Visa Approvals

The Dreaded Specialty Occupation RFE – How Does USCIS Determine Occupation Eligibility?

specialty occupation as a job that requires application of a highly specialized body of knowledge on a practical and theoretical level, and requires the worker to have earned a US bachelor’s degree or higher, or its equivalent as a minimum requirement for entry into that job in the United States. It’s important to note here that the job itself needs to require this educational minimum, it is not enough for the beneficiary to have earned a bachelors degree if it’s not needed to gain entry to the field.This definition serves as the basis for what CIS will consider a job that qualifies for H1B status. However, this definition is too simplistic to apply to the nature of specialized occupations in the real world. Jobs do not exist in a vacuum, and different states have different educational requirements for entry into many specialized occupations. Some require a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent as a minimum, and others don’t for the same job, just across state lines.There are two standards that allow for some level of subjectivity within the industry, and at the discretion of the employer that factor into CIS’ determination. The first is the industry standard criteria, added in 1990. What this standard means for H1B occupations is that the position in question must typically require the attainment of a US bachelors degree or higher as a minimum requirement, and that in similar organizations, this same baseline qualification is standard for this position.The second is the employer-standard, which becomes useful when the job in question doesn’t meet the industry standard because of circumstances unique to the position and company in question. To meet CIS specialization requirements by this standard, the employer must typically require a US bachelors degree or higher for the position in question, and that the nature and duties of this position are uniquely specialized so as to require this advanced degree.If your client or employee is in one such job, you need to go a step further in the petition to show that state regulations for this occupation meet H1B specialization requirements. Likewise, if your employee or client has a job that does require an advanced degree, but does not obviously require an advanced degree, detailed evidence and documentation is needed to prove specialization to CIS.At TheDegreePeople, we work with RFEs and difficult cases every year. We know what jobs and degrees trigger RFEs, and we know how to prevent them. Visit for a no-charge and no-obligation review of your client or employee’s case.]]>

H1B Alert: Don't Submit the Right Evaluation for the Wrong Visa

  • Did they ask about the visa?
  • Did they ask about the job?
  • Do they work with H1B cases and their RFEs on a regular basis?
  • The right evaluation agency for you case, or your client or employee’s case is the one that asks about the visa and the job, and works regularly with H1B cases and H1B RFE cases.At TheDegreePeople, we follow CIS approval trends, and work regularly with H1B cases and their RFEs. We know what triggers common RFEs, and we know how to prevent them. For a free review of your case, or your client or employee’s case, visit]]>

    Is H1B the Right Filing for You? Find out NOW

    st is coming up fast, and it’s time to organize those H1B petitions. Before you begin the filing process, it’s important to know for certain that the candidate and the job meet H1B eligibility requirements.H1B requirements state that the job must require a minimum of a US bachelors degree or higher or its equivalent to perform, and the candidate must meet this educational standard in the field of the H1B job. That means you or your client or employee needs a US bachelors degree or higher or its equivalent in the correct field. Candidates with education from outside of the US, incomplete education, or complete education with a major in a field that doesn’t exactly match their H1B job get RFEs without taking precautionary measures in the initial petition. Last year, we saw a spike in occupational RFEs where computer programmers at level 1 wages were targeted for lacking in specialization.This year, before you file, make sure that the requirements are met, and that you have the additional documentation and evidence needed to prevent any RFEs you or your employee or client may be susceptible to given their circumstance.There are two factors to take into consideration when determining H1B eligibility:1. The OccupationDoes the beneficiary’s occupation meet H1B requirements? To qualify, it must require a minimum of a US bachelors degree or higher or its equivalent to carry out the complex duties of the job. To prove this, you will need to clearly show that this educational requirement is the standard for the industry, meaning that similar jobs in the industry at similar companies also have this minimum educational requirement. If this job is uniquely complex, you will have to clearly show how its duties require an unusual level of specialization. If you or your employee or client is a computer programmer at level 1 wages, you will need to include an expert opinion letter that explains how wage levels work in this instance – that level 1 wages does not mean the job is an entry-level position – and a detailed description of the job’s duties showing that a minimum of a US bachelors degree or its equivalent is needed.2. The EducationThe beneficiary needs to have a US bachelors degree or higher or its equivalent in the exact field of the H1B job to get approved without an RFE. If you or your employee or client has a degree from outside of the US, a degree with a major that doesn’t match the job exactly, a generalized degree, or no completed degree, you will need to submit a credential evaluation along with the petition that fills in the missing gaps. This evaluation must be tailored to the beneficiary’s unique situation that takes their pathway through education, the job, and the visa requirements into consideration alongside CIS approval trends, graduate program and university admissions precedents, international trade agreements regarding educational portability, international education, and a whole host of other factors. If you talk to an agency and they don’t ask about the job or visa, look elsewhere, because without this information the right evaluation cannot be written.However, before you go through the process of ordering the evaluation and organizing the petition, you need to make sure you have, or your employee or client has the progressive work experience, external training, and academic course content to meet CIS educational requirements. For a free review of your case, visit and submit the educational documents and resume, and indicate the job in question. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less with a full analysis, whether or not the beneficiary can meet CIS educational requirements, and if so what is needed to be done to meet these requirements clearly.]]>

    H1B RFE Survival Guide For FY 2019

    st and August 31st, CIS issued 85,000 RFEs, which is a 45% increase from that same period of time in 2016.Going into this filing season starting Monday April 2nd, 2018 for FY 2019, we’re still anticipating the cap will be exceeded quickly and there will be an H1B lottery, and we’re anticipating a high volume of RFEs. To make sure your petition, or your client or employee’s petition gets into the H1B lottery, it MUST be filed between April 2nd and April 6th, 2018.As you prepare the petition, it’s important to keep in mind common RFEs from last year so you can take measures to prevent them this year. Last year, CIS issued an unprecedented number of RFEs regarding wages levels and occupational specialization. Here’s how it breaks down:First, H1B eligibility requires beneficiaries to be paid the prevailing wages and benefits for that position in companies in that industry of that size, and in that geographic location. Last year, a common RFE claimed that the wage level for the job in question was set too low, based on the complexity and specialization of the duties of the job.Second, for a job to be eligible for H1B, it must require a minimum of a US bachelors degree or its equivalent or higher. CIS issued an unprecedented number of Level 1 Wages RFEs last year claiming that the wage level indicates the job is entry-level. This becomes a problem when entry-level positions in the industry, or the job in question don’t meet the minimum H1B educational requirements.Before you file, make sure the beneficiary is being paid the prevailing wage for their H1B job. If the job is set at Level 1 Wages, but the position is not entry-level and does meet CIS educational requirements, you will need to include an expert opinion letter and additional documentation in the petition that states why the job and the wages still meet H1B requirements. We can help. Visit for a free review of your case.]]>

    Prepare for Tough RFEs for Specialty Occupation this H1B Season or simply reply to this email for a no cost and no obligation full review of your case, or your client or employee’s case. At, we work with RFEs every year. We know what triggers them, and we know how to answer them, and most importantly, we know how to prevent them. We will review the entire case, and get back to you within 48 hours with a full analysis, pre-evaluation, and our recommendations moving forward.]]>

    Attention: H1B Quota Opens April 1st for Fiscal Year 2019!

    st is coming right up! This is the date when CIS begins accepting cap-subject H1B petitions, and at TheDegreePeople, we predict the quota will be met within 5 business days.While demand for H1B visas continues to rise, there are still only 65,000 visas available for employees with US Bachelors degrees or their equivalency or higher, and an additional 20,000 for employees with US Masters degrees or their equivalent or higher. Last year, CIS accepted 236,000 petitions in five days. CIS is required to accept petitions for at least five business days, or until the quota has been exceeded.We predict that this year will be no different, giving beneficiaries, their employers, and their lawyers a very small window to file. When the number of petitions exceeds the visas available, CIS uses a randomized lottery to select visas. That means you need to be all ready to file on April 1st.While there’s nothing you can do for yourself, or your employee or client against lottery odds, you can make sure they 1) get into the lottery by filing on April 1st, and 2) file an impeccable petition that will be easy to approve.When you’re organizating the petition, keep in mind that some jobs and degrees are RFE magnets. For example, the Indian three-year bachelors degree will likely trigger an RFE if there is no credential evaluation included in the petition that converts work experience into a fourth year of college credit. The job Computer Systems Analysis tends to trigger RFEs because there are hardly any US bachelors degree majors with that exact title. That means candidates with this job need to include a credential evaluation with their petition that shows they have the equivalent of a degree in Computer Systems Analysis or an RFE will arrive instead of approval.Last year, we saw an unprecedented number of RFEs for computer programmers at level 1 wages. If your, or your employee or client is in this situation, you will want to include an expert opinion letter explaining why the job meets H1B specialization requirements.Before you file, let us review your case. We have experts and credential evaluators on hand to write the evaluation or opinion letter your client needs to prevent an RFE. Visit for a no charge and no obligation review of your petition, or your employee or client’s petition before you file. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less with a full analysis and pre-evaluation, along with our recommendations.]]>

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