We are very busy these days trying to beat the H1B rush. While we fell that visas will not run out on April 1, 2010, clients are anxious to get their cases out the door. We promise to deliver.
Here are some tips that may help our last minute filers. The issue today is a degree that has not yet been awarded. In the past, the USCIS has approved H-1B petitions for aliens seeking one of the 20,000 H-1B visas available to aliens who have earned master’s or higher degrees from U.S. institutions of higher education, where the alien has completed all requirements for the degree, and hence, has “earned” the degree, but the degree has not been conferred.
There is no reason to believe that USCIS will not continue that practice, so long as there is evidence that the alien has completed all requirements from an official at the educational institution qualified to provide that information. In the past, satisfactory evidence often was in the form of a letter from an official such as a Dean, Registrar, or department head, stating that all requirements have been satisfied and that the alien is simply waiting for the ceremonial conferral of the degree.
Be wary of letters prepared by unauthorized employees at the school stating that the student has completed all requirements toward a master’s degree, when in fact there are still examinations or papers to complete. USCIS is likely to question a letter that comes from a lower-level employee of the university. Be mindful also that use of such documentation when the student has not completed the program may be considered fraud. Also, use of such a document may result in the loss of the client’s chance at a slot in the U.S. master’s graduate quota since the petition likely would be denied on the basis of ineligibility at the time of filing.
More tips in later posts, good luck filing the H1’s tomorrow.