Tips for Avoiding an H-1B RFE Due to Google & VIBE
What is VIBE?
VIBE stands for Validation Instrument for Business Enterprise. VIBE is a web-based research tool for USCIS Information Service Officers to "uniformly validate the current level of business operations of the company or organization seeking to employ a foreign worker by using commercially available information from an independent information provider." Deeply coded language suggesting that USCIS is double checking your petition to see if anyone fudged the numbers a little. USCIS contracted with Dun & Bradstreet for their "commercially available information" -- i.e., not just publicly available information. D&B is a data aggregator with access to vast amounts of information.
Experience teaches us that USCIS ISOs may go beyond the D&B background check, and will Google public information as well to verify an employer's "identity" and "viability". Thus, it is increasingly important to ensure that employers are represented properly in the H-1B and in their online & electronic presence.
What Information Does USCIS Receive from Dun & Bradstreet?
D&B verification is "limited" to business essentials. This includes the basic corporate information and financial information, including a "Martindale" style financial risk rating. The substance of a D&B report might conflict with your I-129 in many ways. D&B reports include many of the same "information blocks" we are used to seeing on an I-129, including: tax ID number, current sales & net worth, D&B financial score, late payment information, number of employees, date incorporated, business or industry type, office addresses, property ownership, phone numbers, contact persons, company affiliations, even the NAICs number.
What is USCIS "Verifying" with D&B?
Number of employees;
Relationships with any other entities, including foreign affiliates;
Date of establishment; and
What an Attorney or Employer Can (and should!) Do to Avoid an H-1B RFE
Register with Dun & Bradstreet for a "DUNS" number. Keep your D&B information updated. Google the Employer to see if misinformation exists. Order a D&B report yourself -- approximately $120 per report.
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