Tips for H-1B and L-1 FDNS site visit compliance

Since 2009, the Fraud Detection and National Security directorate ("FDNS") of USCIS has conducted site visits at employer worksites to ensure compliance with all terms as stated in the I-129 for approved H-1B and L-1 petitions. FDNS operations are funded with the $500 Fraud Prevention and Detection Fee that accompanies initial H-1B and L-1 petitions by employers. If FDNS conducts a site visit and the officer's Compliance Review Report contains indicators of fraud, USCIS will then assess whether further investigation is warranted and, if necessary, alert Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE").

Compliance with the H-1B and L-1 regulations remains essential for employers who submit petitions on behalf of professional workers in these visa categories, and employers should keep in mind a few important points concerning FDNS site visits. If an officer from FDNS arrives at your worksite, remember that FDNS site visits are voluntary, though employer cooperation is strongly recommended. More importantly, employers and their HR representatives should always contact their immigration attorney ASAP in the event of an FDNS site visit. During these site visits, which are typically unannounced, employers may be requested to provide paystubs and W-2s for H-1B and L-1 employees. These figures will then be matched with the amount stated in the I-129 petition and compared to the beneficiary's 1040 tax return to ensure compliance. Employers who are not able to immediately address all the issues raised by the inspector may request additional time to respond.

To avoid any discrepancies in the event of a site visit, employers should make certain that all information provided in the I-129 petition is 100% accurate and that any significant changes to the conditions of employment are brought to the attention of their immigration counsel who can advise on filing an amended petition.  For more information about FDNS and site visit compliance, visit USCIS's website.