Immigration news from Reddy & Neumann, P.C.

FAQ: H-1B – Master’s Degree from For Profit and/or Un-accredited Universities

By Rahul Reddy and Sophia Asare, Attorneys at Law


1. I obtained a Master’s degree from a for-profit institution in the U.S. I applied for an H-1B petition under the FY 2013 Master CAP and USCIS approved the H-1B petition. Can USCIS now tell me that my H-1B is not valid?

Yes. In order to properly file an H-1B petition under the Master CAP exemption, an alien beneficiary must possess a master’s or higher degree from a United States institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. According to section 101(a), an institution of higher education is an educational institution that is, among other things, a public or other nonprofit institution and is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association or has been granted preaccreditation status by such an agency or association recognized for granting preaccreditation status.

The school that you obtained a Master’s degree from is for-profit and does not meet the definition of an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965.

USCIS can now find that your school does not meet the Master CAP exemption and that you are subject to the H-1B numerical limitation.

2. I obtained a Master’s degree from for profit, unaccredited institution in the U.S. I applied for an H-1B petition under the FY 2012 Master CAP and USCIS approved the H-1B petition. I have since traveled to India for visa stamping. Am I safe now?

No. The school that you obtained a Master’s degree from is unaccredited and does not meet the definition of an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Successfully obtaining a visa stamp does not change this fact. USCIS can now find that your school does not meet the Master CAP exemption and that you are subject to the H-1B numerical limitation.

3. In 2010, I obtained a Master’s degree from for profit, unaccredited institution in the U.S. I applied for an H-1B petition under the FY 2012 Master CAP and USCIS approved the H-1B petition. My current H-1B visa expires in September 2014. What should I do now?

The school that you obtained a Master’s degree from is unaccredited and does not meet the definition of an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. With the new filing window opening on April 1, 2014, you may want to consider filing a new H-1B petition under the Bachelors Cap in order to avoid future problems with your H-1B visa.

4. I obtained a Master’s degree from a private, for-profit institution in the U.S. I applied for an H-1B petition under the FY 2011 Master CAP and USCIS approved my H-1B petition. I filed a petition to extend my H-1B status in the fall of 2013 and it was approved. Am I safe now?

No. In recent months, the California Service Center has denied extension petitions of H-1B Beneficiaries whose initial H-1B petitions were filed under the Master CAP exemption based on Master’s or higher degrees from universities that do not meet the definition of an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. The school that you obtained a Master’s degree from is for-profit and does not meet the definition of an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. USCIS is not required to approve petitions where eligibility has not been demonstrated, merely because of prior approvals which may have been erroneous.

5. I obtained a Master’s degree from for profit, unaccredited institution in the U.S. I applied for an H-1B petition under the FY 2009 Master CAP and USCIS approved the H-1B petition. My I-140 was approved in 2011 and I now I am just waiting for my priority date to become current in order to file my I-485. Am I safe?

If you are currently in H-1B status, the answer is no. The school that you obtained a Master’s degree from is unaccredited and does not meet the definition of an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Successfully filing an I-140 does not change this fact. USCIS can now find that your school does not meet the Master CAP exemption and that you are subject to the H-1B numerical limitation.

6. In 2009, I obtained a Master’s degree from an accredited, nonprofit institution in the U.S. In 2012, I obtained a Master’s degree from a private, unaccredited university. I applied for an H-1B petition under the FY 2014 Master CAP and USCIS approved the H-1B petition. Will this cause any problems in the future for me?

You obtained one of your Master’s degrees from a school that meets the definition of an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. As this school meets the Master CAP exemption, you are not subject to the H-1B numerical limitation based on your previously granted H-1B nonimmigrant status in the past 6 years.

7. I recently graduated with a Master’s degree from a private, for-profit institution in the U.S. and I am currently participating in Occupational Practical Training (OPT). My OPT employer would like to file an H-1B petition for me on April 1, 2014. Can I file my H-1B petition under the FY 2015 Master CAP exemption?

The school that you obtained a Master’s degree from is for-profit and does not meet the definition of an institution of higher education as defined in section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Consult with an attorney to consider filing under the under normal quota.

 

Reddy & Neumann, P.C. is an immigration law firm in Houston, Texas. For over 15 years, our firm has successfully represented corporate clients across the United States in their efforts to bring foreign workers and business professionals to the United States. Our experienced team of immigration lawyers in Houston & Dallas advises clients throughout the H-1B visa application process, including responding to various requests for evidence and consular processing issues. From filing, through approval, and on to appeal, we do everything possible to ensure that your company can bring the best and brightest in the world to the United States.

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