Most of us practicing Immigration law are not getting a very positive VIBE (you would think someone would have told them!) from this new programme launched by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service to verify the bona fides of companies making employment-based visa applications.

The thinking was that the verification process would operate mostly through USCIS reviewing the applicant company’s Dun & Bradstreet records.  However, even after submitting that record and much other data besides, recent experience suggests a high likelihood of receiving nonetheless a lengthy Request For Evidence asking for more documents than Carter has liver pills.  The RFE usually states that USCIS has found “inconsistencies” between the corporate information you provided in your petition and the D&B report it is looking at.  You ponder, how can that be?  After all, you consulted your client’s D&B report in preparing its visa petition, and perhaps even attached that report as an exhibit.  There were no inconsistencies at that stage.  Could USCIS possibly be looking at something different?  Does D&B have another corporate report it creates only for USCIS that is not available to its paying clients?

So you set out on this Sherlock Holmes adventure, only to discover that D&B have never heard of the VIBE programme and, with the best will in the world, are simply at a loss as to how to help you.  Why not ask USCIS to provide you with its VIBE D&B report so that you can compare the two?  It would seem only common sense that before the client is put through all the expense of collecting the additional documentation requested (even though its petition satisfied all the regulatory and legal requirements for the visa), USCIS should share the report upon which its RFE is premised.  But then again, the cynics might ask, is common sense necessarily the touchstone when dealing with Immigration law and regulations?

Good luck.  It is too soon to know how USCIS will respond.  In the meantime, we have little choice but to respond to the RFE and to advise our clients that updating their D&B reports to remove the scope for inconsistencies created by the passage of time is not really an option.  In not very veiled terms, USCIS warns in its RFE letter that while it cannot require our corporate client to update its D&B report, not doing so “will” (not even may) affect any of its future filings.  A lesson there for us all, I think.