Foreigners who apply for visas or residency status in the United States shouldn’t usually expect a visit from immigration agents, investigators, or case adjudicators. This will never happen if the application or petition is filed outside the US because applicants are instructed to visit their embassy or consulate offices. In the United States, however, there are a few situations in which home visits could be expected, and they’re explained below.
Even though getting married to an American citizen or a green card holder is a common means to gain residency, a visit to the marital home by employees from US Citizenship and Immigration Services isn’t that typical. The couple is supposed to live under the same roof unless there are work circumstances that keep them apart, and address verification can be accomplished via the US Post Office. USCIS doesn’t have sufficient manpower or resources to visit the homes of all marriage-based petitions, but they may do so after interviews.
All immigration petitions based on marriage will require at least one interview before adjustment of status or a green card can be granted. Couples are called for second interviews if there were doubts about the legitimacy of the marriage the first time around, which may also trigger a home visit from an investigator assigned to the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) section of USCIS. A visit before the interview would be very unlikely. It usually follows a second visit, and the couple may or may not be notified.
H-1B Work-from-Home Visits
The coronavirus pandemic forced many skilled foreign employees to work from home, and this shifted the scope of the Administrative Site Visit and Verification Program managed by USCIS. Surprise workplace visits are common under this program. During the pandemic, most of these visits were conducted with prior notice, typically via email, because they involved residential addresses instead of commercial establishments. In some cases, the visits were conducted by means of video conference because that was a smart way to reach H-1B visa employees at work while preventing contagion.
Visits from ICE or HSI
Whenever there’s a strong reason to believe fraud or willful violations of immigration laws are taking place, agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement or Homeland Security may conduct unannounced residential visits. When this happens, the agents will show up very early in the morning, typically before 6:00 a.m., because they know many people will be home and getting ready for work.
Undocumented immigrants don’t have to open their doors to immigration agents unless a court has issued a warrant to search or arrest. If you have reasons to believe ICE or HSI agents will come to your home, make sure to consult with immigration lawyers in San Diego so you know your rights. At the same time, it would be wise to call the law firm when agents knock on the door, either with or without a warrant.
Hiring a highly qualified immigration attorney is one of the best ways to make the immigration process less complicated and stressful. If they need reliable, high-quality legal advice about issues such as work visas and family-based immigration, San Diego residents can trust the immigration law experts at KS Visa Law. To schedule an appointment, call us today at 858-874-0711.