Countdown to April 2nd: Your H-1B Last Minute Checklist

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The H-1B visa is the most competitive US work visa and the H-1B cap for FY 2019 opens in just a few weeks.

This year, USCIS opens its doors to H-1B petitions on Monday, April 2nd and is projected to exceed the cap of 65,000 visas plus an additional 20,000 for candidates with masters degrees or higher by Friday, April 6th. That means, you have to be ready as soon as filing begins to ensure you, or your employee or candidate makes the H-1B lottery.

Don’t let the last minute lure you into filing a sloppy or incomplete petition. Before you file, make sure that the answer and information are consistent across all documents including the LCA, the petition, and all documentation describing the duties and requirements for the job. Inconsistent answers will likely trigger an RFE, and a closer scrutiny of the case.

Common education RFEs occur when a client has a degree specialization that doesn’t match the job, incomplete or generalized education, or a degree from outside of the United States, and the petition is not filed with a credential evaluation that clearly articulates the academic value of your or your employee or client’s education and work experience in terms of US academic value. It is also important to verify that the degree was earned in an accredited institutions.

If you or your client or employee has one of these educational situations, it is important to order a credential evaluation to file WITH the H-1B petition come April 2nd. A work experience conversion may be necessary to account for the gaps between your education, or your client or employee’s education and H-1B educational eligibility requirements.

Last year, CIS issued a record number of RFEs for H-1B petitions, especially for beneficiaries working as computer programmers at level 1 wages. If your client has a borderline job that doesn’t ALWAYS require a US bachelors degree as a minimum requirement according to the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, your case, or your client or employee’s case will need additional evidence including an expert opinion letter to prove why this position is uniquely specialized.

There are some situations that are RFE magnets. If you, or your employee or client:

• Has a degree from outside of the US,

• Has a three-year bachelors degree,

• Has an incomplete degree or no college at all,

• Has a generalized degree or a degree in a major that doesn’t exactly match the H-1B job, or

• Works a borderline occupation where it’s unclear whether the educational qualifications meet H-1B requirements for specialization,

You need to know before you file and address the situation accordingly to preempt an RFE.

At TheDegreePeople.com, we work with difficult H-1B cases and H-1B RFEs every year. We know what triggers and RFE and we know how to take steps to effectively preempt them. USCIS is always a wildcard, so we keep an eye on their approval trends every year. For a free review of your case, or your client or employee’s case, visit ccifree.com/. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less with a full analysis, pre-evaluation, and our expert recommendations on what to do to avoid an RFE.

This article was written by Rebecca Little

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