Form I-140 is a frustrating place to run into trouble for education-based visa beneficiaries and their sponsors. With the rising prevalence of RFEs for visas of all types, it is far from rare for applicants to get through the PERM phase only to receive an RFE for Form I-140.
If you, or your employee or receives an RFE on Form I-140, don’t panic. While this is a bump in the road, it is also an opportunity to strengthen the case so long as you understand what CIS is looking for. In these three common Form I-140 RFEs, the key to success is understanding where evidence and consistency was lacking, and how to fix it to get that visa approved.
Position indicated on Form I-140 fit the category indicated in Part 2.
Part 2 is where you must indicate the visa classification. This is based on what credentials are required as minimum requirements for entry into the position. You must choose a classification, and you must ONLY choose one. Applicants selecting the EB2 category tend to run into the most trouble here. The EB2 category requires the position and the beneficiary to hold a minimum of a US Master’s degree in the field, or a Bachelor’s degree in the field FOLLOWED BY five years of progressive work experience, or its equivalent. Since EB2 processing time is much faster than the EB3 classification, beneficiaries and their sponsors have incentive to try to make the position – and the candidate – fit into the wrong category. Oftentimes, the positiondoes fit into the EB2 classification, but sufficient evidence and expert analysis is lacking, and this is what you need to provide in your RFE response.
Answers between the PERM and Form I-140 are inconsistent.
Inconsistent answers between forms are a surefire way to trigger an RFE. Make sure answers are consistent in their content and in their spelling between forms. If there are amendments, make sure to check yes for Part 4, Item 7 accompanied by an attached explanation of any changes made on a bright colored sheet placed directly beneath Form I-140. Write that the PERM has already been submitted and that this is an amended petition. Include the receipt number for the PERM. This way, inconsistencies between the PERM and I-140 will be clearly explained to CIS and they will not have to ask inquire about it. Sometimes they will anyway, but you will have already strengthened your case with the amendment and this will help you greatly in an RFE arrives.
The petition did not include a credential evaluation or included the WRONG credential evaluation.
If the beneficiary’s degree or degrees were earned outside of the United States, a credential evaluation will be needed to clearly show the educational value of the degree in question by US educational standards. If the degree does not match the field of employ, or if there is incomplete college – or no college, but a lot of work experience in the field – a credential evaluation will be needed to close any gaps between the education the beneficiary has, and the education the beneficiary needs to meet the educational requirements of the category indicated in Part 2 of Form I-140. If a credential evaluation is not included and the beneficiary has anything but a straightforward degree earned in the US in the exact field of the job in question, it will likely trigger an RFE. Choosing the right credential evaluator is essential because educational requirements when it comes to equivalencies differ between visas. If the evaluator doesn’t ask about your, or your employee or client’s job or visa, look elsewhere. The agency should not rely solely on online equivalency databases, but rather have their own updated reference library that includes CIS approval precedents, federal caselaw, and international trade agreements regarding employment and education portability.
At TheDegreePeople, we have experts in every field on hand to write expert opinion letters to strengthen your case, or your employee or client’s case, and evaluators with extensive experience in international education, college and graduate program admissions, and working with Form I-140 cases and their RFEs.
For a free review of your case, visit ccifree.com/. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less.
This article was written by Rebecca Little