Since Trump Administration took office, they have done many changes to the H1B program to increase oversight and combat fraud. As a result, and we have seen a big spike in the overall RFEs with these changes. One of the most common H1B Visa RFEs that USCIS has been issuing to F1 students on OPT or STEM OPT in recent times is the “Maintenance of Nonimmigrant Status” or “Maintenance of Status”. One our readers, Sri, was kind enough to share his H1B RFE experience related to “maintenance of nonimmigrant status and employer-employee relationship” with actual USCIS issued RFE Samples, and what they submitted to get approval. Thanks a lot to him for taking the time to share his experience and documents with our readers. We really appreciate Sri’s time and effort to help the community ! You can share your experience as well at User Experiences or email us at [email protected].
Background of my H1B RFE Situation with F1 STEM OPT:
Currently working on STEM OPT, with validity until February 2021, for a mid-size company with about 1000 people. Applied for H1B petition for FY 2020 season with Change of Status. Got picked in lottery, received RFE for three things: maintenance of nonimmigrant status, employer-employee relationship and employment in specialty occupation. Below is what they asked in summary and copy of the actual RFE issued by USCIS with the required documents.
H1B RFE – F1 STEM OPT Maintenance of Status – Training Plan, Location
I am not working at the actual employer location and working at a different location. USCIS has raised that point in RFE. Also, USCIS asked regarding the training plan, evidence of the training as on Form I-983 (Form for Training Plan for STEM OPT Students) and how employer is conducting the same. Below is the screenshot of the actual RFE details by USCIS and their required documents to submit for the RFE.
H1B RFE : Employer – Employee Relationship, Specialty Occupation, Work Itinerary, etc.
USCIS asked two aspects under the employer-employee relationship section asking for proof to establish employer-employee relationship and complete work details, if they fall under specialty occupation, client details and much more info. These two items are exactly based on the recent USCIS Policy for Third Party Placement for H1Bs that talks about non-speculative employment throughout the H1B duration, etc. Below are the screenshots of the actual RFE given by USCIS
Employer Employee Relationship RFE Sample by USCIS
Services in Specialty Occupation at Third Party Off-site Employment RFE Sample
Additional Evidence for Specialty Occupation, employer employee relationship RFE Sample
H1B RFE Response Submitted to USCIS to get Approval
It is quite a comprehensive RFE and can be very hard to get every single document that is in the above list given by them. Nevertheless, we tried to address everything from our side with the available documentation as below.
RFE Response to Maintenance of Status :
- Training Plan Information, Proof of Training : USCIS mainly asked for STEM training plan, Training details, trainer information and materials. Fortunately, my employer is giving training related to my working technology on every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. My employer submitted all the details of training and he also submitted the course completion certificates. He also stated that for every 3 months training plan will change and he also submitted proofs for that. On I-983 form employer mentioned the training plan, Based on that my employer provided all the proofs. My employer location is 150 miles from my work location, so he stated that for once in a month he is visiting employee directly to get the status update on training, work, and other details. My employer is providing the training to all STEM OPT candidates, whoever present. Documents we submitted Training plan, training completion certificate, attendance details, training hours, trainer name and his contact details, etc.
- OPT, STEM OPT Pay Stubs, Offer Letters : In addition to this USCIS asked me to submit all my pay stubs from the start date of OPT period to now. Initially I thought of submitting only STEM OPT pay stubs but one day I saw a post that you shared on Sample of F1 to H1B COS Denial Notice. Closely my case exactly matches to that one. So Immediately I shared that post with my employer. After lots of discussions and research we decided to submit the all OPT pay stubs whatever we had. Even though I was unemployed for short duration, I had an employer all that time. So I submitted the offer letters also. My old employers also ready to verify if USCIS asks them. Here, we did not submit any fake documents just we submitted whatever we have. Thankfully, it went positive.
RFE Response to Employer- Employee Relationship, Specialty Occupation Work :
To address this part, we submitted details related to client project, letters, etc as listed below and my offer letter.
Letter, Project Documents: We submitted
the below documents from Client
- Client Letter that tells the details of my work
related to the project like below
- Weekly reports of the Project
- Project PPT Decks
- Achievements related to project
- Additional information related to the project
- Client Name – Details Wrong: On my RFE , client name and dates are printed wrongly. My employer said he responded very strongly for this because client name was wrong on RFE which is big mistake done by USCIS.
- Offer Letter – Employer Employee Relationship: In first time, my employer only sent the vendor letter and missed to submit my actual full offer letter. We submitted my actual offer letter that indicates full time employment and address the employer-employee relationship.
Our H1B petition was filed in premium. It took 3 days after the RFE Response was submitted to get the H1B Approval. Hope it helps others to be prepared and submit documents accordingly.
What documents did you submit for such H1B RFE ? Your tips or insights to share ? Add your thoughts in comments.