H1B Visa Attorney – USCIS to Begin Verifying Petitioner Data through External Business Information Service (VIBE), more RFE’s?

A few days ago we received a Request for Evidence (RFE) for one of our H1B transfer cases as well for a new H3 visa Petition. The Request was stating that the employer can not be verified in the Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises (VIBE) Program, and the employer must submit more documents in order to be verified. Suggested documents are federal Tax returns, IRS registration documents, and more. So what is happening here?
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is beta-testing the use of a commercial business information service to independently verify petitioner information. The Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises (VIBE) Program will be used by USCIS Officers to access electronic records on entities filing Forms I-129, I-140 and I-360, nonimmigrant and immigrant petitions for foreign workers.

The electronic records review may include the petitioner’s business activities, North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code, income and credit rating, ownership, affiliated entities, locations, number of employees, etc. If electronic information negatively affects eligibility or is inconsistent with what has been submitted by the petitioner, a Request for Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) may be issued.

For example, if a petitioner files an I-129 claiming to be a nonprofit research organization exempt from the H-1B cap and the $1,500 ACWIA fee, and the electronic record shows that its primary business is Fashion Design, an RFE may be sent to confirm its eligibility or to submit the fee. In the I-140 context, VIBE may be used to confirm the petitioner’s ability to pay the proffered wage.

USCIS expects that the VIBE Program will result in more consistent adjudications and will eventually reduce the amount of paper documentation required of some petitioners as well as the frequency of RFEs issued to qualified petitioners. For now all employers should expect more Request for Evidence in the months to come, we suggest prepare new H1B cases early and carefully to minimize delays.