Credential Evaluation

RFE Alert: Did you submit the right evaluation for the wrong visa?

  • Did they ask about the candidate’s job?
  • Did they ask about the candidate’s visa?
  • Do they regularly work with RFE cases?
  • The right credential evaluation agency will ask the right questions, work regularly with RFE, and follow CIS approval trends.If the answer is no to any or all of these questions, it is likely that you had the right evaluation for the wrong visa. While the evaluation may be accurate, it still did not met CIS requirements for H1B eligibility.For an H1B visa, the candidate must hold the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree or higher in the exact field of their H1B job. For three-year bachelor’s degrees or for degree that don’t exactly match the field of employ, you need a credential evaluation to fill in the eligibility gaps. CIS will not accept classroom clock hour conversions to hours of college credit. The fourth year must be accounted for with a progressive work experience conversion of three years of work experience to one year of college credit in the field.The right credential evaluation agency will keep one eye on the education and the other on CIS. That’s what we do at TheDegreePeople.com.If you or your employee or client received an RFE for an education situation, let us help you for free. Simply hit go to ccifree.com and submit the educational documents and a current, accurate resume. We will get back to you within 24 hours with a pre-evaluation, full analysis, and all of your options moving forward.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director of 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.]]>

    Overturn an H1B Nightmare RFE in Three Steps

  • Read it.
  • Sit down with your team and read through the entire RFE carefully. Look at the documentation and evidence that you are being asked to provide. Don’t panic, you won’t have to provide the virtually impossible amount of evidence in the virtually impossible amount of time the RFE states.
    1. Put it down and go back to the original H1B requirements.
    This RFE will not tell you how to answer it. The second step is to put the RFE down and return to the initial H1B requirements. In looking at the original H1B requirements in light of the evidence and documentation being requested, you can get a sense of what underlying questions CIS is really trying to answer in requesting the evidence indicated. Answer those underlying questions and you won’t need to jump through the impossible amount of hoops the Nightmare seems to require. Remember, the candidate’s job must be a specialty occupation requiring a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent to perform. The candidate must hold that degree in the exact field of employ or its foreign equivalent. Your client’s employer must be economically viable and pay the H1B worker the prevailing wages for that job for a company of that size in that geographical location. The candidate and the employer must also have an employer-employee relationship in which the employer can hire, fire, promote, pay, supervise, and otherwise control the candidate’s work. Find out which of these requirements were not clearly met, and provide the evidence to fill in the gaps left open in the initial petition.
    1. Go to CCIFREE.COM for a free consultation on how to best proceed.
    Visit us for a free consultation on your education situation, or the situation of your employee or client. Oftentimes, what was missing in the original petition was a credential evaluation – or the RIGHT credential evaluation. If you or your employee or client has a degree from outside of the United States, incomplete college, or a degree in a generalized field or field that does not exactly match the H1B job, a credential evaluation is needed so CIS can clearly see the value of the education. Oftentimes, a credential evaluation agency will write an accurate evaluation, but not take the nuances of the H1B visa into account. If you’re wondering why you, or your employee or client got an RFE even though you submitted a credential evaluation, this may be your situation. Did the agency ask about the job or visa? These are two essential components of writing the RIGHT credential evaluation for the H1B visa.Are you staring down a Nightmare RFE? We can help. Simply go to ccifree.com and submit the candidate’s educational documents and a current, accurate resume and we will get back to you within 24 hours with a full pre-evaluation and analysis, and all of your options moving forward.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director of 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. ]]>

    H1B RFE? Whose fault was it?

    Sometimes CIS is to blame for the RFEAs you well know, CIS is not perfect. The H1B petition could have been spotless and CIS will still issue an RFE. These RFEs are factually incorrect. They are frustrating, but they are easy because you already have all of the evidence, documentation, and analysis ready to file.Sometimes it’s the attorney’s faultWhile it is rare, an attorney will sometimes file a petition incorrectly. If this is the case, it’s typically not worth firing your attorney for this late in the process. Misfiling errors can be corrected.Sometimes the RFE is the fault of the candidateSometimes H1B candidates will mistake the value of their degree. It’s not uncommon for a candidate to insist that a high school diploma is a college degree, or to provide mistranslated or poorly evaluated educational documents that trigger an RFE. Sometimes the degree isn’t from an accredited institution, and regardless of how good their education actually is, CIS will not accept a degree from an institution that is not accredited. If this is the case, it’s important to find out where the candidate’s mistake was made and provide accurate evidence in its place when answering the RFE.Sometimes the evaluator – or the evaluation – caused the RFECredential evaluations for visa cases can get tricky in a hurry, and not every credential evaluator or agency is up for the job. International education is very specialized and nuanced, and each visa has different educational requirements, as well as requirements surrounding what constitutes an equivalency CIS will accept. On top of that, CIS approval trends regarding education change from year to year. For example, in the past, CIS would approve H1B petitions in which the candidate had a US bachelor’s degree or higher in a field related to their H1B job, whereas now they require an EXACT match. If your client has a three-year bachelor’s degree, CIS will no longer accept a classroom contact hour evaluation that breaks down the academic content by converting classroom contact hours into college credit hours. Now, a work experience conversion of three years of progressive work experience to one year of college credit in the field is required to account for the missing fourth year. The evaluator you need for the job follows CIS approval trends, understands the nuances of international education, and understands the difference between educational requirements for different visas. A perfectly good credential evaluator can write the wrong evaluation for your or your employee or client’s H1B case.Here’s a hint: When choosing the right credential evaluator, do they ask about the visa and the job? If the answer is no, then look elsewhere. These factors are vital to the right evaluation for the case.If you or your employee or client received an H1B RFE, let us provide a free pre-evaluation of the candidate’s education. Simply go to ccifree.com and submit educational documents, a current accurate resume, and indicate the job title and desired equivalency. We will get back to you within 24 hours with the pre-evaluation, a full analysis, and all of your options to successfully overturn your client’s RFE.About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    RFE Solutions: Your RFE Won’t Help You Answer It!

  • The job must be a specialty occupation.
  • The candidate must hold a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalent or higher in the field of this specialty occupation.
  • The candidate and the employer must have an employer-employee relationship.
  • The candidate must be paid prevailing wages and benefits for the job for companies of that size in that geographical location.
  • Which of these four requirements is lacking? For qualifications 3 and 4, you can provide the employee contract that shows the nature of the duties you or your employee or client will be performing and the requirements and codes of conduct of the work place. Provide paystubs and W2 information along with documentation about similar jobs for similar companies in that geographic location to show that you or your employee or client is receiving the prevailing wages and benefits.If the petition is lacking in the first qualification, you need to show that the job requires an advanced degree, and specialized skills and knowledge to perform. To meet this requirement, you can provide the advertisement for the job that includes minimum qualifications for the job. You should also provide ads for similar jobs in the same industry for companies of a similar size and scope. If this particular job has higher requirements than similar jobs because this situation uniquely requires specialized knowledge, include an expert opinion letter clearly explaining why this is the case.Requirement 2 has become trickier every year. In the past, CIS has approved the visas of candidates with degrees in fields related to their specialty occupation. Now, candidates must have a degree that is an exact match for their job. Before you get bogged down in the wording of your RFE, find out what the education situation is and what you can do about it to answer the RFE. Simply go to ccifree.com and submit a current resume and the candidate’s educational documents. Indicate the job and desired degree equivalency and specialization, and we will get back to you within 24 hours with a pre-evaluation and analysis of your options.If the degree is not an exact match for the specialty occupation, a credential evaluation that converts years of work experience in the field into college credit towards a US bachelor’s degree in that major is needed.Candidates with degrees from outside of the US also run into trouble with this requirement, particularly candidates with 3-year bachelor’s degrees from India. If you or your employee or client earned the degree from outside of the US, do not submit it without a credential evaluation. Transcripts must be translated and evaluated. These are two very different, and VERY specialized services that cannot be grouped into a one-stop shop. The value of a degree gets lost in translation, and sometimes there is no direct translation for a degree from abroad. Sometimes, degrees do not have the word “degree” in the title but are the functional equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree. Be sure this is a two-step process that first utilizes the services of a translation agency, and THEN utilizes the services of a credential evaluation agency.Before you get too far into answering the RFE, let us provide a pre-evaluation of the candidate’s education to help overturn an educational RFE. Simply go to ccifree.com and attach the candidate’s educational documents and a current resume, along with the job title and desired degree specialization. We will get back to you within 24 hours with a full analysis and all of your options.About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    What is a Degree? – Find out Before You File!

    ccifree.com, let us know the visa and job, and attach the candidate’s educational documents and resume. Within 24 hours, we will send you a pre-evaluation and full analysis of all of your options. You will know what you’re working with, and be able to move forward accordingly.It’s not uncommon for candidates to insist that their high school diploma is a college degree, or for a translated document to report a false academic equivalency.This happens for two main reasons. First, many degrees don’t actually have the word “degree” in the title. When this is translated, it is unclear whether or not the candidate actually has earned the postsecondary education necessary to meet the academic qualifications for their visa. On the same note, some credentials that do have the word degree in the title are not the academic equivalent of US postsecondary education, and some credentials don’t have the word “degree” in the title and are not degrees, period. Some countries have the same titles for different education. For example, the Indian Chartered Accountancy certification is the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree in accounting while the Canadian Chartered Accountancy certification is not.The second reason this happens is because when documents are translated from their original language into English, some degree titles don’t actually have a direct linguistic translation into English. Others do, but the academic value is different. It’s easy for translators to accidentally insert misinformed judgment into the academic value of a degree through translation. It is always best for translators to simply perform a direct translation and then have the documents passed onto a credential evaluator for the next step.Understanding the value of a foreign degree requires a complex, specialized understanding of international education. Understanding the structures of education and the educational steps required to earn each credential, as well as international trade agreements, graduate program admissions trends, CIS trends and precedents, and federal case law is required to write an accurate evaluation that CIS will understand and accept.Before you file, make sure you, or your employee or client has the right education for the visa. If you’ve already received an RFE, it’s not too late! Simply go to ccifree.com and submit the educational documents and a current resume, and indicate the visa and job. We will get back to you within 24 hours with a pre-evaluation of your case and all of your options for evaluation.About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    Your H1B Last Minute Filing Tips

    st if possible because in the past few years CIS has been flooded with petitions and closed its doors in five days.Don’t let the time crunch cause you to file a disorganized or incomplete petition. There’s no point in making the FY2018 lottery if your petition, or your employee or client’s petition is just going to get an RFE or Denial. Here’s what you can do to make the most of the next few weeks:

    1. Double-check all documents for consistency.
    Make sure the dates, locations, and spellings are consistent on all documents included in your client’s petition. If there are errors or inconsistencies, CIS will be skeptical of the validity of the education and employment history, and H1B eligibility. Just a simple double-check will significantly reduce the likelihood of an RFE.
    1. Make sure everything you need is included and in order.
    The petition must CLEARLY SHOW that the job is a specialty occupation, and that the candidate has the proper education needed for their H1B job, and H1B visa status. That means the job must require a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent, and you or your employee or client must meet these education requirements. That means you need the ad or employee contract for the job showing the minimum education requirements, as well as documentation that similar jobs for the same industry also hold these specialized education requirements. If this job is uniquely specialized, include an expert opinion letter explaining why this is the case.If you or your employee or client has a degree from outside of the United States, no degree, or a degree in a field that doesn’t EXACTLY match their job, you will need to include an evaluation of the candidate’s credentials and work experience. This evaluation must clearly show that you or your employee or client has the educational equivalence of the required degree. When you file, make sure all of this is in order and readable.
    1. Let us review the candidate’s education and work experience to make sure they qualify. There is no charge.
    Before you file, let us provide a pre-evaluation with all of your options to help prevent or overturn an educational RFE. Simply go to ccifree.com and send us the candidate’s full name and the title of the job, and attach copies of all of the education documents and a current, accurate resume. We will get back to you within 24 hours with a pre-evaluation and all of your options.Taking this extra step before you file will save you a ton of grief in the long run. If the candidate’s education will not stand up to CIS requirements, you need to know NOW. We work regularly with H1B cases and H1B RFE cases. Let us review the candidate’s education and work experience to make sure you have everything you need included in the petition for CIS to approve it. Sometimes, you or your employee or client WILL need a credential evaluation to fill in the gaps of the education. Work experience conversions to college credit are common with this visa, particularly for candidates with three-year Indian bachelor’s degrees. At TheDegreePeople, we have found that those who file petitions WITH a credential evaluation have had far fewer RFEs for specialty occupation issues than those who filed without one.There is no point in filing a petition CIS will not approve. Best-case scenario, you will have to deal with an RFE in the near future. No matter how crunched you are feeling for time, do NOT forgo this essential third tip. Fortunately, agencies that specialize in evaluations for visas understand the needs of their clients and anticipate your needs at the very last minute.At TheDegreePeople, we offer 3-hour rush delivery service when needed. Before you file, let us provide a pre-evaluation with all of your options to help prevent or overturn an educational RFE.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.]]>

    Your H1B Job and Education: Tips for Proving Specialization

    specialization. H1B visa status is for foreign workers with advanced degrees working specialty occupations. These jobs require a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent as a minimum requirement. Additionally, CIS requires the degree to be in the exact specialization of the job, as has been proven by recurrent CIS approval trends over the past five plus years.If you or your employee or client is applying for H1B visa status, you have two jobs:

    1. Clearly show that the job is a specialty occupation.
    2. Clearly show that the candidate has the specialized skills and knowledge necessary to perform the duties of this occupation.
    You can do this by providing evidence and documentation about the nature of the beneficiary’s job and education.Proving Occupational SpecializationTo do this, you must clearly show that the job requires the minimum H1B educational requirements to perform. In the petition, include the ad for the job showing with the minimum requirements are. Also include ads for similar jobs in the same industry to show that this level of specialization is standard for this specific occupation, and not just tailored to meet the needs of you or your employee or client’s visa.If the job does require unique specialization that similar jobs for similar companies do not, include an expert opinion letter about why this is the case. Industry experts, a detailed explanation from the employer, and other reputable professionals are necessary to prove that the job meets H1B specialization requirements.Proving Educational SpecializationOnce you have clearly shown that the job is a specialty occupation, now you must show that you or your employee or client meets the educational requirements for the job, H1B requirements, and CIS approval trends.To do this, you or your employee or client must hold a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent in the exact field of the specialty occupation. That means if the job is in Computer Systems Analysis, the degree must be in Computer Systems Analysis. If the job is in Chemistry, the degree must be in Chemistry.If you or your employee or client holds a degree in a related field, this will not work for CIS. What also won’t work for CIS is having a degree from outside of the US. Both of these situations require an extra step when organizing the petition: credential evaluation.Take the beneficiary’s education and work experience to a foreign credential evaluator with experience working with H1B visas and their RFEs. These evaluators know what CIS is looking for and what tends to trigger an RFE. They understand what CIS needs to evidence equivalency, and these needs change. For example, if you or your employee or client has a three-year bachelor’s degree from India, CIS will not accept that this is the equivalency of a US four-year bachelor’s degree even if it has the same or greater number of college credit hours. CIS needs a work experience conversion, wherein three years of progressive work experience in the field can be converted to one year of college credit in the field by a professor with the authority to do this. Many credential evaluation agencies work with professors with this authority for this very reason. This conversion can also be used to write an equivalency to the degree in the correct field to prove that you have, or your employee or client has the specialized skills and knowledge necessary for the specific H1B job.If you or your employee or client has a degree from outside of the United States, or a degree in the wrong specialization, do NOT submit the petition without a credential evaluation. Without one, you have not proven specialization, which is the key aspect of this visa.About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.  ]]>

    The Answer to Your EB2 RFE is NOT in the RFE!

    Do you, or does your employee or client meet the educational criteria of the visa?First and foremost, make sure that the beneficiary’s education meets the educational criteria for the particular visa preference classification. For example, and EB2 visa requires beneficiaries to hold a US Master’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent, or a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalent FOLLOWED BY five years of progressive work experience in the field. If you or your employee or client does not meet these requirements, or cannot meet them with a detailed credential evaluation, you are petitioning for the wrong visa. However, many candidates who do not immediately meet these criteria actually do with the proper credential evaluation. This brings us to the second educational requirement for I-140 visas:The Bachelor’s Degree must be a single source.This means, unlike other visas such as the H1B, your client cannot combine work experience with years of college credit to write a bachelor’s degree equivalency. It must be a single source. This can become troublesome if you or your employee or client holds a three-year bachelor’s degree from a country outside of the United States because that missing fourth year is going to be a problem. However, years of progressive work experience in the field can in many cases be evaluated to be the equivalency of a US Master’s degree in the field, accompanied by the proper evidentiary support, documentations, and citations.The Education and Job Must Meet Visa CriteriaIt is tempting for candidates with EB3 qualified education to try for EB2 preference. This is because the wait time for visas being processed is years shorter for EB2 candidates than for those of EB3 education. Do NOT be tempted into petitioning for a visa that is not right for your client. EB2 candidates must hold a US Master’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent, OR a US bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent FOLLOWED BY five years of progressive work experience in the field. These requirements are extremely specific, but also very clearly spelled out. If you are unsure about your client’s education, talk to a credential evaluator who often works with I-140 cases and their RFEs. In the same way, some jobs simply don’t meet the specialization requirements of EB2 or EB1. These visas require highly specialized jobs with advanced degrees and work experience necessary to perform. If you or your client or employee does not hold a job that fits these requirements, you may be chasing the wrong visa.USCIS defines progressive work experience in the field as “demonstrated by advancing levels of responsibility and knowledge in the specialty.” This means that the candidate must have clearly learned skills and knowledge essential to the industry through this work experience, and instead of passing a test or getting a grade, this progress is evidenced through promotions and increased responsibility. Progressive work experience comes in handy candidates don’t have the number of years necessary in their foreign bachelor’s degree to make a single source US equivalence, and also when they run into the next RFE-triggering problem.The Degree MUST Match the Job OfferIf your education, or your employee or client’s education doesn’t match the job offer on the PERM, you will receive an RFE. This is because candidates need to have the specialized skills and knowledge necessary to perform their job, and a degree in a different field does not assure CIS that they meet minimum requirements to perform their job. Employers will often hire employees with degrees in related fields that are not an exact match because they know there is enough information overlap, but CIS will question their qualifications with an RFE. If your degree, or your employee or client’s degree does not match the job offer, progressive work experience in the field can be converted into the necessary degree specialization. For example, say you or your employee or client has a job in computer sciences but a Master’s degree in engineering. The beneficiary also has five years of progressive work experience in the field of computer sciences. A credential evaluator with the authority to make this conversion can write the equivalent of five years of POST-BACHELOR’S DEGREE work experience in the field of computer sciences to a US Master’s degree in computer sciences.If you or your employee or client received an RFE, read it over carefully, but don’t get lost in it. Instead, sit down with your team and understand which of the ORIGINAL VISA CRITERIA are in question. Find out what evidence you need to provide to meet the ORIGINAL VISA CRITERIA that are in question and submit that documentation in your answer. The roadmap to answering the RFE is NOT in the RFE, so look to the original visa criteria and make sure that you’re not leaving any open gaps or failing to meet any requirements.About the AuthorSheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director at TheDegreePeople.com, a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a free analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to http://ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.  ]]>

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