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H-1B Strategy: How to Analyze the Educational Requirement

Here are my tips on how to analyze the educational requirement for an H-1B visa and apply it to the beneficiary’s background. There are a few things to consider. Watch the video for a full breakdown.

First, you need to know if the job requires a university degree

How do you find out whether the beneficiary meets the H-1b visa educational requirements? You go to the Occupational Outlook Handbook (OOH) and look up the job most similar and click on the “how to become one” tab.  Is the requirement for a university degree specified? If so, does the beneficiary have that same degree or a similar one?

If yes, it meets the standards. If not, there are some other things to look at…

Does the beneficiary have a bachelor’s degree, a minor or other higher education that could have provided all or some knowledge required for the job? Did the beneficiary change majors from a degree that was related? Did they obtain an associate’s degree in a related major?  

Second, does the beneficiary have work experience related to the degree requirement?

If yes, how many years and can it be proven through contracts, pay slips, or letters?

Immigration will accept a 3:1 ratio… every 3 years of work is equivalent to 1 year of university. If the education that the beneficiary had was an associate’s degree or 2 years, then the work experience would need to be 6 years.

It is a very good idea to get an expert to evaluate the work and educational experience. USCIS will look very hard at experts. They must possess the authority to evaluate experience for their university and they will have to have a letter from the university to explain it

USCIS has on occasion required experts to have interviewed the individual but that is not always the case. They will also respect some experts more than others.

The next thing to look at is whether there are multiple majors that an occupation can utilize under the OOH.

USCIS has denied cases where they believe the spectrum of knowledge is too broad to meet the criteria of a specialty occupation with the reasoning that it must only require one.

The case of Relx vs Barron provides a strong holding in opposition to a USCIS decision stating that there is no requirement that a specialty occupation can only have a singular degree 

The next analysis is whether the degree requirement is similar

USCIS has denied cases where a specialty occupation has required any engineering degree as opposed to a subspecialty like software or mechanical engineering 

While it is a strong practice pointer to suggest a subspecialty where it fits, such as a software developer requiring a computer science or computer engineering degree, the case of inspection expert, we call IXC, held in march of 2020 stated that any engineering degree was sufficient and USCIS should not have required a subspecialty when it denied a case. 

If you would like to see how OnlineVisas, Intelligent Immigration platform, provides our lawyers with these types of strategies to build the most effective and efficient visa petitions at a fraction of the cost of other law firms, set up a demo with us. Just chat with our team now or book a free attorney consultation*.

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