US immigration

Job Description and the Degree Requirement: Is Your Candidate H-1B Qualified?

st. If the past several years are any indication of what is to come, you will only have a five-day window to get your client or employee’s petition in the H-1B lottery.Before you even get started, there are two very important questions about whether or not the job and the employee are H-1B qualified you and your client or employee should be asking:

  1. Is the job itself a specialty occupation?
  2. Is my employee or client educationally qualified for this specialty occupation?
To qualify for H-1B visa status, the job must require a US bachelor’s degree or its equivalent or higher to show that the position requires the employee to possess specialized skills and knowledge to carry out successfully. Mid-sized companies in particular are asked to justify why someone with a bachelor’s degree or higher is required for the job, and you need to show this through evidence and documentation. For example, the ad for the job can be used as proof if it indicates that as a minimum qualification the employee must have a bachelor’s degree or higher. You can also show that similar jobs for similar companies also have these specialized requirements. However, if the job requires a generalized degree – even if it is a bachelor’s degree – you may run into problems because a generalized degree does not indicate that specialized knowledge and skills are required. This is where alternative forms of evidence, like expert opinion letters and examples of similar jobs for similar companies come in particular handy. It is on you to prove that you require a highly skilled employee with a specialized knowledge base to successfully carry out the duties of an H-1B job.Say you’ve established that your company absolutely needs an employee with a bachelor’s degree or higher and a specialized knowledge base and skill set to carry out the duties of this H-1B position. NOW you need to show that your H-1B candidate is that employee with the required education and specialized knowledge base and skill set. How do you do this? If your candidate has a bachelor’s degree or higher from a US college or university with a major that is an exact fit for their field of employ, it is straightforward. If your candidate has a degree from a different country or with a major in a different field – even if it’s in a related field – from their field of employ, you will need to take one more step to meet this H-1B requirement.CIS does not accept a three-year degree as the equivalent of a US four-year degree at face value. However, when evaluated for academic course content, an evaluation agency with the authority to convert classroom contact hours into college credit can use this technique to take a close look at your client or employee’s degree and bridge the missing year. An evaluator with the authority to convert years of work experience into college credit can follow the 3-1 rule and convert three years of progressive work experience in the field into one year of college credit. Both of these careful evaluation methods can also be utilized to show specialization in the candidate’s field of employ if they have worked in the field or taken enough classes throughout their college career in that field.Don’t wait until it’s too late to get started on your employee or client’s H-1B petition. This is US immigration, which means it’s a bundle of details and documentation that often takes time and energy to get in order. If your client or employee needs a credential evaluation to show that they meet CIS educational requirements, start looking for the right credential evaluation agency to meet your needs. The right agency should be able to right an evaluation as unique as your client’s education, and they should have a firm understanding of CIS trends and the different academic requirements for different visas.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, 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.]]>

    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.]]>

    How to Bridge the Fatal Gaps Between Your Degree and Your H1B Job

    progressive work experience, the nature of the work must have required you to take on progressively more work and responsibilities representing your progressively growing specialized knowledge base and skill set.Don’t wait for an RFE or Denial to get your degree and work experience evaluated. While an RFE or Denial is not the end of the world, it is a big red flag to CIS that will trigger a close scrutiny of your petition. Minor errors and glitches that would have otherwise gone unnoticed will be unearthed because attention has been drawn to your petition. With hundreds of thousands of H1B Visa petitions to mire through, CIS uses red flags to make the hard decision of who gets their Visa approved and who does not for the set amount of annual Visa slots. Make the decision to approve your Visa easy by making your specialized knowledge and skill set clear with a credential evaluation from a professor authorized to convert work experience into college credit.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.]]>

    The H1B Nicknamed the Genius Visa H1B Visa Program Keeps US STEM Industries from Collapse

    can choose to pursue pathways to citizenship.About 70% of all H1B Visas go to workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) industries. Why is this?“Science is the engine of prosperity,” Dr. Kaku explains. “The United States has the worst educational system known to science.”Students in the United States are not graduating high school or even college with the math and science skills necessary to fill the growing number of high tech jobs in places like Silicon Valley. According to Dr. Kaku, Silicon Valley would not even exist without the H1B Visa program because people coming to the United States to work on these Visas fill the positions that create entire STEM industries. Wall Street Journal agrees that when it comes to the highest level jobs at the highest level technology companies, Americans simply are not qualified. H1B workers are needed to create jobs for US citizens in these same industries because high-level jobs are necessary to create lower-tiered jobs in the industry through which US citizens can develop expertise through industry experience. Without a doubt, the “genius visa” is the secret ingredient that keeps STEM industries in the United States from collapsing.While it may come as a surprise to some that Silicon Valleys are popping up in countries like China and India, it actually makes all the sense in the world because these are the countries that the top-level Silicon Valley engineers and developers are coming from. School systems in these countries cultivate strong scientific minds, and the United States attracts them with the H1B Visa program.STEM industries aren’t the only fields attracting foreign geniuses. Dr. Kaku reports that 50% of all PhD candidates in the United States are foreign born, building the backbone of graduate programs in the country. Without the H1B visa program, 50% of all PhD candidates in the United States simply would not exist.To qualify for H1B Visa status, a candidate must hold an advanced degree in a specialized field. That means having earned a bachelor’s degree or higher in a specialized field that matches their field of employ. While this sounds straightforward, variance of academic structures across borders muddles the value of any given degree. H1B Visa candidates are running into trouble getting their Visas approved because employers understand the value of their foreign education, but the USICS needs the value clearly articulated in terms of US educational standards. Candidates with three-year bachelor’s degrees in particular are running into trouble. When a candidate files his or her H1B Visa petition, an evaluation of their foreign degree must be included.“Credential evaluation is a highly specialized process,” explains International Education expert and credential evaluator Sheila Danzig. “When we evaluate foreign credentials for US equivalence, we have to take classroom contact hours, USCIS and other legal precedents, university admissions decisions, and documented investigations into foreign education equivalencies into account to clearly spell out the value of your education.”Dr. Kaku’s and the Wall Street Journal’s observations about the state of the US educational system are clearly reflected in the demographics of high-level tech jobs. All the same, the H1B Visa program requires candidates to prove their genius to their employers and graduate programs, as well as the bureaucracies that approve their visas.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.]]>

    Scroll to Top