At a recent liaison meeting with representatives from USCIS, officials announced that in January 2014 the USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) Directorate will expand its Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program (ASVVP) to include L-1 Visas. Under the ASVVP, FDNS, through its officers or contractors, conducts unannounced pre- and post-adjudication site inspections at company locations listed in visa petitions. ASVVP site inspectors typically verify the information submitted with the petition and verify the existence of a petitioning entity. They also may take digital photographs of the premises, ask to review documents or speak with organizational representatives to confirm the beneficiary’s work location, employment workspace, hours, salary and duties. In some cases, a site inspection could trigger the USCIS to issue a Notice of Intent to Revoke the visa petition.
These site visits initially targeted R-1 religious workers and in recent years were expanded to target H-1B workers. This new push to target L-1 visa petitioners for site visits likely came about due to findings included in the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General report, Implementation of L-1 Visa Regulations, published in August 2013. The report focused on perceived weaknesses or deficiencies in the adjudication of “new office” (or start-up) L-1 petitions and those processed for Canadian citizens at US/Canada ports of entry or pre-flight clearance locations in Canadian airports. While the parameters of L-1 site visits have not been released to the public, we expect the FDNS to initially focus on “new office” petitions and L-1s processed on the US/Canada border.