L-1 Petitioners Beware: USCIS Confirms Plans to Expand FDNS Site Visit Program

"In an April 24, 2014 stakeholder teleconference, FDNS’s Associate Director, Sarah Kendall, confirmed plans to expand the Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program (ASVVP) to include all L-1 employers. ... USCIS has provided little guidance regarding L-1 compliance. Therefore, sending FDNS officers on site visits to investigate employers’ compliance with the L-1 program seems frivolous at best.

With or without further guidance from USCIS, L-1 employers should be prepared for FDNS site visits. Employers should take these visits seriously and contact an immigration attorney as soon as an FDNS site visitor appears. Identify procedures in advance to prepare for an unannounced FDNS worksite visit and notify all personnel of these procedures. Always provide complete and accurate information whether requested to do so onsite or subsequently via email. According to USCIS, the ASVVP is a voluntary program. The employer has a right to terminate a site visit at any time. If the officer has not gathered the required information, the officer will follow up with the employer via telephone or email to obtain additional information to complete the compliance review. An attorney can help prepare a timely and thorough response.

Employers should conduct an internal review of the employment of all L-1 employees to ensure that their job duties, worksites and salaries are readily available. Retain complete copies of all I-129 petitions and paperwork. Ensure that foreign national employees and their managers are aware of the content of the I-129 petition and supporting documentation. While there is currently no requirement to file an amended L-1 petition due to minor changes in employment, employers should be prepared to provide complete and accurate information about L-1 beneficiaries to site inspectors either on site or in response to follow-up inquiries by an inspector." - Maura K. Travers and Angelo A. Paparelli, May 11, 2014.