News Update: L-1 USCIS Site Visits

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recently acknowledged that its fraud detection and national security division will be making unannounced pre- and post-adjudication site visits at L-1 intracompany transferee petitioners. I believe the expansion of their verification program is a direct result of the Office of Inspector General’s report published in August 2013 listing many of the problems and variances from the law and regulations as identified by the government. We believe the site visits and investigations will be similar to the ones conducted by the USCIS on the H applications. We believe the officers will be primarily visiting to verify the existence of the petitioning company and confirming that the beneficiary’s employment details and work place are compliant with the petition.

If you are contacted by a USCIS officer, it is our recommendation that you obtain identification information from the officer and request the opportunity of providing the information in writing but after it has been reviewed by an attorney in our office. While it is permissible for the petitioning employer to change the duties and responsibilities of the alien beneficiary, the resulting position must be compliant with the immigration laws and regulations, so it is imperative that you notify our office if there are any changes to be effectuated for any of the foreign nationals working under a nonimmigrant visa classification.

We believe the government will likely be focusing upon companies establishing “new offices” in the United States and those individuals who have had L-1 petitions approved on the Canadian border or through blanket applications at the consulates. We would urge all of our clients who will be moving or changing addresses to ensure that they have shared that information with our office so that we can appropriately notify the USCIS to minimize possible misunderstandings if they cannot find or locate the petitioning employer.

While complying with the myriad of requests from the various government officers, we recommend that they be treated very graciously and civilly as they are going about their duty and responsibility of validating the accuracy of the various petitions which have been filed under oath of veracity. Should you have any additional questions in this regard, please feel free to contact me.