Murthy Success Story: Degree Deemed Equivalent to U.S. Bachelor’s Degree

Many MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers have struggled with immigration issues created due to differences between the U.S. educational system and the educational systems of their respective home countries. This is a common complexity for those from countries, such as India, the United Kingdom, and Canada, where the bachelor’s degree often involves a three-year course of study rather than the four-year standard of the United States. Attorneys at the Murthy Law Firm recently helped a client obtain a reversal of the denial of an immigrant petition for alien worker (Form I-140), which centered on whether the individual’s degree was equal to a U.S. four-year bachelor’s degree. We appreciate the generosity of our client for consenting to the use of this case example for the benefit of MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers.

The Problem: Three-Year Degree Equivalency Issues

The client, an IT consulting company, sponsored a labor certification for an Indian national employee. The labor certification set out the requirements for the position of senior programmer analyst. The position required a bachelor’s degree or equivalent in computer science, engineering, math, MIS, physics, or a related field.

The beneficiary, an Indian national, held a Bachelor of Technology degree, earned after a three-year course of study. This degree had been obtained after the beneficiary earned a State Board of Technical Education Diploma. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Texas Service Center, denied the I-140 petition, following issuance of a request for evidence (RFE). This RFE asked for proof the degree was an equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree, as required by the labor certification. The company replied to the RFE, utilizing only the three-year Bachelor of Technology degree. The USCIS denied the I-140 petition, due to a failure to demonstrate completion of a four-year degree that was equivalent to the U.S. bachelor’s degree in one of the required fields listed in the labor certification.

Client Seeks Murthy Law Firm Help

The client consulted with the Murthy Law Firm to determine if there was a potential avenue to overcome the I-140 denial. We identified the fact that the Bachelor of Technology degree is typically a four-year program even in India. The sponsored worker in this case earned the degree in only three years. The evidence, including the foreign credential evaluation given to the USCIS and the RFE response, did not explain carefully enough how the client came to earn this degree in three years. The documents did not analyze and explain the exact nature of the individual’s education to the extent needed. There had not been an explanation of the significance of the diploma obtained by the foreign national prior to admission to the Bachelor of Technology program. The solution to this case arose from a more complete understanding of the employee / beneficiary’s educational progression and effective arguments outlined by the detail-oriented legal team at the Murthy Law Firm.

Motion Filed: Complete Explanation of Education

The Murthy Law Firm successfully challenged the denial in a motion filed with the USCIS. We used more detailed opinions by education evaluators, and our extensive knowledge and understanding of the Indian educational system. Our firm was able to win approval of this case by showing the USCIS that the employee / beneficiary’s completion of the diploma at the accredited institution was equivalent to college-level coursework. This diploma was completed prior to the Bachelor of Technology program. The diploma was taken into consideration by the Bachelor of Technology program when determining the required coursework for this program. The client had been admitted to the Bachelor of Technology program at an advanced standing level, thus permitting completion of the four-year degree program in three years. This is similar to having college credits transfer or obtaining credits through advanced placement testing. We were able, therefore, to show that our client’s degree, while completed in three years in this case example, was the equivalent of a four-year program, similar to a four-year degree program from an accredited U.S. university.

I-140 Petition Finally Approved

The motion we filed was granted and the I-140 approved, based on the documentation and analysis explained above. Our legal team was able to overcome the denial by explaining and fully documenting to the USCIS the nuances of this individual’s education. With a more complete presentation of the case, the TSC came to understand that our client had completed the education that satisfies the government’s definition of a foreign equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree.


There is a great deal of subtlety and complexity in responding to foreign educational issues. We at the Murthy Law Firm have extensive experience in this area and have helped obtain approvals in many difficult cases. Of course, no law firm can guarantee approval in a case. A successful result in a case with similar issues depends upon the individual’s background, education, the reason for the RFE or denial, and how the labor certification or PERM was drafted initially. To avoid problems, these matters must be analyzed carefully early in the case. When questions arise in the middle of a case, such as in an RFE, it is vital to provide complete documentation and analysis to overcome any concerns of the USCIS. If these issues result in the denial of an I-140 petition, it is possible to succeed in a motion to reopen, if the evidence shows that the USCIS was incorrect in denying the case.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.