Your client’s H1-B eligibility is primarily about his or her education. There are two primary educational requirements CIS evaluates to determine whether or not to approve a candidate’s visa:
- Does the candidate have a US bachelor’s degree or higher?
- Does the candidate’s degree match their specialty occupation?
Many H1-B candidates do not have US bachelor’s degrees because their degree is from outside of the United States. Some candidates have not completed their degrees or received specialized training through other means. If this is your client’s situation, you need to prove that they have the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree or higher for their visa to be approved, and this must be documented with a credential evaluation. Candidates with three-year degrees, four-year degrees from countries other than the US, or incomplete or missing education can have their work experience evaluated for equivalency to years of college credit in their industry. This work experience must show that the candidate learned new, and progressively difficult, specialized skills through this work experience, and took on more and more responsibility. Three years of progressive work experience is the equivalent of one year of college with a major in that field. Credential evaluators with the authority to convert years of progressive work experience into college credit can help you and your client fill in the educational gaps between the US educational system and the educational system of the country your client’s degree is from.
To prove that your client’s degree matches their job title, you need to provide evidence that the education and training required for your candidate’s degree prepare your client for the duties required in his or her H1-B job. To do this, you can submit a detailed overview of the specific duties of your client’s job, your client’s employer, and how the complexities of your client’s job relate to his or her degree. Meeting the evidence standards for this requirement may also require an expert opinion letter, documentation that similar companies require employees to hold your client’s degree for similar occupations, and even printouts of degree fields typically associated with your client’s job.
In recent years, CIS has required that H1-B candidates’ degrees be an exact match for their job title. While employers will hire candidates with degrees in related fields, CIS will not approve their visas if the degree is not an exact match. This is a new CIS trend that must be taken into account when filing an H1-B petition to avoid an RFE. If your candidate holds a generalized degree or a degree in a mismatched field, get in touch with a credential evaluator. With the progressive work experience conversion, an evaluator can fill in the gap between your client’s degree specialization, and your client’s job title with years of progressive work experience in your client’s job title.
When you look for the right credential evaluator for your client’s case, make sure you choose one that follows CIS trends and has a deep understanding of the nuances of education internationally.
About the Author
Sheila Danzig is the Executive Director of CCI TheDegreePeople.com a Foreign Credentials Evaluation Agency. For a no charge analysis of any difficult case, RFEs, Denials, or NOIDs, please go to http://www.ccifree.com/ or call 800.771.4723.