What is a RFE?
A Request for Evidence (“RFE”) is a request issued by the USCIS to petitioners for green card, citizenship, and visa applications. A RFE is made when an application/petition is lacking required documentation/evidence or the adjudicating officer needs more documentation (additional evidence) to determine an applicant's eligibility for the benefit sought. The request will indicate what evidence or information is needed. The notice will explain where to send the evidence and will give the deadline for response. The application or petition will be held in suspense during that time.
Commonly Seen Reasons for H1B RFE:
- VIBE discrepancy
- Specialty Occupation issue
- Questionable employer-employee relationship
- Position not typically seen in similar business setups
- Beneficiary’s qualifications
In this article, we cover the topic of VIBE RFE. A VIBE RFE is issued when the USCIS officer cannot verify the company information provided on the H1B petition. Also, if the information provided on the I-129 petition does not match the information provided in the VIBE system, the USCIS officer will issue an RFE asking the employer to submit additional documents.
What is VIBE?
VIBE stands for Validation Instrument for Business Enterprise. Implemented in 2011, VIBE was intended to reduce fraud by enabling USCIS adjudicators to rapidly verify business and financial information submitted by petitioning employers. Through VIBE, USCIS adjudicators access commercially available business information compiled by Dun and Bradstreet (D&B), which is derived from public records, commercial databases, and public domain information resources (e.g., corporate annual reports, shareholder announcements, etc.). D&B’s information reports cover more than 150 million companies worldwide. Because the information collected in D&B reports typically is information made publicly available, D&B reports are more accurate with larger-scale enterprises than with privately held companies whose mere public formation documents provide no information regarding ownership and financial performance.
This information contained in VIBE may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Type of business, as classified under the North American Industry Classification System and related information regarding business activities
- Trade payment information and status (active or inactive)
- Financial standing, including sales volume and credit standing
- Number of employees, worldwide and at specific business locations
- Relationships with other business entities, including “DBAs,” foreign affiliates, etc.
- Corporate structure, such as whether the business is operating as a single entity, branch, subsidiary, or headquarters entity
- Ownership and legal status, such as LLC, partnership or corporation
- Company executives
- Date of establishment as a business entity
- Current physical address
Practical implications of VIBE
A RFE from USCIS is likely to be triggered if your company’s D&B report has limited publicly available information. In practical terms, VIBE RFE impacts newer or smaller companies more frequently.
According to USCIS website, “VIBE is an additional tool for USCIS officers to use in the overall adjudicative process. USCIS will not deny a petition or an application solely based upon information from VIBE. USCIS will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) or a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) if derogatory or contradictory information is found in VIBE that is material to the benefit requested and is not outweighed by evidence submitted with the petition or application. USCIS will make a final decision based on the totality of the circumstances.”
A list of items that may be requested by a VIBE triggered RFE include the following:
- Current rental agreement, lease, or mortgage that is signed and dated by all parties
- Valid city, county, state or federal government business licenses
- Articles of incorporation or other corporate documentation
- Letter from IRS
- State quarterly wage reports
- Federal tax statements
- Invoice or payment receipts
USCIS suggests a way for the employers to review their D&B reports to confirm that the reports include the most accurate and updated company information available. This is an optional step. See Q&A #12:
Additionally, if D&B does not yet have any information about a company, the employer has the option to request a DUNS Number. Please refer to USCIS Q&A #14 in the same link above. USCIS advises that this is an optional step. A DUNS number is not required for filing.