Credential Evaluation

How to Optimize Time Sponsoring 2017 H1B Clients and Employees

st, there are only 65,000 annual H-1B visas available and literally hundreds of thousands of H-1B candidates applying for them. There is no annual cap for H-1B jobs in the non-profit sector or for government-funded research foundations, but these kinds of jobs do not cover the needs of the private STEM industry companies that need H-1B employees the most. Even companies like Microsoft tend to only get around half of the H-1B visas they petition for. If your company or your client’s company wants H-1B visa workers for 2017, it’s time to get those petitions ready.At, we understand that preparing a petition takes time and can become very stressful. Having an advanced degree from a country outside of the United States – particularly from countries like India that have three-year bachelor’s degrees instead of four-year degrees – can cause trouble. If your employee or client has a degree specialized in a field related to but not exactly matching their field of employ, this can also cause trouble. There are many reasons your client or employee’s education can cause confusion when their petition is filed. Everything from mistranslations to confusion about credit hours can trigger an RFE or a Denial for an over-qualified, clearly adept H-1B visa candidate. Making sure your client or employee submits an accurate credential evaluation that meets the requirements of his or her H-1B visa along with the rest of the petition on April 1st is an essential way to save you time NOW and save you more time LATER. Don’t wait for an RFE, Denial, or NOID to address your client or employee’s education.   We offer a variety of low-cost rush delivery options for the last minute, no-cost consultations on your situation, and we can address your complicated cases quickly and successfully.About the Author  Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director of a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFE, Denial, or NOID, please go to or call 800.771.4723.]]>

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

  • 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 AuthorSheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director of CCI a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFEs, Denials, or NOIDs, please go to or call 800.771.4723. Mention that you saw this in the ILW article and get 72 hour rush service at no charge.]]>

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

    st, 2016. That means CIS does not have to issue an RFE to get the information they need out of you to make an informed decision. Preventing an RFE is much easier than answering one.An RFE is a tool CIS uses to make the right decision about your petition. When they cannot make a decision based on the evidence you provided, they request more. While this is not the end of the world, and can actually be utilized as an opportunity to strengthen your case, an RFE is a red flag. A red flag is another tool CIS uses to streamline the massive amount of work they have to do to cut 233,000 petitions into 65,000 Visas. If you receive an RFE, that means a glaring omission of evidence has drawn CIS’s close attention to your petition, and it will now be picked apart. Minor errors that would have otherwise gone unnoticed will come to light.At the same time, answering an RFE is not necessarily a straight-forward process. To successfully answer an RFE, you need to sit down with your lawyer, your employer, and your evaluator to see exactly what is being asked of you and how to go about answering it. Some RFE’s are realistically impossible to answer. The “Nightmare” RFE is one of these, and we’ve been seeing more of them every year. While these can be answered, it requires strategy that only an evaluation agency with international education and federal case law experts on hand to work on your case. At CCI, we have been able to get around 95% of all of the Nightmare RFE’s we work on overturned, but these RFE’s cause a lot of unnecessary stress to H1B candidates and can be easily avoided.How can you avoid an RFE in the first place?

    1. Triple-check your answers on all of your documents and forms for consistency. Inconsistent answers – even if they are small mistakes – can trigger an RFE.
    1. Prove that your H1B job is a specialty occupation requiring a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalence or higher. You can do this by showing the ad for your job, documentation that similar jobs for similar companies require a bachelor’s degree or higher, and with an expert letter.
    1. Clearly show that your degree is a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent. If your degree is from outside of the US, you will need to have your education evaluated by an authorized credential evaluation agency. If you have a three-year degree, you will need to find an agency with the authority and expertise to convert classroom contact hours and years of work experience into college credit hours to account for the missing fourth year.
    1. Your degree must be specialized. This means if you have a liberal arts degree, or a generalized degree, CIS will not accept this as proof that you actually possess the specialized skills and knowledge necessary to be qualified for your H1B job. If you have a generalized degree, you need to talk to a credential evaluation agency that will take a close look at your course content and your work experience, and make the proper conversions to college credit hours to show equivalence to a specialized degree.
    1. Your degree must EXACTLY fit your job offer. This means that even though your employer hired you because your degree in a related field and your experience working in the field was enough to prove to them you have the specialized skills and experience necessary to be successful in your new job, CIS needs more. If your degree is not an EXACT fit for your job, you need a credential evaluation from an evaluator who can take a close look at the course content of your degree and make the necessary conversions, and who can also convert your years of work experience in the field into college credit to show equivalency to the exact degree CIS requires you to have.
    Don’t wait for the opportunity to overturn an RFE. Remember, an RFE is a big red flag waving high over your petition. The best way to address an RFE is to avoid it. Don’t give CIS an excuse to nit pick your petition. Tell them everything they need to know to make an informed decision on your petition the first time.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director of CCI a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFEs, Denials, or NOIDs, please go to or call 800.771.4723. Mention that you saw this in the ILW article and get 72 hour rush service at no charge.]]>

    The Top 3 Reasons for Education H1-B RFEs You CAN beat the “Nightmare” RFE, but why do it if you don’t have to? Don’t risk this “Nightmare” scenario. Get your credentials evaluated by an evaluation agency with the authority to convert work experience in your field of employ into college credit. Some agencies simply do not write these kinds of evaluations. When you talk to them on the phone, tell them that you need an education evaluation for an H1-B Visa petition. If they don’t ask about your job offer, look elsewhere. You need an evaluator knowledgeable about international education as well as CIS trends.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director of CCI a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFEs, Denials, or NOIDs, please go to or call 800.771.4723. Mention that you saw this in the ILW article and get 72 hour rush service at no charge.]]>

    The Matter of Shah and Why it Should NOT Matter

    did in fact major in chemistry in the Matter of Shah.Even though the board did not recognize the value of the candidate’s undergraduate degree, the University of Detroit certainly did.  In fact, the university admitted the candidate into their MBA program based on the three-year Indian bachelor’s degree being the equivalent of the US four-year bachelor’s degree necessary to gain entrance into that very program.  The fact that the candidate went on to successfully complete the two-year MBA program goes to show that the Indian three-year degree with chemistry as a special subject really did qualify the candidate for the graduate program.Finally, the last reason I will go into for why the Matter of Shah should not be grounds for denying anyone’s visa is that in making the decision, the board overturned a previous ruling.  This ruling was made by the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and can be found in Appendix 5-F, pages 34-37 of the Immigrant Inspector’s Handbook.  In this ruling, the department stated that a B.S. degree in chemistry from the candidate’s university, Gujarat University, is the equivalent of a United States B.S. degree.The Matter of Shah has its foundation in four errors:

    1. Incomplete evaluation of the academic content of the candidate’s degree.
    2. Failing to translate the term “Special” into US academic context.
    3. Ignoring the University of Detroit’s decision to admit the candidate into their graduate program based on the academic value of the candidate’s three-year Indian bachelor’s degree, as well as the candidate’s successful completion of the MBA.
    4. Overturning a previous ruling that determined that the candidate’s exact degree was the equivalent of a US four-year bachelor’s degree.
    The Matter of Shah should not serve as a roadblock to Visa approval.  Unfortunately, almost forty years later, it still does.  If your client or employee received an RFE about their three-year bachelor’s degree, you need to provide a credential evaluation that includes a refutation of the Matter of Shah.  As you can see, refuting the Matter of Shah as grounds for a decision about the value of a three-year Indian bachelor’s degree or specialization is not difficult to do in a credential evaluation.  However, the evaluator you select must be well versed in USCIS and immigration precedents, and be able to provide the documentation that highlights these points of refutation.About the Author Sheila DanzigSheila Danzig is the Executive Director of CCI a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency.  For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFEs, Denials, or NOIDs, please go to or call 800.771.4723.]]>

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