The RFE is a tool USCIS uses to make an informed decision on your case, so don’t panic. Do what you can to make their job easier and you’ll boost your chances of approval significantly. Be sure you understand exactly what is being asked of you and your employer in your RFE and be sure to follow these simple suggestions to streamline your response process.
1) Choose the Right Credential Evaluator
Many RFEs are being issued because standards of what “specialized occupation” is and its qualifications have tightened. In the past, a specialized occupation that qualifies the petitioner for H-1B status meant the position required a Bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, or another broad degree related to the field. Now a “specialized occupation” may require more detailed training, and being qualified for it means to have a degree that EXACTLY matches the field of expertise. You can address this even if your degree does not exactly match the field of your occupation by having your work experience evaluated by a credential evaluation agency with the authority to convert work experience into credit hours. Unless your evaluator is authorized to do this you will likely be met with a denial.
2) Punctuality and Organization
The USCIS rarely offers extensions and will rarely send another RFE to clarify your response to your first one, so this is your one big chance to get it right. Make sure to submit all of the requested documentation and analysis at once, on time, and to the correct address.
3) Be Aware of your Audience
Your petition will be evaluated by a human being. With this in mind, it makes sense to be polite and courteous in your RFE even if you are frustrated. Keep your answers concise and organize your response in a clean and clear way. Remember, people will be reading these and if you make their jobs easier you increase your chances of approval immensely.
4) CHOOSE THE RIGHT EVALUATOR!
This bears repeating. It is VERY important you work with a credentials evaluator who fully understands the Visa requirements and the RFE, and who will tell you exactly what they will be doing before you order your evaluation. There is a BIG difference between H-1B Visa requirements and I140 Visa requirements. For H-1B Visas, education and work experience can be combined to show the equivalence of a US Bachelor’s degree, but for I140 EB2 Visa filing you cannot do this as this Visa requires a single source degree for the applicant’s Bachelor’s degree. Therefore it is extremely important to choose a credentials evaluator who understands the specifics of different Visas.
If you have received an RFE for an education situation call Sheila Danzig, executive director of Career Consulting International at 1-800-771-4723 or go to cciFree.com for a free review of your case.
This article was written by Rebecca Little