Alert on H-1B and L-1 Visa Holders' Admissions at the Newark, New Jersey Airport

Background

During the last few months, a number of incidents were reported where certain holders of valid H-1B visas seeking admission at the Newark, New Jersey airport were issued expedited removal orders by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Such visa holders were not admitted to the United States, their visas were cancelled and they were sent back to their countries. The American Immigration Lawyers’ Association (AILA) posted an alert that sheds light on the new enforcement policies at the Newark, New Jersey airport.

Alert on H-1B and L-1 Visa Holders’ Admissions at the Newark, New Jersey Airport

AILA reported about the new policy on admissions at the Newark, New Jersey Airport. The policy provides for conducting investigative checks for all returning H-1B, L-1, and other employment-based visa holders. Based upon the initial check, if the person’s admissibility is questionable, then he / she will be sent to secondary inspection for further interview. If U.S. Customs and Border Protection discovers discrepancies in previously filed petitions, then the employment based visa holder may be asked to withdraw his/her application for admission into the United States or be subject to expedited removal (i.e. sent back to his/her home country with a temporary bar to return).

New Fraud Related Language Added to I-797 Approval Notices

The Department of Homeland Security has added a new fraud related language to the approval notices (i.e. notices, that the applicants receive upon the approval of their employment based petitions), which now read as follows:

NOTICE: Although this application/petition has been approved, DHS reserves the right to verify the information submitted in this application, petition, and/or supporting documentation to ensure conformity with applicable laws, rules, regulations, and other authorities. Methods used for verifying information may include, but are not limited to, the review of public information and records, contact by correspondence, the Internet, or telephone, and site inspections of businesses and residences. Information obtained during the course of verification will be used to determine whether revocation, rescission, and/or removal proceedings are appropriate. Applicants, petitioners, and representatives of record will be provided an opportunity to address derogatory information before any formal proceeding is initiated.

Therefore, employers should be aware that the government may review information in any public venues such as websites and other media for consistency with the filed petition. Thus, keeping such public information accurate and current is essential.

Prepare Well and Consult Your Attorney Before Flying

Although the recent custom control measures were implemented at the Newark, New Jersey airport, it should be noted that such policies may be expanded into other airports at any time. Therefore, we advise our employment based visa clients to contact our office before making any flight arrangements.

Clients should thoroughly prepare for their trip to the United States by reviewing all documents relating to their petition and carrying with them the evidence that support their petition. Finally, the H-1B or L-1 employers are advised that the government may review public information and make telephone inquiries to confirm information provided in the employment based petition and any supporting documentation.