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Preparing for Immigration Site Visits

The UW International Scholar Operations Team (ISO) recently learned that the Student and Exchange Visitor Program has begun conducting site visits to employers with F-1 STEM Optional Practical Training employees. In light of this new information, the team would like to share a few tips about immigration site visits.

Site visits are a normal and routine part of any employer’s operations; they may be unexpected, but should never be a cause for concern. Several Federal agencies may conduct unannounced visits to employers with foreign national employees. These agencies include:

  • The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate, which conducts site visits related to H-1B petitions
  • The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, which conducts audits related to Labor Condition Applications (including H-1Bs)
  • The Student and Exchange Visitor Program, which conducts site visits related to F-1 Optional Practical Training
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which conducts audits related to the I-9 Verification of Employment Eligibility form

These inspectors may ask about the employee’s job title, responsibilities, start date, hours, supervisor, work site addresses, salary, and degree. They may ask for payroll records, take photos of the work site, and interview the employee. The purpose of the visit is to confirm that the UW’s employment of the foreign national is in compliance with local and federal laws and with information provided to the agency. 

 If you or any of the foreign national workers in your department are visited by immigration agencies, remember the following:

  • Please be cooperative and civil with the inspector.
  • Ask to see their identification or business card and make a copy or record of their identity.
  • Comply with any requests.
  • Promptly advise ISO of the contact at We may be able to assist.

 You can find more information about various site visit programs at: