Case Study: The Specialty Occupation EXPERT is NOT a PROFESSOR


Last year, USCIS responded to an unprecedented number of H-1B cap-subject petitions with RFEs regarding specialty occupation. These RFEs were successfully answered with expert opinion letters from the RIGHT kind of expert while other expert opinion letters were rejected.

The letters that were rejected were written by professors in the field of the H1B job. Letters that were accepted by USCIS came from experts who WORKED IN THE FIELD rather than taught it. Letters from professors who ALSO have extensive field experience were also accepted by USCIS. The key here is that the expert must be working in the field currently and have notable depth of experience working in the field for USCIS to accept their opinion as credible.

At TheDegreePeople, all our experts our vetted based on their field experience and rapport within the current field. This gives weight to their opinion regarding the H-1B beneficiary’s specialty occupation and wage level. Without this experience and respect within the field, USCIS does not consider their “expert” opinion credible with regards to current working conditions within the field.

This year, USCIS visa adjudicators have the authority and encouragement to deny H-1B visa petitions outright without first issuing an RFE. This means you have to anticipate any specialty occupation issues that you, or your employee or client may run into BEFORE you file. No occupation is safe from specialty occupation RFEs. Make sure you include an expert opinion letter in your initial filing from the RIGHT kind of expert.

It is more important than ever this year that you make sure all of your bases are covered. At TheDegreePeople we work with difficult H-1B cases and RFEs every year, and we can identify where a case is likely to run into trouble. For a free review of your case, visit We will respond in 48 hours or less with our observations and recommendations.

About The Author

Sheila Danzig is an experienced foreign credential evaluator whose focus on dynamic response to USCIS trends has put her at the cutting edge of evaluation today. As Executive Director of Career Consulting International (CCI), Florida, since 2002, she has worked closely with immigration attorneys to assist with highly demanding credential-related matters, including Referrals for Evidence, Denials and Administrative Appeals Office proceedings. CCI has become known for its expert advocacy in many thousands of immigration cases, evolving new techniques and strategies to respond to the constantly-changing interpretations of USCIS and drawing on its own specialist research into international credentials and their equivalencies. Dr Danzig was educated at Hunter College, NY (BA), the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology (MA) and the Universidad Empresarial de Costa Rica (EdD). At TheDegreePeople we have experts on hand to write opinion letters that cover both wage level and specialty occupation issues in the same document. We also have experienced credential evaluators at your service who work regularly with difficult RFEs and their solutions. Every year, it is essential to cover all your bases before you file. This year, it is critical. Let us review your case, or your employee or client’s case for free to make sure any potential approval issues are fully anticipated and addressed in the initial petition. Visit and we will get back to you in 48 hours or less.