Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA)

On March 29, 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) of 1996. The Act requires federal agencies to:

  • Perform a regulatory flexibility analysis when a final rule will have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities;
  • Provide guidance, whenever appropriate, to help small businesses comply with the agency’s statutes and regulations; and
  • Establish a program to respond to small business inquiries about such issues.

Notification to Small Businesses of Their Rights to Comment

SBREFA helps ensure that agencies provide a way for small businesses to comment on regulatory enforcement and compliance activity those businesses receive, or are subject to, such as:

  • An audit;
  • An on-site inspection;
  • A compliance assistance effort;
  • Other enforcement related communications; or
  • Contact by agency personnel.

To implement this requirement of the Act, the Small Business Administration (SBA) National Ombudsman developed a general notification statement on the rights of small businesses and asked other agencies to adopt similar language in their respective enforcement or compliance activities.

The SBA National Ombudsman and members of Congress have interpreted SBREFA as meaning that agencies must give notice to small businesses at the time the regulatory enforcement and compliance activity takes place. While this may not be practical in all cases, we will generally include notification on this web page and in the Federal Register.

Non-Retaliation

We are committed to maintaining an environment in which small businesses and others that we regulate are free to raise questions or concerns, or complain about our actions or policies. No USCIS employee may retaliate in any way against a small entity for raising questions, concerns, or complaints about our actions or policies. Our employees must act professionally and respond appropriately to small entity concerns.

Small entities may comment about our enforcement and compliance process to the National Ombudsman’s office through:

Website: www.sba.gov/ombudsman
E-mail: Ombudsman@sba.gov
Telephone: 202-205-2417
Fax: 202-481-5719
Mail: Small Business Administration
Office of the National Ombudsman
409 Third Street, SW, Washington, DC 20416

Your Rights to Enforcement Fairness

We aim to ensure a fair regulatory enforcement environment. If you feel we have treated you unfairly or unprofessionally, you may contact the Small Business Administration's National Ombudsman at 1-888-REGFAIR or go to the SBA National Ombudsman website to file a confidential comment on any of our enforcement actions.

We strictly forbid our employees from engaging in retaliatory actions. Therefore, you should feel confident that we will not penalize you for expressing your concerns.

 Regulations

We publish our regulations in the Federal Register and on our USCIS Federal Register Announcements web page.

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