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Immigration Impact of Unverified Corporate Information

Since 2012, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has verified information presented in immigration submissions against its Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises (“VIBE”) database.[1]  The VIBE database draws its information from the records of Dun & Bradstreet (“D&B”), a private corporate credit monitoring company. In other words, the information presented in an immigration submission is verified by comparing it to the D&B database.

This can be problematic, particularly for new entities or companies that have made recent changes to their address or corporate structure.  No third-party verification system could immediately update with every corporate change that happens each day. As such, it is possible for entirely accurate information to receive a non-confirmation in the VIBE system simply because it is too new.

The consequences of a non-confirmation are far-reaching.  First, mismatches between immigration and petition data may result in a Request for Evidence from the government,[2] requesting further verification of the data USCIS could not verify in VIBE. Such government requests will delay benefit approvals and potentially increase legal costs.  Second, USCIS officers have indicated that a non-confirmation in VIBE may lead to increased skepticism with respect to other claims made in an immigration submission.[3] The result may be further scrutiny, delays, and costs, and potentially even an increased chance of denial. Finally, USCIS recently announced that it would prioritize site inspections for H-1B employers where “USCIS cannot validate the employer’s basic business information through commercially available data...”.[4] In a site inspection, a USCIS officer or contractor visits your workplace and interviews your employees to determine if the claims made in your immigration submission are accurate, and if you are compliant with immigration law. Such inspections can be disruptive to business and have serious liability issues if a well-meaning, but unprepared, employee says something inaccurate or untruthful.

As such, while USCIS gives employers the opportunity to overcome non-verifications, it is better to avoid non-verifications in the first place. The best way to do this is simply to register for a “DUNS” number from D&B.[5] Once you have a DUNS number, you should verify the information in the D&B databases prior to each new immigration submission. In so doing, you will be able to ensure that D&B (and, by extension, VIBE) has accurate information concerning your company, preventing the VIBE-induced negative consequences with USCIS described above. 


[1] https://www.dhs.gov/teleconference-recap-uscis-validation-instrument-bus...

[2] https://www.uscis.gov/working-united-states/information-employers-employ...

[3] http://aila.org/infonet/vsc-stakeholder-meeting-notes-09-16-16?utm_sourc...

[4] https://www.uscis.gov/news/news-releases/putting-american-workers-first-...

[5] You may register for a DUNS number here: https://www.dandb.com/product/companyupdate/companyupdateLogin?execution=e1s1

 

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About this Author

David J. Wilks, Miller Mayer, Immigration Litigation Lawyer, employment-based visas attorney
Associate

David J. Wilks is an Associate in Miller Mayer’s Immigration practice group.

Mr. Wilks’ practice focuses primarily on employment-based immigration. He has represented a wide range of clients, including universities, multinational corporations, health care institutions, small businesses and entrepreneurs in seeking immigrant and nonimmigrant status for individuals in diverse fields and specialties. Mr. Wilks has also provided immigration expertise relating to large corporate acquisitions, as well as assisted clients with I-9 compliance and family...

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