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Dinsmore | Immigration
Dinsmore immigration attorneys leverage more than 130 years of cumulative experience to craft strategies and solutions to meet unique immigration needs. We anticipate the areas where the U.S. government may challenge a case, reverse engineer the case to lower the risk of denial, and increase the odds of approval. 

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How To Prepare For An H-1B Or L-1 Site Visit By A U.S. Immigration Official

  1. Share This Summary With Relevant Company Employees. 
    Provide a copy of this summary to any company employee who may be involved with an unannounced site visit at each company location
  2. Identify A Responsible Party At Each Site. 
    Designate one HR professional in each office to handle site visits.  Ensure that the receptionist or security personnel at the "front door" knows to contact the designated HR professional as soon as a government official arrives.  The HR professional should have a list of the employees at the facility who are working on an H-1B or L-1 work visa.  The list should include all contact information for each such employee.  If the designated HR professional is unavailable, ensure there is a backup who can represent the company.
  3. Obtain The Official's Business Card And Direct Phone Number. 
    Make certain that the government official identifies himself or herself and provides a copy of his or her business card.  We recommend you insist on receiving a direct dial phone number or email address from the official so that you can communicate about any follow up matters.
  4. What the Inspection Typically Entails. 
    The government official's focus will be to
    • inspect the worksite to confirm that it is an operational and legitimate business,
    • confirm that H-1B or L-1 employee works there, and
    • ask questions about the job title, duties, and location of the H-1B or L-1 worker to verify that all information agrees with the statements the company made in its H-1B or L-1 petition.  

    Therefore, both the HR professional and the foreign national employee should be familiar with the contents of the petition, including the title, job description and salary (please see below our summary of the types of questions the official may ask).  We recommend always having have a second company employee (a witness) in the room during the site visit questioning. 

    After the initial inquiry, the official usually will ask to tour the company's location, take pictures of the H-1B signor's workspace and the H-1B employee's workspace, and ask the H-1B employee questions about his/her title, duties, location, and salary.  The official often will ask for confirmation of compensation paid and earnings statement.  Sometimes the official will ask to interview the line manager and co-workers.  Often, the official will ask to interview the H-1B or L-1 employee separately.  The typical visit lasts 30-45 minutes if all goes well.

  5. Don't Answer Questions You are Not Certain About. 
    Do not speculate if you need to check facts.  Tell the official you need to check and ask how you can get back to him/her.
  6. Immediately After the Interview. 
    Ensure the HR professional records his/her notes from the question/answer session and shares them with the company's immigration coordinator and immigration counsel. 
Site Visits - Information the Immigration Official Wants to Know

When a U.S. government or immigration official visits a company to conduct a site visit on an H-1B (or L-1 case) the official has a specific list of information that s/he is seeking to obtain.  Below we have outlined the information the official is likely to request to help the company HR professionals and foreign national employee be prepared to respond to the immigration official's questions.
  1. Does this facility appear to be a company facility?

    The official needs to confirm that the facility is indeed a petitioning company facility.  The official will look at signage and the location of the facility to make this determination, likely immediately upon the official's arrival and before speaking with anyone.
  2. Is a petitioning company organization representative present?

    The official will enter your facility and ask to speak to a company representative.  This should be the HR Professional designated by the company to handle the site visit.  The receptionist or security personnel should immediate contact the HR Professional upon the immigration official's arrival.  Do not permit the official to speak to the H-1B employee without first contacting the HR Professional.
  3. Is this a legitimate organization?

    The official wants to ensure that the company is engaged in the type of business indicated on the petition.  Information the official may request can include:
    • a description of the product(s) that the company provides
    • how long the company has been in business
    • what other locations the company maintains
    • the number of company employees
    • the number of H-1B employees at the company
    • whether the company has employees working "off site" (meaning, working at client sites) and if any are H-1B employees.
  4. Does the organization have knowledge of the immigration petition filed on behalf of the employee?

    The official needs to confirm that the company filed an H-1B petition for its foreign national employee, and whether the filing was done under the company's authority.  The official may ask the company representative to confirm:
    • the H-1B employee's hours, salary, work location(s) and job duties; and
    • that the HR Professional is familiar with both the authorized signatory of the company and the H-1B employee.
  5. Does the H-1B employee work for the company?

    The official must confirm that the H-1B employee that the company sponsored is actually working for the company.  For proof, the official is likely to ask for at least one of the following:
    • copy of the employee's recent earnings statement; or
    • the employee's business card, if he or she has one.
  6. Is the employee working at this company location/facility?

    To confirm the H-1B employee works at this site, the official will ask to speak directly with the employee and, if the employee is not available, to see the employee's workspace.  The official likely will ask the employee to show government issued identification (such as a driver license or passport).
  7. Is the employee cooperative and knowledgeable about the job described in the company's petition?

    The official needs to confirm that the employee is performing the job described in the company's H-1B petition.  Therefore, the official likely will ask the employee questions regarding the employee's:
    • job title
    • job duties
    • salary
    • education obtained -- including schools attended and degrees awarded
    The official also will confirm that the company, and not the employee, paid all (legal) fees and costs associated with the company's H-1B petition.
  8. Is the employee being paid the salary the company stated in the petition?

    In addition to confirming the salary with the employee, the official is likely to seek proof from the employee, such as a W-2 or recent payroll earnings statement.
  9. Is the employee performing the job the company described in the petition?

    If the company representative's and the employee's descriptions of the job duties do not match with the H-1B petition that the company filed with U.S. Immigration, the official may inquire further to determine if there is a discrepancy with the petition.  Therefore, both the company HR Professional and the H-1B employee should be familiar with the job duties for the job that was the subject of the company's petition.  

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