In 2014 the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) announced that it would extend its Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program (ASVVP) to L-1 Visas as an anti-fraud effort. Site visits are unannounced visits by USCIS Officers/Inspectors to the L-1 work site to see if the facts on the ground match the statements and evidence provided in the L-1 Petition.
Recent AAO Appeals (non-precedent) decisions show 2 cases where L-1 Petitioners/Beneficiaries had the L-1 Status revoked after the site visits:
1) On August 28, 2015 the AAO approved of the USCIS decision to revoke an L-1A status of the Beneficiary of a Petitioner that had claimed it had $1.2 million in gross sales in 2013. In that case, when USCIS Officers arrived at the work site but was unable to located the Petitioner's workers, company signs or business activity to indicate that the Petitioner was conducting operations on the address listed on Form I-129.
The USCIS Officer/Inspector called the Beneficiary and was informed that they had moved addresses without informing USCIS. However, the Officer was unable to verify that work was being done at the new location either. The Director issued a Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOIR) based on the lack of employees present at the work site, as well as the Beneficiary's duties being too broad and vague as described.
The Petitioner's response to the NOIR was not well-received. They failed to provide evidence that it had employees actually working at the location. Moreover, the Petitioner failed to detail how the Beneficiary was acting in a managerial fashion. Their description of the Beneficiary's duties were too broad and generalized. They also failed to properly respond to the USCIS request with specific information such as the percentage of the Beneficiary's time devoted to specific duties.
2) On August 21, 205, the AAO approved the USCIS decision to revoke an L-1A Petition for a retail and wholesale men's clothing company after a site visit. Primarily, after the visit they saw and believed that the Beneficiary was not actually employed in a qualifying managerial or executive capacity.
The Petition's description of the Beneficiary's managerial responsibilities failed to show how his primary responsibilities were managerial. In particular, that 72% of the Beneficiary's time was dealing with store customers and resolving complaints...
The broad statements of work duties of the Petitioner provided in response to the NOIR, and the observations of the Officer/Inspector at the site caused USCIS to revoke the approved petition.
When preparing an L-1 Petition, it is important that the Immigration Attorney truly get to know what the company/client does, and what the exact responsibilities of the Beneficiary are (in detail). This is a time consuming process and requires a lot of research by the Attorney.
I have had to read multiple books to learn and understand what a client company actually does and what the Beneficiary's duties mean (in highly technical industries)! This is important to do to help the attorney properly explain the facts of the case to USCIS and avoid a Request for Evidence (RFE), Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOIR) or Denial decisions.
The most frequent reason for denials of these types of visas are for having a job duty description that is "too broad" or "vague" or being "inconsistent". A diligent attorney should be able to handle this issue properly.
For more information, please contact the JQK Law Firm (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For samples of approval decision, please click on the links: