USCIS Site Visits
As part of ongoing investigation of potential fraud in the H-1B program, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducts unannounced visits to employers. This usually starts with a USCIS officer contacting ISSS; however, sometimes USCIS directly contacts/visits the employing department or the H-1B employee at their work location, these visits should not be a cause for alarm as they are, generally, routine and selected at random.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regularly conducts on-site inspections of H-1B sponsoring employers as part of its Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program. The objective of these unannounced on-site visits is to detect fraud and abuses of the H-1B visa program.
Immigration regulations require that the H-1B worker continue to work at all times as described, and under the same conditions, as listed in the petition. Therefore, departments should be able to confirm that the employee has always been paid the required prevailing wage, is performing the same work as described in the H-1B petition and is still working full time. Any changes in these employment conditions that have occurred after the filing of the initial H-1B petition require the filing of an H-1B amendment.
ISSS strongly recommends that departments and employees cooperate with the USCIS officials making the on-site visits. We also require that ISSS be notified as early as possible in the event a USCIS official does approach you to conduct an inspection.
Here are some guidelines if you are contacted by a DHS officer:
- As with any government officer or government contractor, ask to see their badge and/or identification. Please take note of their name and ID number, if applicable.
- Notify ISSS (firstname.lastname@example.orgemail@example.com) that you received a visit from USCIS
- Try to have someone with you at the time of the site inspection (Supervisor, Co-worker, PI, etc).
- If you are unable to immediately answer any particular question, explain to the officer that additional time is needed to consult with ISSS.
- Do not assume there is a problem with your case. Most employees are chosen at random.
- While most of the time ISSS will contact you before the visit, it is possible that USCIS will simply come unannounced to your worksite.
- The USCIS Officer will ask you very basic questions. Some typical questions you may be asked are:
- What is your job title?
- What is your salary?
- How many hours do you work?
- What are your job duties?
- Explain your qualifications for the position.
- If the USCIS official asks you a question that you are not certain how to answer, or a question that would require reviewing TU records (i.e., payroll records or job descriptions) let the official know that you do not have that information. If they require the information in order to complete the visit then refer the official to your department administrator.
- Be sure to contact ISSS after the interview; be sure to relay the details of the visit.
- The officer will confirm employee identity and details about your employment listed within the I-129 petition: title, salary, duties, degree requirements, and location.
- The officer may also take pictures of the workspace, worksite office or classroom. The officer is not permitted to take photos of any labs.
Reminder: When Temple University submits an H-1B petition to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, we are attesting to specific statements about the position, title, salary, hours, duties, degree requirements, and location. If any of these aspects of the H-1B employee's work changes, the University may need to file a new petition before the changes are instituted. For this reason, H-1B employees and their departments must notify ISSS in advance about any changes in employment or employment termination.