L-1A site visits will begin this quarter at job locations where a U.S. employer obtained an extension of an employee’s L-1A status, as confirmed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) unit in a stakeholder call on Thursday, April 24. USCIS will randomly select approved L-1A visa petitions filed at the California and Vermont Service Centers requesting an extended period of stay for employees who hold managerial and executive positions.
We strongly encourage all L-1A employers review last month’s blog, highlighting tips all employers should know to help them prepare for these site visits. The primary purpose of these site visits is to deter fraud. Employers who are properly employing L-1A managers and executives should prepare their teams to prevent any avoidable mistakes when FDNS shows up.
Here are some key takeaways from the April 24 teleconference.
1. Site visits will occur at the job location given on the petition (Form I-129). This would include the end client site for L-1A employees working off-site.
2. Employers will be chosen at random and site visits will not target extensions filed by “small” offices (less than 25 employees) or “new” offices (opened within the last year).
3. Inspectors will report that the L-1A visa petition was either “verified” or “not verified.” The inspector will not have authority to withdraw or re-adjudicate an approved L-1A visa petition. Any such decision would be made later by USCIS.
4. The inspector’s report will include answers to the following questions:
- Was the job location correct as provided on the petition?
- Was the petitioner and/or company signatory available to meet?
- Did the company signatory have knowledge of the original petition?
- Was the employee listed on the petition available for interview?
- Was the employee cooperative and forthcoming?
- Is the employee working for the employer in the position stated in the petition?
- Is the employee receiving the salary as stated on the petition?
- Is the employee performing the duties as stated on the petition?
5. The FDNS has discretion to waive interviews for repeated site visits. In the event an employer has multiple L-1A extensions chosen for site visits, the employer should notify the inspector they have already received a site visit and the FDNS may waive future site visits to this location.
6. Information may be provided over the phone and/or via e-mail within a reasonable period of time (One to three days) if not immediately available at the interview.
7. Petitions filed on behalf of L-1B Specialized Knowledge employees and petitions filed for first-time L-1A employees will not be considered for site visits at this time; they may be incorporated into the site visit program in the future.
8. An attorney may join a site visit while it is in progress either by phone or in person.
Please contact Trow & Rahal if you need assistance in developing a company policy or training to prepare for these visits.
Posted by: Andy Finkle, Associate Attorney