Posts Tagged ‘Employment Based Petitions’

P-1’s and Pennants

Tuesday, October 25th, 2016 by Abtin Bahador

As Major League Baseball’s (“MLB”) World Series gets under way, let us take a moment to remember a simpler time before the season started, when the hopes of all 30 MLB teams and fans were at their highest. While fans in the U.S. were dreaming of the season ahead, many foreign-born players were getting ready for the season by working out to lose off-season weight, packing their bags, and standing in lines at consulates around the world to apply for visas.

As the American pastime increasingly becomes the Central American pastime, more and more of our favorite major league players are born outside the U.S. The Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs both field several foreign-born players from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela and even Brazil.

All foreign workers, including baseball players, require approvals from the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State before they can play ball in the U.S.

Many foreign-born players come to the U.S. and apply their skills in P-1 status. The P-1A classification is designed for Internationally Recognized Athletes to come to the United States temporarily to perform as an athlete, individually or as part of a team, at an internationally recognized level of performance.

As with most employment-based classifications, the P-1 is employer specific. The individual MLB teams apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) during the offseason. The teams need to time the filing of the application to ensure it is approved with enough time to allow for the player to attend a visa interview at a U.S. Consulate or Embassy in their home country before the season starts.

While the actual visa interview itself is typically short, the administrative processing surrounding the issuance of the physical visa can delay things significantly, especially if there are criminal or medical issues that require further information. This can mean weeks of waiting for players to join their teammates.

While you may not own a baseball team, your business can acquire its own foreign-born “heavy-hitter” by applying for one of several non-immigrant employment visa categories. The process to sponsor a foreign employee is similar to the P-1 process described above. Select the applicable category, apply to USCIS for approval, and depending on the employee’s country of origin apply to the Department of State for a Visa.

For further information regarding non-immigrant employment options, please visit,

Tags: , , , , , ,
Posted in Abtin Bahador |

USCIS Issues FAQ on “VIBE” Business Validation Tool for Certain Employment Based Petitions

Saturday, January 28th, 2012 by W. Scott Railton

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued a FAQ this week regarding its much maligned “VIBE” system. VIBE stands for “Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises. VIBE is a commercially available database system that the agency has begun using to validate facts presented on various petitions before the agency for U.S. immigration benefits.  Dunn and Bradstreet gathers and provides the business information which makes up the VIBE system.

USCIS uses the system to check up on the facts for immigrant and nonimmigrant petitions for business.  VIBE is supposed to verify things like when a business was started, current number of employees, and financial ability.

In practice, VIBE adds yet another layer of red tape to cut through in the pursuit of immigration benefits for key employees. In my experience, VIBE is often inaccurate.  The facts concerning a business change–they change locations, they have good years and bad years, and they hire and fire employees.  When a VIBE search comes back with different or no information on the business, the agency immediately issues a Request For Evidence (RFE) or Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), seeking clarification. And creating delays.  In the world of human resources, a two week to two month delay in a hiring can have damaging consequences on a business.

Further, in responding, Petitioners are placed with the burden of making their case, by perhaps proving their existence, financial ability, or number of employees.  With limited guidance on how to satisfy the agency on these and similar points, Petitioners are obliged to respond in full, lest they risk denial.  Producing tax returns, wage reports, and property deeds can be burdensome, particularly in cases where businesses have multiple locations.

USCIS is obviously attached its VIBE system, and all of DHS is particularly focused these days on ferreting out fraud. Getting the story right is a necessary task for the administrative agency, but the agency also needs to do its research and be judicious in further burdening businesses. Issuance of RFEs and NOIDs should be sparing.  With the exorbitant filing fees paid today, the agency can reasonably be expected to seek validation through other means as well, before further burdening petitioners.

One final note.  The FAQ includes all sorts of information on how to update Dunn & Bradstreet with a business’s information. USCIS expressly says that updating with Dunn & Bradstreet is not required, and of course it couldn’t be, without revising the regulations on immigration petitions. But it sounds like USCIS would like to see businesses working with Dunn & Bradstreet. For businesses that are moving a fair number of employees into the U.S., this may make sense, rather than repeatedly respond to RFEs and NOIDS.

Tags: , , , ,
Posted in General |