Does the Education H1B Qualify? Find Out Fast!

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It’s officially down to the last minute! You’ve got a little over a week to get the H1B visa petition filed in time for April 1st, 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 Danzig

Sheila 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.

This article was written by Rebecca Little

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