Requests for Evidence (RFE) are being issued at higher and higher rates in response to petitions for H-1B visas. With the high volume of H-1B applicants every year, the USCIS has tightened its standards for fulfilling the requirements to qualify for this visa. This means that not only the employee applying for H-1B status should be fully prepared to provide further proof and documentation, but the employer should be as well.
Understanding what is being asked of you and your employer in your RFE is what’s most important. There are 6 main types of RFEs.
1. Academic Evaluation
This type of RFE is issued when there is a question about employee credentials. You must prove that your education is equivalent to the US degrees, training, or licensing required for your position of employment. For countries with 3-year bachelors degrees and other educational systems that differ from the US, you must have a detailed credential evaluation performed by an authorized credential evaluation agency to assess the academic content of your degree to prove equivalence.
2. Employer/Employee Relationship
This RFE is asking for further proof that your work in your position of employment can be controlled by your employer. This includes their ability to hire and fire you, pay you, and provide you with benefits such as health insurance and 401K. They may ask you to submit a W2 form, pay stubs, or other documents indicating the nature of your relationship.
3. Payroll Information and Corporate Returns from Employer
This kind of RFE is an investigation into the nature of your employer and their fiscal health.
4. Proof of Specialty Occupation
If you receive this kind of RFE, you must prove that the position in which you are employed requires specialized training in a specific field. In recent years the definition of a “specialty occupation” has narrowed from a job requiring at least a bachelor’s degree in a related field to requiring specific training, licensing, or degree attainment in that exact field of employment. This can be overcome in your RFE even if you don’t have a degree in the EXACT field of your employment if you can prove adequate work experience. This can be done by having your experience and credentials evaluated by a credential evaluation agency with the authority to convert work experience into college credit hours.
5. Name Mismatch
This kind of RFE is fairly straight forward. If the name on your passport and the name on your H-1B forms are different you will receive an RFE to clarify. This is common for Indian employees with long names who have to shorten them on their passports or have shortened their names during their time living in the united states. Copies of your birth certificate or similar documents will be requested.
6. Client Letter and Contract
This is another common RFE and the objective is to prove that your job actually exists. You will have to provide a copy of your work contract or some other written agreement between you and your employer that describes your work and the relationship.
If you receive an RFE response, don’t panic. This is not a denial, it is an opportunity to clarify your case. DO however be sure to completely understand your RFE, collect and make copies of all of the necessary documentation requested, and submit it all at once on time.
If you have received an RFE for an education situation go to cciFree.com for a no charge review of your case.
This article was written by Rebecca Little