By: Ameer Shaikh
As immigration practitioners and beneficiaries well know, you do not always get an approval upon filing. Sometimes the USCIS issues a “Request for Evidence” aka RFE. While many of the RFE types are well-known (and even infamous: looking at you, Specialty Occupation), at other times the RFE’s are unusual or unique.
In this intermittent series of our newsletter, MPLG will be highlighting unusual or unique RFE’s.
Today’s submission comes from an H-1B RFE we received earlier this summer. In it, the USCIS challenged the Indian national’s degree from The Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS). The grounds of the challenge were as follows:
“On November 3, 2017, the University Grants Commission (UGC) in India directed 123 “deemed universities” to refrain from using the word “university” in their names. The Birla Institute of Technology and Science is among the 123 schools on the UGC list. Therefore, USCIS cannot confirm whether the beneficiary’s foreign degree is equivalent to a US bachelor’s degree.”
In our response, we helpfully alerted the USCIS that it had simply misunderstood the Indian accreditation system. Not only was BITS one of the leading educational institutions in India, it was also recognized under India’s University Grants Commission under Section 3 of the UGC Act of 1956. We further clarified that the fact that BITS was referred to as a “deemed university” did not impact its accreditation because under Indian law such institutions enjoy the academic status and privileges. We also included evidence of this from the UGC website. In addition to this, we provided evidence from an Indian Supreme Court ruling that confirmed the terminology.
Finally, to be safe, we had a professional evaluation service confirm that the degree was the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree.
This response to the Indian deemed universities RFE led to an approval.