form I-140

I-140 Problems: Common RFE Triggers and their Solutions

In light of the new USCIS policy memorandum, adjudicators now have the discretion to deny a petition without first issuing and RFE or NOID for all visas, and this includes visas that require a Form I-140.While the new memorandum can feel like a reason to be nervous because we don’t know how this law on the books will play out in practice, it actually changes very little in how beneficiaries and their teams should approach the process.  That means looking at common places where applicants run into problems and then taking steps to prevent running into them.If you or your employee or client’s education or job don’t clearly meet the educational standards of the classification chosen in Part 2 of Form I-140, you need to make sure to provide the evidence and documentation you need to fill in the gaps between the requirements and you or your employee or client’s situation.  Incomplete college, education attained outside of the United States, or no formal education are all situations that require a detailed credential evaluation that takes the specific educational requirements of the visa and the classification into consideration.  If an evaluation agency does not ask about the job or the visa before you order, look elsewhere.  Before you file, make sure all answers on the PERM and on Form I-140 are consistent.  Inconsistencies will trigger an RFE, even if it is just a spelling error.  If there are changes needed, make sure to check yes for Part 4 Item 7 on the Form I-140.  Place a bright sheet of paper directly beneath Form I-140 that states this is an amended petition and the PERM has already been submitted and include the receipt number for the PERM.  This way, inconsistencies will be accompanied with a clear explanation.  CIS may inquire anyway – there are never any guarantees with CIS – but this will be much less likely and if you do receive an RFE you will be ready.At TheDegreePeople we work with I-140 RFEs every year and understand CIS approval trends and what triggers RFEs.  This year, you may not get a chance to fortify your case with an RFE.  Before you file, let us review your case and identify where in the petition an RFE is likely to be triggered so you can accommodate accordingly.  For a free review of your case visit ccifree.com/.  We will get back to you in 48 hours or less. ]]>

I-140 Prevention and Solutions

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.]]>

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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