To be eligible for H-1B status, a beneficiary must hold a US bachelor’s degree or higher or its equivalent in the field of the H-1B job.  Beneficiaries run into education issues when the beneficiary does not have the required US degree in the exact field of the H-1B job and does not clearly show USCIS they have the educational equivalence in terms of US educational standards.

If USCIS sees the following educational situations, it will raise a big red flag:

  • Foreign degree
  • Three-year bachelor’s degree
  • Degree in a major that is different from the H-1B job
  • Generalized degree
  • Incomplete college
  • No college
  • Credentials from an unaccredited institution

To address these situations, you must show that the beneficiary has met H-1B educational requirements with a credential evaluation that shows their education, non-collegiate training, and work experience comprises the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree or higher in the field of the job.  This must be a detailed evaluation written uniquely to address the situation.  This means a detailed evaluation of courses taken, evaluation of academic value of any professional or other non-collegiate training, and/or a work experience conversion. 

Work experience conversions are common ways to surmount educational hurdles because USCIS accepts that three years of progressive work experience in the field of the H-1B job is the equivalent of one year of college credit in that major.  Progressive work experience means education occurred on the job as evidenced by promotions or the work becoming provably more complex with greater responsibility over the course of employment.  A professor with the authority to convert work experience into college credit can perform this conversion which is why we work with such professors when writing H-1B credential evaluations.

Of course, the easiest way to answer and RFE is to avoid it in the first place.  Whether you have already filed or are just finishing up your petition, don’t forget to include a credential evaluation to fill in any gaps between the education the beneficiary has and the education your beneficiary needs for visa approval.

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Sheila Danzig

Sheila Danzig is the director of CCI  Sheila specializes in overturning RFEs and Denials for work visas.

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