It’s Easier to Prevent an EB2 RFE than to Overturn One

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With only 40,040 annual EB2 Visas available and more and more candidates vying for them, you need to make sure USCIS gets your EB2 Visa petition. Alongside increased demand for these Visas for highly skilled workers, we have been seeing more and more RFE’s issued every year.

While an RFE is by no means a rejection of your Visa petition, it is a big red flag that will trigger a scrutinizing look at your petition that can turn up minor glitches that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Additionally, while many RFE’s are straightforward and reasonable to answer, we are seeing more and more complicated RFE’s that take some strategy and specialized insight into international education and federal case law to address.

How can you avoid an RFE on your EB2 Visa petition? Here are three key factors to keep in mind unique to this Visa:

  1. Your education must match the education requirement on the PERM. If your education is not a match, it will trigger an RFE or Denial. If your degree does not match the education requirement, you need a credential evaluation. If your degree is anything other than a straightforward four-year bachelor’s degree from the United States, you need a credential evaluation, and you need to submit it with the rest of your petition and documentation.
  1. Your bachelor’s degree MUST be a single source degree. This is where this first factor can get tricky. With other Visas like the H1B Visa, CIS allows candidates’ evaluators to combine work experience with years of college to equate to a bachelor’s degree. This is NOT the case with EB2, the bachelor’s degree must be from a single source degree. To work around this, you must find an evaluator well-versed in federal case law that allows for using five years of work experience to show equivalence to a US Master’s Degree. At CCI we can do this, and it takes a LOT of research, evidence, and documentation.
  1. Beware of mistranslations. If your transcripts and educational documents needed to be translated into English, the value of your degree may have been inadvertently changed in translation. One common mistranslation is Baccalaureate to Bachelor’s degree, and these degrees are NOT the same. Similarly, the Russian specialist degree is often mistranslated as well. The kandidat naouk is generally the equivalent to a US doctorate, but cannot be TRANSLATED as a doctorate degree.

John Kersey, international education expert, explains, “In international education, the same term may mean entirely different things. Most bachelor’s degrees in Pakistan, for example, are only two years long and are comparable to a United States associate’s degree, not a bachelor’s degree, which requires three to four years of study. The European Master degree typically represents four years of postsecondary education, and is thus comparable to a United States bachelor’s degree, rather than a Master’s degree, which requires five to six years of postsecondary study.”

Some translation firms are now offering evaluation services as well which has compounded the problem. International credential evaluation is highly nuanced and complex, not to mention translation firms do not know the particular degree requirements of each Visa and how that must impact the way the degree is evaluated.

The solution? A skilled credential evaluator with expertise in international education can pick up on mistranslations. Be sure to let your evaluator know that your educational documents were translated and find a credential evaluation agency with evaluators who at minimum hold a degree in higher education that includes significant study in international education systems. These evaluators will be able to pick up on mistranslations and have a nuanced understanding of which equivalencies are seen as valid in the eyes of CIS, as well as universities and colleges. Find an evaluation agency with evaluators well-versed in federal case law who can evaluate your work experience into the degree you need to meet the educational requirements on the PERM.

Get it right the first time. Don’t make CIS ask again, and don’t give them an excuse to pick your petition apart. These are tricky factors to keep in mind, but now that you know about them, you now have to tools to avoid an RFE.

About the Author

Sheila Danzig

Sheila Danzig is the Executive Director of CCI TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFEs, Denials, or NOIDs, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723. Mention that you saw this in the ILW article and get 72 hour rush service at no charge.

This article was written by Rebecca Little

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