10 Things to Know Regarding Department of State J-1 Exchange Visitor Site Visits

By Bernard P. Wolfsdorf, Esq.

  • Ensure all reception, security personnel, and HR employees understand what a Department of State site visit is.  It is recommended that one individual is designated as the primary contact to respond to a visit, and one alternative contact.  Reception should indicate that they have no authority to consent to a visit or site inspection and must defer to the organization’s designated contact or Wolfsdorf Rosenthal Immigration Law counsel.
  • Request identification from the officer/investigator (or a business card) and take down all information in the event a follow-up is necessary (e.g. date, location, agent’s name, badge number, agency, telephone, email, reason for visit, records requested, individual requesting to interview, etc.).
  • Make sure you can identify and confirm whether it is a Department of State (DOS) or an FDNS (Fraud Detection and National Security) visit (rather than Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), DOL Wage & Hour, etc.).  It should be noted that an FDNS site visit pertains to investigations regarding H-1B and L-1 petitions, distinguishable from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) visits, which may involve investigating I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification.
  • Trainee must be prepared to discuss how the training helps learn about American culture.
  • Trainee must explain why they are participating in the program (e.g. to gain international perspectives, how it will help their career, how they will share their experience with their home community when they return, etc.).
  • The company and the trainee must explain how these new skills listed in the application will be learned.
  • Request to contact your Wolfsdorf counsel, if possible.  Based upon anecdotal reports, may not reschedule a site visit to allow counsel.  In the alternative, request that your counsel be teleconferenced in to the interview/questioning.  Please note that complete refusal may result in obstruction of justice.
  • If you are unsure of an answer to a question, request to respond at a later date so you can verify the answer rather than invent a response.  If there is a record request, ask the officer/investigator to specify which document, rather than hand over a file.  If there is a document copy request, inform the officer that this will be forwarded to them at a later date.
  • Employers should insist that at least one individual (preferably the designated contact) accompany the investigator at all time.  The officer should not be permitted to wander the company premises.  Employees should not be interviewed alone, and should be allowed, at minimum, HR representation.  Be sure to meet in a conference room, not an open floor plan. Take detailed notes during any interview.
  • To prepare for site visits, conduct your own internal audit of J-1, H-1B and L-1 employees to ensure that their positions are consistent with the application that were filed.

For more information about any of the above issues, or any immigration-related questions or concerns, please contact our team of professionals or your assigned Wolfsdorf Rosenthal Law at (800) VISA-LAW or via email at visalaw@wolfsdorf.com.

The Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP is one of the largest immigration global mobility firms in the United States. With offices on both the east and west coasts, the firm serves an extensive and diverse client base, ranging from Fortune 500 corporations to entertainers and leading academic institutions. Our large and dedicated staff of 20 lawyers and over 50 employees ensures prompt and expert attention to your immigration law matters.

By | 2014-02-16T17:54:51-08:00 February 16th, 2014|Uncategorized|Comments Off on 10 Things to Know Regarding Department of State J-1 Exchange Visitor Site Visits

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