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Have you recently received an RFE from the USCIS?
A Request for Evidence is a request issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services to applicants looking to have an immigration petition approved.
When you apply for a visa, a green card, US citizenship, or any other immigration benefit you must submit a complete application accompanied by all the necessary paperwork. this includes supporting documents. If USCIS considers they don’t have enough to make a determination an applicant will receive a request for evidence (RFE) from a USCIS officer.
An RFE is not the same as a rejection. An RFE is made for immigration officials to get more evidence in order to make a decision on an application. Timeliness is very important in responding to an RFE. It must be responded to within a given time period, usually more than 86 days, but sometimes as little as 30 days.
Recently, there has been an increase in the number of RFEs being issued by USCIS, these RFEs are purportedly issued to confirm or deny the validity of the information contained in the petition.
If you received an RFE, you must answer USCIS as soon as possible. Any questions regarding this can be directed to Giselle Ayala, immigration lawyer, by filling out the form on this page or calling +1(347) 329 3952
What To Do When Receiving an RFE from USCIS?
There are three options when responding to an RFE.
1. The applicant can provide USCIS with all requested evidence all at once
2. The applicant can “partially respond” and send some of the requested evidence
3. The applicant can cancel their application
In some cases, USCIS will provide specific instructions on how to respond and will point out what evidence they’re looking for with an RFE. An RFE should be seen as an opportunity to improve upon an application to provide the most accurate and complete information, increasing the likelihood of getting the immigration application approved.
Components of an RFE
Here is a breakdown of what an RFE may contain:
USCIS Scanning Code
On top of the letter, you’ll find a scanning code. This code is used by USCIS to track your RFE letter and file. USCIS will also scan the letter when you return the answer to the RFE together with their original letter.
A Request for Evidence starts with a paragraph about the original application or petition. Usually, this paragraph outlines your application, the form you submitted, the individuals involved, and the requested benefit. Use this information to verify that USCIS is considering the proper benefit or form. This paragraph usually also states that the USCIS lacks evidence to further process your application.
An RFE refers to the relevant law regarding your application or petition, such as the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) and the Code of Federal Regulations. The section of the law informs you of the legal requirements that must be met.
This part will contain all the documents that you have already submitted along with your application. Make sure you go through this carefully to check whether all submitted documents are listed here. Also note down anything that you feel is missing and might be helpful for the application process, so that you can send it in your response package to a USCIS Request for Evidence.
This portion of the RFE letter consists of all additional documents that USCIS needs to make a decision about your case. It may also contain the eligibility requirements which have not been met by the documents you have already submitted. This is often a non-exhaustive list with boilerplate language. It is important that you clearly explain how the documents you submit meet the legal requirements.
Ideal Response to a USIS Request for Evidence
Once you have noted down the evidence required and collected it, start formulating your response to the RFE within the deadline given. The first step is to make a copy of the RFE for your own reference, as you would be required to submit the original along with your response. Here is a list of all items that your response package needs to contain:
The first document should be the original RFE notice that you had received from the USCIS;
1. A cover letter or index that lists all evidence you are submitting. Although this is not mandatory, the cover letter is very useful for showing the USCIS officer that you have submitted all the requested information. In the cover letter attorneys usually address how all the evidence submitted meets the burden of proof and that legal requirements are met;
2. Copies of all the documents and evidence to support your response. You should never send originals unless explicitly requested to do so.
3. Make sure that you provide all the requested evidence in a single response package. Do not make the mistake of submitting multiple responses as you gather evidence.
In case you are unable to collect some parts of the requested evidence within the timeframe provided, make sure to add an explanation as to why you do not have access to the missing documentation and submit alternative evidence if possible.
USCIS gives you only one opportunity to submit additional information. Once USCIS receives your response, they adjudicate with the information they have. There is no second or third chance to add documentation or evidence to your case. Therefore, your answer must be detailed and complete. Sometimes the proper answer can be complex, and the deadline may be just around the corner, so consider getting help from an immigration attorney if you are unsure what type of evidence you need to submit to satisfy the USCIS inquiry in your response.