H2A Visa – Questions & Answers in Light of USCIS’s Implementation of VIBE

The recent increases in Requests for Evidence resulting from the Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises system, prompted USCIS to issue the following notice.

Due to the time-sensitive nature of agricultural work, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) expedites all H-2A “temporary or seasonal agricultural worker” petitions. However, some recent H-2A petitions have experienced unexpected delays due to Requests for Evidence (RFEs) resulting from the use of the Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises (VIBE). As delays in adjudication are especially burdensome for H-2A petitioners, we are providing an H-2A Optional Checklist as well as a Questions & Answers document to help petitioners ensure that their petitions are expeditiously processed. Additionally, USCIS will hold a public engagement in the near future to provide USCIS and H-2A employers, associations and agents the opportunity to discuss best filing practices. Until such time, USCIS is temporarily suspending the use of VIBE in the H-2A Program. Use of VIBE will resume after 45 days of the date of this USCIS Update on July 18, 2011.

USCIS is taking measures to carefully review all pending H-2A petitions filed prior to this clarification notice.

If you currently have an H-2A petition pending with USCIS that has been delayed due to a recent VIBE-related Request for Evidence or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), we will expedite the review of your petition. To initiate this process, you may clarify your company’s basic business information by sending an email directly to USCIS at H2Athirdparty@dhs.gov. Your email must include:
* “VIBE H-2A RFE/NOID: [Insert Receipt No.]” in the subject line
* The receipt number of your pending H-2A petition (Form I-129)
* Your company’s full, legal business name (Note: If your business is a sole proprietorship, please state that and provide the individual owner’s full name if a business name does not exist);
• Any trade-style name (such as a “doing business as” (DBA) used by your company
* Your company’s registered business address; and
* Any additional mailing addresses used by your company
Do not include any other attachments or documentation in your email.

Employers with multiple H-2A cases pending are advised to submit a separate email for each petition with the above information to USCIS.