AILA released some disturbing news that warned immigration attorneys and foreign degree evaluation agency that all three-year degrees were at risk for denial for I-140 visa applications. As a result, Career Consulting International (CCI) has worked hard to uncover evidence and demonstrate that three-year bachelor degrees are the U.S. equivalency of a Bachelor Degree. For this reason, the agency receives numerous inquiries from attorneys, businesses, and persons with 3-year degrees about answering RFEs and denial notices. Most of the time, our clients are happy to update us about their outcomes. We recently received this update from one of our clients: Hi All , Today I got my I140 approval from TSC [Texas Service Center] after responding to RFE on 3 year degree. I discussed the issue before applying for I140 with my attorney by reading the experiences from many others. [My attorney] said he would send for an evaluation if I got an RFE. Then, I did get an RFE saying my 3 year degree is not equal to US BS degree. So I contacted Sheila Danzig for my evaluation. She answered my email questions. I paid the money and sent all docs required. Luckily, I spoke to Sheila on the day before my RFE deadline. I spoke to her in the middle of the night and she is so good. She sent my evaluation docs next day by express courier. I am not a person who works for Sheila; this is my experience with my I140 RFE and Sheila. I want to tell you all that, when I spoke to Sheila she said the possibility of success is above 90% (at that time in TSC). Though Sheila’s Evaluation is expensive I have chosen her agency because I do not see any others who have communicated to us for several years on this issue. After I searched all the [immigration] forums I firmly decided to go with Sheila. By God’s grace my case is approved today. I am writing today for the benefit of people whose cases can be like mine.]]>
USCIS website. In order to demonstrate that their foreign degrees or diplomas are equal to a U.S. degree, most workers are required to obtain an equivalency evaluation from a foreign credentials evaluation agency, such as Career Consulting International. This is particularly true for individuals from countries such as India, Pakistan, and some European Countries who hold 3-year degrees. These credential evaluations are also used for other purposes such as education and immigration, in the event that a person desires to apply for permanent resident status. Generally, people who hold H1-B visas are allowed to remain in this country for three years after obtaining the visa. These visas can be renewed one time, and allow a person to remain in the U.S. as a temporary worker for up to six years total. Individuals interested in staying longer or becoming permanent residents should consider applying for I-140 status instead.]]>
all 3-year degrees have a high risk of being denied. The MATTER OF SHAH is now being used to question degrees worldwide, rather than primarily for degrees from Indian universities. These degrees are, in fact, being denied much more frequently, and evaluators have been warned that, in all probability, this trend will only continue. What can we do to help students with 3-year degrees resolve this dilemma? 1. Recently, Ron Wada advised: “This is one situation where the service centers’ case by case policy can work in your favor, because that cuts both ways. They still leave the door open to say, “If you can show us that your three year degree is equivalent to a US 4 year bachelor degree then we will approve your case. But the burden of proof is on you. Alright, so one can visualize that it is possible to do this … ” Furthermore, concerning the evaluation process itself, Wada stated, “I would like to say one thing here, for the future, the way I see the future of credential evaluations, we have to get smarter. We cannot assume that what we’ve used in the past, the cookie cutter, on the cheap, credential evaluation is going to fly. If you have a case that solidly meets the requirements you don’t even need a credential evaluation and it is not useful in that situation. When you need it is when you’ve got facts that aren’t clearly approvable and you need a credential evaluation to back that up. You are going to need a credential evaluation that does something for you, that gives analysis, that provides back up documentation. It cannot be the simple evaluation you’re used to getting.” At both the 2006 and 2007 AILA conferences with USCIS, this issue was discussed. USCIS offered this response to a question that arose during the April 19, 2006 AILA liaison’s visit with I-140 product line manager supervisors: “We are aware that some countries (i.e., many European countries) have educational systems that have the equivalent of 13 years education prior to university, and that education plus a three-year university degree is the equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree in the U.S. However, many other countries’ educational systems have only 12 years of education prior to university, and then only three years of university coursework. With respect to such degree, we need evidence that the beneficiary has the equivalent of the required degree…A simple credential evaluation stating that the degree is equivalent may not be sufficient. It should be supported by a detailed explanation of how that conclusion was made and the transcripts of the beneficiary’s schooling to support the explanation and to document where the evaluator found the coursework equating a four-year degree.” Furthermore, during this session, the USCIS admitted that a Bachelor Degree awarded to a student who graduates from a 12+3 educational system, such as the one found in India, may be considered to be the U.S. equivalency of a four-year bachelor degree if the recipient can document that the coursework involved is equivalent to that found in a four-year degree program. We offer, in this expert opinion, a detailed explanation that utilizes comprehensive evidence concluding that, based on a comparison of coursework, the Indian 3-year degree is the US equivalency of a 4-year bachelor degree program. Again, as stated in the April 2007 NSC Liaison Spring Meeting: “2. We understand that NSC reviews a beneficiary’s educational qualifications on a case by case basis, and considers credential evaluations to be purely advisory in nature. The “case by case” policy makes it difficult for petitioners to understand what documentation is needed to support their case. One member reports receiving multiple RFEs requesting documentation of the “length and complexity” of the academic program; but this type of request in an RFE still does not provide the guidance needed to prepare a response. For the situations listed in Question 1 where documentation beyond the official academic record is needed to establish either bachelor’s degree or master’s degree equivalency, it would be helpful if NSC could provide some basic guidance concerning the minimum content of the supplementary documentation that would be needed to establish foreign degree equivalency with U.S. degrees. For example, for EB2 cases involving beneficiaries with an Indian 3 year bachelor’s degree followed by a 2 year master’s degree, we understand that NSC has approved I-140s where the petitioner has submitted either:
- Examples of comparable U.S. master’s degree programs requiring only one year to complete (indicating that a total of 5 years of undergraduate and graduate level education is sufficient); or
- Credential evaluations that provide a detailed comparison of credit hours completed by the beneficiary for the 3 year bachelor’s degree program with credit hours required by comparable U.S. bachelor’s programs.