matches that of you or your employee or client, do not file without the appropriate work experience conversion. It’s important to remember that not all credential evaluation agencies are authorized to make this work experience conversion. Only a college or university professor is authorized to issue college credit for years of progressive work experience. The credential evaluation agency you want to work with has these professors on staff or on contract to write the evaluation you or your employee or client needs to sidestep an education RFE.About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

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