Learning Center
Plans & pricing Sign in
Sign Out

Flash 2-6-10 Increased Scrutiny for Travelers


									                                            | CLIENT ALERT
Heightened Scrutiny For Nonimmigrant
Employment-Based Travelers Entering USA
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) last week provided AILA with information regarding
enforcement issues at Newark Airport. The CBP have been assisting with an investigation of
certain H-1B non-immigrants and particular employers who hire H-1B workers. This created events
where H-1B visa holders were detained as a result of employers being under investigation by
Immigration and Customs Enforcement), ICE.

This incident has been a strong reminder that non-immigrants in work-related status such as H-1B,
L-1, E and O-1 classification should be prepared for the potential of additional scrutiny when
entering the United States after travel abroad. CBP will question arriving non-immigrants about
their employer, and may request documentation to prove that the nonimmigrant is still employed
according to the petition that was filed on their behalf.

The above-mentioned incident where CBP engaged in more extensive questioning has caused
many H-1B visa holders and their employers to have concern about documentation that their
employees will need to re-enter the USA following foreign travel.

CBP does have the authority to inquire about these issues, however, recent events indicate that
their line of questioning may become more extensive and may result in more situations where
arriving employees will be put in secondary inspection. Secondary Inspection is where CBP officers
wish to question the alien concerning their intent in the USA and conduct a more thorough interview
and review any additional documentation that the individual may have brought with them, as well as
information on electronic devices (cellphones and laptops). They may even conduct Internet
searches on the individual and the employer. Therefore, employees entering the USA in H-1B
classification or other employment based visas should be prepared for the possibility of additional
scrutiny, and for the possibility of secondary inspection, regardless of where and when they enter -
be it an airport or a land border.

We highly recommend that entering non-immigrants bring the following additional information with
them in the event they are asked to produce evidence of their employment:

        1) Copies of 2 recent paycheck vouchers
        2) A copy of the USCIS petition that their status is based upon
        3) Current/Original I-797 approval notice
        4) A current letter of employment verification from a company officer or HR professional
        confirming job title and dates of employment on business letterhead - is an excellent idea,
        as well.

We have heard recent reports that employers may also be contacted by CBP to confirm information
related to the employment relationship and job duties.
We will provide updates to you on this issue and intend to watch it very closely. If you or your
employees have encountered any additional scrutiny and would like to relay your experiences,
please | 562.612.3996.

To top