U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has begun "beta-testing" the Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises (VIBE) System, which is run by Dun & Bradstreet. VIBE allows USCIS to receive commercially available information about companies or organizations filing certain employment-based petitions. If the U.S. business entity's information on the petition is inconsistent with the information in VIBE, USCIS issues a request for evidence (RFE).
VIBE allows USCIS to electronically receive commercially available information about a petitioning company or organization, including:
- Business activities, such as type of business (North American Industry Classification System code), trade payment information and status (active or inactive)
- Financial standing, including sales volume and credit standing
- Number of employees, including on site and globally
- Relationships with other entities, including foreign affiliates
- Status; for example, whether it is a single entity, branch, subsidiary, or headquarters
- Ownership and legal status, such as LLC, partnership, or corporation
- Company executives
- Date of establishment as a business entity
- Current physical address
A USCIS officer reviews all information received through VIBE along with the evidence submitted by the petitioner. Adjudicators use information from VIBE to verify the petitioner's qualifications. For example, if a petitioner seeks L-1 status for a beneficiary, VIBE will help adjudicators confirm that the petitioner has a foreign affiliate, a requirement for granting L-1 status. In cases where petitioners must establish ability to pay, information from VIBE will assist in confirming the petitioner's financial viability.
USCIS said it will not deny a petition based upon information from VIBE without first giving a petitioner "the opportunity to respond to USCIS's concerns." USCIS will issue an RFE or a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) "if it is necessary to resolve relevant inconsistencies or other issues that emerge upon review of information supplied by VIBE that are material to the benefit requested." The Immigration Services Officer (ISO) will make a final decision "based on the totality of the circumstances," the agency said.
Seyfarth Shaw recommends that clients check their profile and make sure that the major areas (company address for example) are correct to avoid RFEs in the future.
USCIS said it encourages petitioners to bring to the agency's attention any questions related to RFEs or NOIDs involving information USCIS received through VIBE, as well as suggestions for improving the program, by e-mailing VIBE-Feedback@dhs.gov.
For more on VIBE, click here.