USCIS Update on H1B and L-1 Site Visits

Top officials from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) participated in an October 9, 2014 meeting with an American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) committee on immigration benefits. One key topic discussed during that meeting was the current state of the H1B and L-1 Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program (ASVVP).

FDNS Site Visit Expansion to L-1s

Since 2009, the USCIS has conducted site visits to verify compliance in the H1B context. More recently, this program expanded to include site visits by representatives of the USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) to confirm compliance in L1A cases filed by multinational companies on behalf of executives and managers. More information about this program expansion to L-1 cases is available in the MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, Site Visit Expansion to Certain L1A Petition Extensions (09.May.2014).

Site Visit Determinations

The USCIS reports having conducting 75,000 H1B site visits since the program began in 2009. The selection of particular petitions for site visits is random. The outcome of the site visit is classified either as “verified,” meaning the information on the H1B petition was confirmed during the site visit, or “not-verified,” signaling that the contents of the petition were not confirmed. In the event that FDNS is unable to issue a “verified” finding or the site visit reveals inconsistencies, the USCIS can either reach out to the petitioning employer for information and clarifications, or seek to revoke or deny the H1B petition. There are additional options available to the USCIS for cases involving suspected fraud. Fortunately, however, the USCIS indicates that the vast majority of such compliance reviews result in verified determinations.

L-1 Site Visits Could Result in Detailed Questions

The USCIS confirms that, as part of the L-1 site visit process, FDNS can send questions via eMail to the L-1 petitioning employer. These questions can be quite lengthy and detailed. The USCIS notes, however, that employers would only be required to answer that type of inquiry if the inspector was not able to gather the needed information during the site visit. This can occur when the site inspector is unable to locate the individual/s in question, the petitioner and/or employee are not cooperative, or if certain documents were not immediately available for inspection.

Site Visits to Foster Culture of Compliance

The USCIS again emphasizes that the purpose of the site visit program is to foster a “culture of compliance” within the U.S. immigration system. During a site visit, the inspector gets the opportunity to observe the business premises and to interact with the petitioner and beneficiary in person to verify the contents of the particular petition.


Employers of H1B and L1A employees need to be proactive and prepare for how best to respond to a site visit. The MurthyDotCom NewsBrief, USCIS Site Visits: What to Expect, provides a general overview of the inspection process, and should prove useful to employers and foreign national workers in the event of a visit by a USCIS representative. Murthy Law Firm attorneys are available to answer questions and concerns about immigration compliance prior to a site inspection, and can assist companies in dealing with the aftermath of a site visit if problems arise.

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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.