News Release from Jewell & Associates, PC – March 3, 2011 When adjudicating employment-based immigration petitions, the USCIS is required to verify certain basic information about the petitioner, to make sure that the company or organization is a bona fide U.S. employer. For these verifications, the USCIS relies on paper documentation submitted with the petitions, and issues Requests for Evidence (RFEs) to employers when the documentation initially submitted doesn’t fully provide the necessary information.
In an effort to provide their adjudicators with additional company information that a petitioner may not have submitted up-front, the USCIS has begun beta-testing their new Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises (VIBE). This tool allows a USCIS adjudicator to access commercially available information about a petitioning company or organization such as type of business, financial and credit standing, number of employees, corporate structure, ownership, date of establishment, management/executive team, current physical address, and other similar information. VIBE receives this commercially available information from the independent information provider Dun & Bradstreet (D&B).
VIBE will be utilized for most employment-based immigrant and non-immigrant petitions. The current exceptions are O-1 and EB-11 Aliens of Extraordinary Ability; National Interest Waivers; EB-5 Immigrant Investors; P-1 athletes, athletic groups, and entertainment groups; and P-2 and P-3 artists and entertainers. Petitions for O and P support personnel are also excepted from VIBE at this time.
The USCIS’s stated goal for VIBE is to reduce the amount of paper documentation submitted by a petitioner and ultimately reduce the number of RFEs based on a need for business information. However, it is expected that, at least initially, the number of RFEs and NOIDs (Notice of Intent to Deny) will rise, based on potential mismatches between VIBE information and information provided by the company. Since commercially available information is not necessarily always the most up-to-date information, employers are encouraged to periodically review and update their D&B records. You can contact D&B at 1-800-234-DUNS or on-line at www.dnb.com to correct inaccuracies.
It is important to note that the USCIS states that they will not automatically issue an RFE or NOID merely because a business is not listed with D&B. Businesses are not required to be listed with D&B to file a USCIS petition. Therefore, especially for smaller or newer employers who may not have a D&B listing, it is still important to provide the USCIS with ample company information up-front in the initial petition, to minimize the chances of a business information-related RFE.
© Jewell & Associates, PC 2011