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  • Article: You Can Beat The Nightmare RFE for H1B. By Sheila Danzig

    You Can Beat The Nightmare RFE for H1B

    by


    Aptly named the Nightmare because it strikes terror so deep into the hearts of H1B petitioners and their lawyers that it gives them nightmares, known as the Kitchen Sink because everything is in it but the kitchen sink, this is the last RFE you ever want to get. Below is an example of one such RFE, brace yourself.

    Evaluation of Training and/or Experience by a College Official: Submit an evaluation form from an official who has authority to grant college-level credit for training and/or experience in the specialty of a Graphic Designer. The evaluation must be from an accredited college or university that has a program for granting such credit in the field of study based on an individual's training and/or work experience.

    Note: College or university professors writing evaluations as consultants on behalf of private educational credentials evaluation firms with not satisfy this requirement as regulations limit the scope of their evaluation only to foreign education.

    The evaluation by an official, preferably the Registrar of a college or university must be on behalf (on the letterhead) of the college or university where they are employed and have authority to grant college credit for training and/or experience. A private educational credentials evaluation service may not evaluate an alien's work experience or training; because these regulations limit the scope of educational credential evaluators to evaluating only foreign education.

    Professors writing evaluations as consultants may, in the alternative, be considered as recognized authorities if they can clearly establish their qualifications as experts; provide specific instances where past opinions have been accepted as authoritative and by whom; clearly show how conclusions were reached; and show the basis for the conclusions with copies or citations of any research material used.

    This evaluation should describe the material evaluated and establish that the areas of experience are related to the specialty. Resumes or Curriculum Vitae alone are usually insufficient to satisfy this requirement. Also, provide a letter from the Registrar of the institution (on the institution's letterhead) to establish that the particular evaluating official is authorized to grant college-level credit on behalf of their institution, and that the evaluator holds a bachelor's degree in the field of study he or she is evaluating. Further, provide written verification or other documents or records to clearly substantiate that the evaluator is actually employed by the claimed college or university.

    Provide copies of pertinent pages from the college or university catalog to show that it has a program for granting college-level credit based on training and/or experience. Merely stating in a letter that the school has such a program is insufficient. The program must be clearly substantiated. Further, CLEP and PONSI equivalency exams or special credit programs do not satisfy this requirement because the regulation requires that the beneficiary produce the results of such exams or programs in order for them to qualify. Also, training or experience derived from internship programs may not satisfy this requirement unless you can establish that the experience or training claimed was gained through enrollment in the particular college or university's internship program.

    Moreover, provide evidence to show the total amount of college credit the Registrar or evaluator may grant for training or experience as part of the program. The evaluator may provide copies of the evaluation made by a school official, preferably the Registrar, which clearly shows how the alien met the college or university's program requirements and how much possible college credit the alien may be granted for his or her training and experience.

    As youíve probably guessed, these conditions are completely impossible to meet. Even if it were technically possible to gather the evidence to meet all of the requirements spelled out in this particular RFE, with the long list of authorities, individuals, and agencies you would need to go through to get the requested documentation, it would cost an enormous amount of money and take way more time than you have been allotted to meet these requests.

    We know of NO ONE who can actually meet the requirements spelled out in this RFE. In fact, itís not even clear that the USCIS has the right to make this request of anyone.


    At CCI, we have become very familiar with The Nightmare RFE. Since 2009, we are seeing more and more of these RFEís Ė as many as four in one day. We donít know what triggers it, but we DO know how to respond.

    With a slightly different approach and a new credential evaluation, we have seen roughly 95% of all of these horrid RFEís that come across our desk approved.

    Itís always important to keep in mind, even when dealing with The Kitchen Sink RFE, to not get caught up in the wording and thrown off course. Instead, keep in mind what you need to do to fulfill the H1B requirements and gather all of the evidence necessary to make this happen. Seek help from people who have been through the Nightmare before and know how to navigate it.

    The USCIS wonít tell you how to get your visa approved in your RFE, but I WILL based on my decades of experience in this exact situation. You can get your visa approved, even if it looks like all hope is lost. I can help you.

    If you have a Nightmare RFE or any RFE, NOID, Denial, or H1B, E3, TN or I140 case, at CCI we will be happy to review it free of cost at www.cciFree.com/

    [5-27-15: The author has added the following: ]

    An RFE is Not The End of the Road. Most Are Easily Overcome.

    Requests for Evidence (RFE) have become a very popular response to H-1B petitions in the past five or six years. An RFE is a tool the USCIS uses when the agent reviewing your petition doesnít feel enough information is provided to make a decision about the fate of your petition, one way or another.

    In the not too distant past, an RFE was a rare response. Now, almost 25% of all H-1B petitions are met with an RFE. If you get one, donít panic! While this is far less desirable than getting your visa approved outright, it is far from the worst-case scenario. Youíve made it into the H-1B lottery and your petition is under consideration. Now you have a second chance at strengthening your case and getting your visa approved. Just as the USCIS uses the RFE as a tool to make a decision about your petition, you too can use the RFE to fortify your petition.

    The first step is to understand exactly what is being asked of you and your employer. What is unclear about your initial petition? What is inconsistent or missing? What requirements are in question?

    Common RFEís are issued requesting more evidence about the nature of your employment situation. Did you prove that you have an employer-employee relationship wherein your employer can pay you fair wages for your position without putting the business and its other employees at risk? Did you prove your position is actually a specialty occupation? Did you prove that you are qualified for your job by US standards?

    To prove a viable employer-employee relationship, you have to work together with your employer to make sure itís clear that you have in fact been hired by them, they can fire you if need be, pay you, have performance requirements of you that you must meet, and otherwise control the work that you do for them. Sending in copies of your contract or other documentation giving insight into the mechanics of your employment may be necessary to meet the requests of your RFE.

    If it is unclear whether or not your job requires specialty skills and training with at least a US bachelorís degree or itís equivalent, you need to provide evidence that your job is actually a specialty occupation. It may include sending a copy of the listing advertising the job opening along with other listings for similar jobs for similar companies or organizations. This will show an industry standard for requiring an advanced degree and specialized skills for the job you have been hired for.

    In recent years, education RFEís have become increasingly common because USCIS standards around this requirement have changed. Just less than a decade ago, you would be able to prove to the USCIS that you were qualified for your job by having a degree in a field related to your field of employ. Like most job listings for US citizens, having a related degree is typically qualification enough for a job, especially if the applicant also has work experience in the field. Now, the USCIS requires your degree to precisely match your field of H-1B employ. If your degree is in a related field, you can bridge this gap with a credential evaluation from a credential evaluation agency with the authority to convert years of work experience into college credit hours. Typically, three years of work experience in any given field can be converted into one yearís worth of college credit hours in the exact corresponding degree. Not every credential evaluation agency has the knowledge and authority to do this. CCI (http://www.TheDegreePeople.com/ )is an agency that does.

    RFEís for education situations also arise because different countries have different education systems. For example, England and India have three-year bachelorís degree programs. When you look at the breakdown of academic content of this degree, itís easy to see its academic value is equivalent to a US four-year bachelorís degree. The only difference is academic density. This comparison is not clear on its face because of the missing year. At CCI, we also have the authority to convert classroom contact hours into US college credit hours based on the Carnegie Unit. This way, if you received an RFE because you earned a bachelorís degree in a country with a three-year degree system in place for their bachelorís programs, we can conduct a thorough credential evaluation to examine the academic content of your degree and classroom contact hours to show equivalence to a US bachelorís degree.

    Make the most of this second chance to prove to the USCIS you are qualified for your visa. Be sure to know exactly what is being asked of you and deliver it all, on time, and in order. Remember, at the other end of the desk is a person who will be reviewing your case along with thousands of others. If you can make reading your petition a smooth and enjoyable experience by providing all that was requested, you can get your visa approved.

    Reprinted with permission.


    About The Author

    Sheila Danzig is the director of Career Consulting International at the www.TheDegreePeople.com, a foreign credential evaluation agency. She offers free review of I140 education based Denials, RFE's and NOIDs at www.cciFree.com. For more information or to sign the petition to support this proposal, go to http://www.thedegreepeople.com/eb-petition.html.

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