How to Answer and H-1B RFE with NO DEGREE

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H-1B education requirements demand that a candidate for this visa hold a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent. Do you or does your employee or client have the skills and knowledge needed to excel at their specialty, H-1B qualified job, but no degree to show for it? This is more common than expected as highly skilled workers are often self-taught, or learned skills on the job rather than through traditional education. While this is not the norm, an ample chunk of H-1B beneficiaries learned in the classroom of the workplace rather than in a college or university. Employers hire these creatively educated workers and then CIS sends them RFEs when they file for the H-1B visa.

Sometimes an H-1B candidate will have SOME college or university education but no degree completed. Sometimes there will be no college education at all. CIS does have a solution for this, but you or your employee or client will need a very specific kind of work experience for this to work, and a VERY specific and detailed credential evaluation accompanying the answer to the RFE.

CIS generally accepts that three years of progressive work experience in the field of your or your employee or client’s H-1B job is the equivalency of one year of college credit towards a bachelor’s degree in that field. PROGRESSIVE work experience means that the job duties expanded in scope and responsibility as employment went on, implying that you or your employee or client learned increasingly specialized skills on the job.

If you or your employee or client has some education – or no education – and enough years of progressive work experience, an evaluator with the authority to convert years of this work experience into college credit can write the evaluation you or your employee or client needs to prove to CIS that there is a legitimate US bachelor’s degree equivalency. Remember, the degree specialization must exactly match the job, so the progressive work experience MUST be in the field of employ.

About the Author

Sheila Danzig

Sheila Danzig is the Executive Director at, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to or call 800.771.4723.

This article was written by Rebecca Little