How to Prepare for an Immigration Audit

Last Updated on January 9, 2024

Immigration audits may be intimidating, but there are steps that employers can take to prepare for an audit in case one does occur, and to make the audit process go more smoothly. Getting ready for an immigration audit requires planning in advance and staying as organized as possible.

Here are some ways you can prepare for an immigration audit:

How to Prepare for an Immigration Audit

There are a number of ways to prepare for an immigration audit. At a minimum, employers should:

Know how to Prepare for a Site Audit

Prepare for an immigration audit - Establish a plan for immigration site visits

It is crucial to know how to prepare for a site audit in case the immigration authorities arrive unannounced. Though site visits can be intimidating, ensuring the legitimacy of the worksite is just one part of preparing for an immigration audit. Keeping all documentation available, accurate and easy to access can help employers prepare for a site visit and assist with demonstrating compliance.

Ensure Form I-9 Compliance

Prepare for an immigration audit - Keep compliant I-9 forms

All employers are required to ensure Form I-9 compliance by maintaining accurate documentation for every employee – foreign nationals and U.S. citizens alike. Discrepancies in the accuracy, collection or storage of these forms could raise red flags for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)  authorities.

Keeping all Form I-9 documentation current and accurate is essential in the event of a Form I-9 audit. Employers should also note that they may be audited for past employees, so all Form I-9 documentation must be retained for at least three years from the date of the employee’s first day of employment or one year from when employment ends, whichever comes sooner.

Maintain Accurate and Compliant Public Access Files

Prepare for an immigration audit - Maintain accurate and compliant public access files

Documentation collection and accuracy can be some of the most challenging tasks of the entire immigration process. During the application process for H-1B visas, for example, finding and keeping the right supporting documentation on hand is critical.

But it’s not just the visa application process that requires meticulous documentation tracking and organization. The process for creating and storing public access files for H-1B visa employees is very specific. It may also be essential should the authorities decide to take a closer look into your employee’s documentation to check for compliance. With that in mind, however, our Changing Landscape of Immigration Management Report found that only 32 percent of employers are managing employee status changes and maintaining public access files compliantly.

Track Global EmployeesPrepare for an immigration audit - track employee status

Any time a foreign national employee crosses international borders, they could face travel restrictions or other documentation issues. This means having up-to-date documentation is essential. And properly tracking global employees could mean the difference between compliance and non-compliance. Failure to comply may result in fines and other penalties.

Understanding answers to questions like when visas need to be renewed or what documentation is needed is important. And knowing employees’ intended business travel before they go gives you the chance to review documentation and make sure everything is order. Taking that time to check for missed renewal deadlines or travel restrictions, for example, could make all the difference in the outcome of an immigration audit.

Preparing for an immigration audit may be daunting and stressful, but we are here to help. Learn how Envoy can help your company proactively maintain compliance and prepare for an immigration audit by contacting us using the link below. 

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Envoy is pleased to provide you with this information, which was prepared in Corporate Immigration Partners, P.C., a U.S. law firm who provides services through the Envoy Platform (the “U.S. Law Firm”).  

Content in this publication is for informational purposes only and not intended as legal advice, nor should it be relied on as such. Envoy is not a law firm, and does not provide legal advice. If you would like guidance on how this information may impact your particular situation and you are a client of the U.S. Law Firm, consult your attorney. If you are not a client of the U.S. Law Firm working with Envoy, consult another qualified professional. This website does not create an attorney-client relationship with the U.S. Law Firm.