Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program
Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program was implemented in July of
2009 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Citizenship and
Immigration Service in an attempt to detect fraud in the immigration
application benefit process. In short, it authorizes FDNS (Fraud Detection and
National Security) Officers to make unannounced site visits to the employer
worksite in order to determine, among other things, whether the facts supplied
in an approved immigration application are true and accurate. The site visit is
composed of a “compliance review” which includes: Document review, physical
inspection of the workplace (which may include taking photographs), and
interviews with HR personnel and the sponsored foreign national employee. In
some cases, FDNS will call ahead, while in other cases, an Officer may simply
show up unannounced.
are three types of Administrative Site Visits, as follows:
Reviews: Employers’ are randomly selected for site visits involving no probable
cause for any type of wrong doing. Site visits for H-1B and L-1 petitions occur
post adjudication, i.e., after the petition has been approved to ensure the integrity of the
immigration benefits system.
Site Visits: Occur where there is probable cause to believe there is an
irregularity in the application process.
Fraud Compliance Assessment: Not currently active as of the date of this
(Fraud Detection National Security) Officers are authorized to conduct site
visits based on DHS’ right to verify an H-1B beneficiary’s eligibility
consistent with statutes and regulations. The authority also comes from an
employer attestation (signature) on the Form I-129, Application for a
Nonimmigrant Worker, Part 7 which is signed by the Employer (usually an HR
Representative) and provides: “I certify,
under penalty of perjury that this petition and the evidence submitted with it
are true and correct to the best of my knowledge. I authorize the release of
any information from my records, or from the petitioning organization’s records
that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services needs to determine eligibility
for the benefit being sought. I recognize the authority of USCIS to conduct
audits of this petition using publicly available open source information. I
also recognize that supporting evidence may be verified by USCIS through any
means determined appropriate by USCIS, including but not limited to,on-site
Most site visits are random and routine and are no
cause for panic. Should you receive a site visit, you should follow the
see identification and credentials from the FDNS Officer conducting the site
visit. Write down his or her ID number and ask for a business card.
request participation by legal counsel via phone. Please note that rescheduling
may not be accommodated to allow for physical presence of counsel.
Employer has the right to know which type of site visit is being conducted,
i.e., random versus targeted.
Officer should be supervised at all times while on premises. Keep copious
notes, including questions asked and responses.
scope of the site visit must focus on the particular H-1B (or L-1) petition at
issue, i.e., the site visit does not give the government the right to
investigate any other aspect of the company.
the site visit is voluntary, we recommend compliance, as noncompliance could
result in the issuance of a “notice to revoke” the H-1B petition.
types of documents requested may consist of the following: W-2 records, pay
records, educational credentials, LCA (Labor Condition Application) postings, Public
Access Files, H-1B withdrawal notices for terminated employees, etc... For a
complete list, please contact an attorney at Madison | Piper PC.
employers with multiple worksites, know where your employees are located.
Establish a protocol in advance to prepare for site visits, including preparing
front desk personnel. Always verify credentials of the FDNS Officer and obtain
a copy of his/her business card. Please remember that multiple worksites can be
subject to site visits, while the same location may be subject to repeat site
2014, the Administrative Site Visit Program was expanded to include the L-1
category. Such expansion of the program resulted from alleged misuse of the L-1
program as reported in an August 2013 Report from the Office of Inspector
General’s office. As the L-1 Site Visit Program is relatively new, there is not
yet a defined structure, as is the case with the H-1B Site Visit Program. Anecdotal
information reflects that FDNS Officers have, in some cases, provided employers’
with 2 days to respond to written requests for information and documentation,
including up to 100 potential questions.
Officers record their findings on a Compliance Review Report which becomes part
of the official government record. If there are any fraud indicators, the USCIS
will determine whether further investigation is required. In situations
involving fraud, the case may be referred to U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE). Most administrative site visits are relatively
straightforward and lead to a final finding of compliance. Should you receive
any indication or correspondence to the contrary, please contact your
immigration counsel without delay.