h1b lottery

What to Expect and When to Expect it this H-1B Adjudication Season

USCIS has completed selecting the 85,000 H-1B petitions to be adjudicated for approval for cap-subject petitions for FY 2020.


Those selected that filed for premium processing may begin receiving notice this week as to their approval status with the anticipated date of completion set at June 4th. Case adjudication for those who did not file under premium processing will begin early to mid-June and often takes months. Last year, adjudication for FY 2019 – which began October 1st, 2018 – extended into the 2019 calendar year.


If you are unsure of whether or not your case was selected, check the account activity on the account of the check written for the H-1B processing fee. If it has been cashed, your case was selected in the lottery.


When notice arrives of the status of the case, do not be alarmed if you receive an RFE or Denial. This is NOT the end of the road. Over the past few years the prevalence of H-1B RFEs spiked, especially for beneficiaries working entry-level positions, working as computer programmers, and working at wage level one. This year, USCIS adjudicators have been given the authority and encouragement to deny petitions outright without first issuing an RFE. This may lead to a spike in Denials instead of RFEs. Either way, they are possible to overturn and get the visa approved in time to get to work for FY 2020.


If you expect an RFE or Denial is coming this H-1B adjudication season, you can better prepare to defend your case, or your employee or client’s case. You will need a detailed credential evaluation that takes the job, the visa, USCIS approval trends, and any issues found in the case into consideration. You will also need documentation that details the demands, duties, tasks, and responsibilities of the job, and a detailed breakdown of employer and industry hiring practices with regards to minimum qualifications for the position in question. Finally, you will need an expert who works IN THE FIELD rather than just teaches it to write an opinion letter that ties the evidence you have provided together. First and foremost, however, you will need to take an honest look at your case, or your employee or client’s case and identify what might attract scrutiny by USCIS that could result in a visa Denial.


At TheDegreePeople.com, we work with RFEs and Denials every year. We understand what triggers them and we know how to successfully respond to them. For a free review of your case, or your employee or client’s case visit ccifree.com/. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less.

Attention: H1B Filing Opens TODAY!!!

nd filing season for H-1B visa petitions officially opens. USCIS will continue to accept petitions until the cap of 65,000 visas plus an additional 20,000 for candidates with masters degrees or higher is filled, or for at least five business days.For the past few years, the cap has been met before the mandatory five business days is up, so that means you have to file THIS WEEK for you, or your employee or client to have a shot at making the H-1B lottery for FY2019.Last year, we saw an unprecedented number of RFEs, especially targeting computer programmers. This year, make sure you take steps to preempt an RFE or rejection. Don’t fall into common RFE traps by taking these precautions:

  1. Consistent Answers – make sure what is entered on the LCA matches the petition, including the job title and description.
  2. Start Date is NO EARLIER THAN October 1st 2019.
  3. Borderline jobs that don’t necessarily require a US Bachelors degree or higher according to the Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook are accompanied by a detailed job description and expert opinion letter to prove specialization.
  4. The beneficiary’s degree or degree equivalency specialization matches the job title or is accompanied by a credential evaluation.
  5. Degrees earned outside of the US, incomplete college, or mismatched degree specialization is accompanied by a credential evaluation.
If you, or your employee or client needs a credential evaluation or expert opinion letter, don’t file the petition without one. We have credential evaluators and experts on hand 24/7 ready to write the evaluation or expert opinion letter you need, or your employee or client needs for visa approval. We offer rush delivery options at affordable prices down to as fast as 12 hours by the clock, and we work off of emailed copies of educational documents. Time is of the essence. Simply visit ccifree.com/ to get started now!]]>

Countdown to April 2nd: Your H-1B Last Minute Checklist

nd and is projected to exceed the cap of 65,000 visas plus an additional 20,000 for candidates with masters degrees or higher by Friday, April 6th. That means, you have to be ready as soon as filing begins to ensure you, or your employee or candidate makes the H-1B lottery.Don’t let the last minute lure you into filing a sloppy or incomplete petition. Before you file, make sure that the answer and information are consistent across all documents including the LCA, the petition, and all documentation describing the duties and requirements for the job. Inconsistent answers will likely trigger an RFE, and a closer scrutiny of the case.Common education RFEs occur when a client has a degree specialization that doesn’t match the job, incomplete or generalized education, or a degree from outside of the United States, and the petition is not filed with a credential evaluation that clearly articulates the academic value of your or your employee or client’s education and work experience in terms of US academic value. It is also important to verify that the degree was earned in an accredited institutions.If you or your client or employee has one of these educational situations, it is important to order a credential evaluation to file WITH the H-1B petition come April 2nd. A work experience conversion may be necessary to account for the gaps between your education, or your client or employee’s education and H-1B educational eligibility requirements.Last year, CIS issued a record number of RFEs for H-1B petitions, especially for beneficiaries working as computer programmers at level 1 wages. If your client has a borderline job that doesn’t ALWAYS require a US bachelors degree as a minimum requirement according to the US Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook, your case, or your client or employee’s case will need additional evidence including an expert opinion letter to prove why this position is uniquely specialized.There are some situations that are RFE magnets. If you, or your employee or client:• Has a degree from outside of the US,• Has a three-year bachelors degree,• Has an incomplete degree or no college at all,• Has a generalized degree or a degree in a major that doesn’t exactly match the H-1B job, or• Works a borderline occupation where it’s unclear whether the educational qualifications meet H-1B requirements for specialization,You need to know before you file and address the situation accordingly to preempt an RFE.At TheDegreePeople.com, we work with difficult H-1B cases and H-1B RFEs every year. We know what triggers and RFE and we know how to take steps to effectively preempt them. USCIS is always a wildcard, so we keep an eye on their approval trends every year. For a free review of your case, or your client or employee’s case, visit ccifree.com/. We will get back to you in 48 hours or less with a full analysis, pre-evaluation, and our expert recommendations on what to do to avoid an RFE.]]>

Your H1B Checklist for FY 2019

st is coming up fast and that means it’s time to get started on H1B petitions for fiscal year 2019.For the past few years, the H1B quota of 65,000 visas and an additional 20,000 for candidates with US Masters degrees or higher or their equivalency has been met within the mandatory five business days that CIS must continue to accept petitions, causing the H1B lottery.  This year, we predict the same situation. That means you need to be ready to file right on April 1st.Before you file, make sure your petition, or your employee or client’s petition is seamless.  With so many petitions and so few annual cap-subject visas available, CIS is on the lookout for shortcuts to make their job easier.  Don’t let your petition, or your employee or client’s petition raise any red flags.  Make sure the requirements are met, and always be aware of common RFEs and CIS approval trends.  At TheDegreePeople, we work with difficult cases and RFEs every year and we keep a close eye on what CIS is doing.  Based on what we’ve seen over the past few years, here are some things to keep in mind when organizing the petition:1. Does the job meet H1B requirements for specialization?To qualify for H1B eligibility, the job must have a minimum requirement of a US bachelors degree or higher or its equivalent.  To prove this, include the ad for the job that specifies its requirements, and include evidence that similar jobs in the industry require the same credentials.  If this job requires a unique level of specialization that is unusual to the typical occupation, include a detailed description of the job and its duties and an expert opinion letter explaining why this job requires an advanced degree to perform.Last year, CIS used this H1B requirement to issue the Level 1 Wages RFE to an unprecedented number of computer programmers petitioning for H1B status.  Their reasoning was that according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook by the US Department of Labor, entry level computer programmers are sometimes hired with only a US associates degree, which does not meet the H1B requirement of a US bachelors degree or higher.  This RFE caught everyone off guard and we won’t know until RFEs come out for the FY 2019 round of petitions whether or not measures to prevent this RFE will work.  However, if you, or your employee or client has this job at this wage level, here are our recommendations:  If you can, set the job at Level 2 Wages, or indicate a different occupation if you can.  The second option gets tricky because the job on the LCA must match the job on the H1B petition.  Before you try to fit your job, or your employee or client’s job into a different category, consult with us to make sure the job title fits the description, and that the job indicated also meets H1B requirements.  If you cannot take either of these measures, include an expert opinion letter that explains why this job meets H1B requirements.  We have experts on hand 24/7 to help you with this, and we have had great success in answering these RFEs.2. Does the beneficiary and the employer have an employer-employee relationship?To meet H1B requirements, the employer must be able to hire, fire, promote and demote, pay, and otherwise control the work the employee does.  Along with this relationship comes the H1B requirement to pay the H1B employee the prevailing wages and benefits for similar jobs in that industry in that geographical location.  To prove this, include a copy of the employment contract and documentation that details the nature of the employee’s work.This is another area that CIS came down on H1B candidates last year with the Level I Wages RFE.  This issue can be addressed through the means mentioned above.  More importantly, it is important to explain the CIS in the expert opinion letter that just because a job is set at Level 1 Wages doesn’t mean it is entry level, and if it is not entry level, it does not mean that the employee is being underpaid.  That’s not how wage levels work; there are many factors to be taken into consideration that must be detailed in the expert opinion letter.  Including this with the initial H1B petition may be the key to preventing this difficult new RFE.3. Does the beneficiary clearly meet H1B educational requirements for the job?H1B educational requirements state that to be eligible the beneficiary must have a US bachelors degree or higher or its foreign equivalent.  You, or your employee or client must hold an advanced degree that meets the requirements for the H1B job.  For the better part of the past decade, CIS approval trends have shown that the degree specialization must be an exact match for the job title.  This is where things get tricky.If the degree specialization is not an EXACT match for the field of employment, the beneficiary will need a credential evaluation that utilizes years of progressive work experience and a close examination of the courses taken within the degree program to write an evaluation that solidifies the equivalency to the correct degree in the correct field.If the degree was earned outside of the United States, you will need to include a credential evaluation that clearly spells out the academic value of the degree in terms of US educational standards.  Some degrees, like the Indian three-year bachelors degree, are RFE magnets because CIS is hung up on the missing fourth year even if there are an equal or greater number of actual classroom contact hours in the three-year degree.  Some jobs like Computer Systems Analysis are RFE targets because there are very few colleges and universities that offer that specific major track.For these two circumstances, you will need a professor with the authority to issue college credit for work experience to write an evaluation that converts years of progressive work experience in the field of the job into years of college credit.  Progressive work experience means that the nature of the work became more complex and specialized, and the beneficiary took on more responsibility as the work experience progressed.  This indicates that skills and knowledge specialized to the field were learned on the job.  At TheDegreePeople, we have professors on hand with the authority to write these evaluations.The final hangup with regards to education that tends to trigger an RFE happens when a beneficiary has a degree that doesn’t have the word “degree” in the title.  For example, the Indian Chartered Accountancy certification is actually the equivalent of a US bachelors degree in accounting.  The Canadian Chartered Accountancy and the US CPA are not bachelors degree equivalents.  If you or your client or employee has earned an Indian Chartered Accountancy certification, this credential DOES meet H1B eligibility requirements. You will need to submit a credential evaluation with the H1B petition that clearly describes the steps of education and exams – matriculation structure – required to earn this certification to show that the steps involved are equivalent to a US bachelors degree in accountancy.Before you file, let us review your client’s entire case to make sure there are no red flags, missing documentation or analysis, or gaps between the beneficiary’s job and education, and H1B eligibility requirements.  Simply visit ccifree.com/ and submit the educational documents, resume, and job description and we will respond within 48 hours with a full analysis and pre-evaluation of the case, and our recommendations for how to preempt an RFE for the FY 2019 filing season.]]>

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. ]]>

    Your Very Very Last Minute H1B Checklist

  • Consistent dates, locations, spellings and other answers.
  • Double-check all of the documents and applications included in the petition to make sure all of the answers are consistent. Inconsistencies between applications, educational documents, and resumes can trigger a pretty serious RFE as CIS is cracking down on visa fraud. Inconsistent dates and locations for where the candidate has lived, worked, and gone to school are big red flags, as are misspellings.
    1. Education clearly meets CIS requirements for H1B eligibility.
    Find out right now. Simply go to ccifree.com and attach the candidate’s educational documents and an accurate, current resume, along with the job title and we will respond within 24 hours with a full pre-evaluation of your case. We will include all of your options for writing the evaluation for the educational equivalency needed to get the H1B visa approved. We offer rush delivery options to get your credential evaluation to you in as fast as three hours.Educational requirements for CIS are tricky. If the candidate has a degree from outside of the United States, do NOT file without a credential evaluation. The candidate may have a degree earned in the United States that is not H1B qualified. The degree must be an exact match for the job or CIS will not approve the visa.
    1. Documentation clearly shows the job is specialized.
    H1B requirements state the job must require a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent to be considered specialized. The H1B visa program’s purpose is to bring highly skilled workers to the US to fill these highly specialized jobs that the US workforce cannot fill on its own. That means you have to show that the job requires a specialized skillset, which means an advanced degree in the exact field of employ. To prove this, provide a copy of the ad for the job that includes duties and minimum requirements, as well as the official job description itself. Also include ads and descriptions for similar jobs in the same field to show that this job is specialized across the board and not just to accommodate the candidate’s visa. If the job is particularly specialized for this particular company, include an expert opinion letter as to why this is the case.
    1. Organized and in order!
    Make sure your petition is in order with all of the paperwork where CIS expects it to be. A disorganized petition is not pleasant to read and this will impact approval. File for the audience and it will pay off in the end.Good luck!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.]]>

    Does the Education H1B Qualify? Find Out Fast!

    st, and since this year is predicted to follow the trend of those before, you won’t have long before CIS closes its doors.Don’t let the last minute cause you to file an incomplete petition that will only get met with an RFE or worse. CIS educational requirements have changed in the past few years and they’ve just gotten stricter. Your education, or the education of your employee or client alone may not be enough to get their visa approved. You will have to submit a credential evaluation along with the petition to clearly show that the candidate meets H1B educational requirements.At TheDegreePeople, we have been working with H1B cases for a LONG time, and we are well versed in the nature of your needs in the last weeks before filing season. Do not hesitate to contact us for rush services. We can have evaluations completed and sent to you within hours as needed.Here are some common situations where candidates run into trouble:

    1. Education from outside of the United States
    If your degree, or if your employee or client’s degree is from any country besides the United States, you will need a credential evaluation to show US equivalent academic value. CIS will not accept the transcripts as is. H1B requirements state candidates must have a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent. CIS cannot discern academic equivalency for foreign degrees without a credential evaluation stating what the foreign degree means in terms of US academic value. If your petition, or if your employee or client’s petition makes the lottery with a foreign degree but no evaluation, you can count on an RFE or Denial that will be a whole lot harder to deal with a few months down the road.
    1. Three-Year Bachelor’s Degree
    CIS will NOT approve three-year Bachelor’s degrees, especially those earned in India, without more evidence. The problem lies in the missing fourth year. CIS requirements state that an H1B qualified candidate hold a US four-year bachelor’s degree or higher. While it has been shown that most Indian Bachelor’s degrees have the same or greater amount of classroom contact hours and thus college credit hours as the US four-year Bachelor’s degree, CIS requires candidates to account for the missing fourth year. The content vs. duration argument and supporting evidence simply will not work.If you have, or if your employee or client has a three-year Bachelor’s degree, the missing fourth year will need to be accounted for with progressive work experience. This is work experience in which the candidate took on increasing responsibility and complexity in their work as time went on indicating that skills and knowledge specialized to the field were learned through this work experience. This work experience must be in the candidate’s exact field of employ, which we will come back to soon. Three years of progressive work experience can be converted into one year of college credit in that field, and this conversion must be done by a professor authorized to award college credit for work experience. ONLY work with credential evaluation agencies that work with professors who can do this or it will not be helpful to your case at all.
    1. Degree Specialization Does Not Match the H1B Job
    In years past, CIS has accepted degrees in fields related to the candidate’s H1B job to meet the requirements of academic specialization. However, in the past six or seven years, CIS has been virtually only approving degrees that are an EXACT match. Even though employers hire candidates with related degrees, CIS will not flat out approve their visa. If your major, or if your employee or client’s major was in a field different than their H1B job, you can expect an RFE at best if you submit without a credential evaluation.If this is your situation, or your employee or client’s situation, you will need an evaluation that highlights the college courses taken in the field of the H1B job, as well as a work experience conversion that converts years of progressive work experience in the field into college credit towards a major in that field.
    1. No Degree At All
    If this is the situation, you CANNOT submit without a credential evaluation. H1B eligibility leans heavily on education because it is designed to bring highly skilled, highly educated workers to the United States for specialized jobs that the US workforce cannot fill on its own. However, many brilliant candidates are self-taught, learned on the job, or through other means.If this is your situation, or your employee or client’s situation, a credential evaluation that converts years of work experience into college credit will be needed. Yes, that’s twelve years of progressive work experience in the field.Before you file, let us review the candidate’s education and work experience to make sure they meet H1B requirements, and decide what needs to be done to fill in any gaps or clear up any questions CIS may have. At TheDegreePeople, we understand the last minute and offer rush delivery options down to THREE HOURS if necessary.Let us provide a pre-evaluation with all of your options to help prevent or overturn an educational RFE. Simply hit go to ccifree.com and submit the candidate’s educational documents, an accurate resume, the job title, and the desired equivalence. We will get back to you within 24 hours with the pre-evaluation and a full analysis of all of your options.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.]]>

    Do’s and Don’ts for H1B Filing

    Don’t file without double-checking every document included for consistency. Inconsistent spelling of institutions, workplaces, and even names can hurt the credibility of the petition. Make sure location, education, and employment dates match on all documents.Don’t assume CIS knows the academic value of a foreign degree.Don’t assume CIS will see that the candidate’s education and work experience indicate the degree of skill and specialization needed for the candidate to excel at his or her H1B job simply because the employer did.Don’t file with pages out of order. Making your petition, or your employee or client’s petition readable and easy to digest is key to a favorable outcome.Do check in with a credential evaluator with experience working with H1B cases and their RFEs before you file to make sure the education is in order.Do include a foreign credential evaluation in the petition if the degree is from outside of the United States.Do include a foreign credential evaluation in the petition if you or your employee or client has a degree in a field other than their job, a generalized degree, or no college degree.Unless the degree is a four year US bachelor’s degree or higher in the exact field of the H1B job, never assume CIS understands the value of the education. CIS approval trends change, and the person adjudicating the petition is most likely NOT an international education expert. You will need to use the petition to hold CIS’ hand and guide them through the story of why you, or your employee or client is H1B qualified.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 Solutions for the Generalized Degree

  • Specialized Job
  • Specialized Education
  • Successful candidates meet both of these requirements by having a job that requires an advanced degree – a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its foreign equivalent – to perform, and the accompanying education required to perform it. CIS requires this education to be specialized precisely to the field. That’s where candidates run into trouble come filing season.Do you, or does your employee or client have a generalized degree or a degree specialization is a field other than the job? Then you need a credential evaluation. Even if the degree is from a US institution, CIS requires a degree equivalency in the exact specialization of the candidate’s job. For example, a business degree will not cut it for a job in finance. A sociology degree will not cut it for a job in psychology. A job in biology requires a bachelor’s degree or higher in biology – not chemistry, geology, or physics.If you or your employee or client has a generalized degree or a degree mismatched to their job, take the transcripts and work experience to a credential evaluator who works regularly with H1B visas and their RFEs. Evaluators who work regularly with RFEs understand what triggers them and how to prevent them. CIS approval trends regarding education have changed in the past six or seven years, and one of those changes is that the degree specialization must be an EXACT match for the job offer. The evaluator can take a close look at the course content of the candidate’s education, and combine that with progressive work experience in the field to write the evaluation you need to prove educational specialization.Be sure that the evaluation agency you work with has professors on hand who are authorized to issue college credit for work experience. This way, the candidate’s years of work experience in the field can be converted into college credit counting towards their specialized major equivalency. CIS accepts a three years of progressive work experience to one year of college credit in the field equivalency for the H1B visa. Consult with your evaluator to make sure you or your employee or client has the right kind of work experience – and enough of it – before you order your evaluation.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.]]>

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