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In some cases, USCIS may issue a Request for Evidence (RFE) to aliens who lack necessary documents or evidence regarding their immigration application.

These types of scenarios could be alarming for immigrants. However, you should not worry, because if you have any issues with immigration law, our immigration lawyers in New Jersey are ready to help you with your legal needs.

All About The USCIS Request For Additional Evidence (RFE) In 2024

If USCIS sends a request for evidence, it means that this agency requires more information or additional evidence from the immigrant to proceed with their application.

  • When USCIS issues an RFE, processing of the immigrant’s application will stop. As a result, this can create a significant delay. 
  • Once the USCIS notification is responded to and all the requested documents are provided, then the immigration application process can continue.
  • In case of not responding to an RFE before the deadline established by USCIS, the agency will deny the immigration application. Therefore, it is crucial to respond to the request on time.

Among the most frequent immigration requests in which an RFE can be issued, are related to US family based immigration petitions and requests for a work permit.

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However, what if you are undocumented and would like to get employment authorization? Find out in our blog if it is possible to get a job in the United States while being illegal.

Types Of Tests Requested By The RFE

In general, an RFE typically requests one or more of the following types of evidence:

  • Documents supporting claims of exceptional ability or outstanding research.
  • Employer’s ability to pay.
  • Current or previous periods of stay in the United States.
  • Educational details.
  • Previous work experience.

What Happens After The Request For Evidence?

Once USCIS has issued a request for evidence, the immigrant will be given the opportunity to make corrections to any necessary information. Likewise, the required documentation may be provided to further support her situation.

Are you experiencing a slow response time of an immigration process? A writ of mandamus may be your best option. 

Why Is USCIS Issuing A Request For Evidence (rFE)?

USCIS could issue an RFE for almost any immigration relief. However, among the most common cases for adjustment of status applications in the United States are:

  • Lack of evidence of birth: Some countries may not have the birth records that USCIS requires. Therefore, when appropriate civil documents do not exist, USCIS may issue an RFE.
  • Lack of initial evidence: Immigrants often forget to include crucial proof on their form. Therefore, they provide an empty page, which leads USCIS to reject incomplete applications.
  • Absence of evidence of legal entry: To obtain the Green Card it is crucial to have evidence of legal entry to the US, since not having it would lead to the rejection of your application. Generally, immigrants only need to submit a photocopy of their Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record.
  • Sponsor does not demonstrate sufficient income: In certain petitions, the sponsor may not be able to demonstrate sufficient income and required resources. For example, this can occur on Forms I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence, or Adjustment of Status.
  • Lack of translation: If supporting documents are in a foreign language, they must be translated into English by a qualified translator who is not the beneficiary or petitioner.

As we have seen, any type of error could occur when filing an immigration petition. For this reason, we recommend that you contact us in advance to avoid these errors.

Did you know that apart from adjustment of status, immigrants could apply for permanent residence from abroad? Find out what is consular processing.

Should I Worry If I Receive A Request For Evidence (RFE)?

Immigrants who receive an RFE should not panic, as it does not mean that their petition will be denied. This notification is due to the fact that the official in charge needs some additional documentation to continue with the process.

uscis request for evidence

In some cases, this request also serves to fill in the gaps in the form with information that was not included in the original request. Therefore, it is a simple request for evidence so that USCIS can make a decision.

If you are in the middle of this situation, you should not worry. Our team of professionals at Curbelo Law have helped hundreds of immigrants obtain Green Cards and successfully navigate the process to get US citizenship.

What Are The Chances Of Approval After The RFE?

Depending on the immigration application in which an RFE is received, the chances of approval will vary. 

For example, according to the USCIS report for H-1B visa cases in 2022, the percentage of those approved with an RFE for initial employment was 14%. On the other hand, those approved with an RFE for continuous employment, was 6%.

Because USCIS publishes immigration data and statistics throughout a year, immigrants can view these reports for free. These posts include the chances of approval of an evidence request.

How Should A Request For Evidence (RFE) Be Answered?

Immigrants have a designated period of time to respond to this request. In addition, they must:

  • Organize your response: It is important to keep your responses short and to the point, as this will make it easier for USCIS to read your response. Similarly, it may be a good idea to include a cover letter that addresses specific RFE topics. Likewise, it is advisable to include the remaining factors in the following order:
    • Original RFE (must be at the top)
    • Presentation letter for the request for evidence.
    • All evidence requested by USCIS.
  • Provide a complete response: USCIS typically issues only one request for evidence, so only one response must be provided. If you do not respond appropriately, USCIS may deny the application.
  • Respond before the designated date: Immigrants must respond on time, as failure to meet the deadline will lead to the denial of the application. 

The response package must be sent by mail to the address indicated by the RFE. Therefore, the package must be shipped via the US Postal Service or a courier service (UPS, DHL, or FedEx).

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Do you require the assistance of good legal expert and do not know how much an immigration lawyer costs? In our blog, we elaborate an article where we explain this frequent question.

Steps To Respond To A Request For Evidence (RFE)

Step 1: Make A Copy Of The RFE Notice

When getting an RFE, the first thing to do is make a copy of it for your records. Therefore, it is necessary to send the original RFE notice along with the response in order for USCIS to correctly process the response to the application.

Step 2: Attach The Requested Evidence

Possibly the most crucial step in an RFE response is gathering as much requested evidence as possible. USCIS will tell the immigrants exactly what type of evidence they need to provide. For example:

  • Missing pages in the passport.
  • A bank statement.
  • A birth certificate. 

As a general rule, it is advised that as much evidence as possible be provided. If you do not know what to provide to USCIS, it is best to consult with our attorney.

Step 3: Prepare The Response Package 

The response to the RFE must be prepared in the same order that USCIS listed the evidence. The original copy should be on the first response page, then it might be a good idea to include a cover letter listing all the information.

Step 4: Send The Response Packet To USCIS

The last step is to send the response packet to the mailing address listed in the notification. It is very important to send the response to this address and not to any other, since it could cause a serious error.

Likewise, it is important to send the response package on time, since if it is sent outside the RFE deadline, USCIS could deny the application.

Should I Always Use A Cover Letter When Responding To An RFE?

USCIS does not require that a cover letter be used when responding to an RFE. However, one of these letters can be useful, since it can bring clarity to the answer.

evidence request form

How Many Times Can An RFE Be Answered?

You only get one chance to respond to the USCIS RFE. For this reason, it is important to make sure that you include all the evidence that is necessary. In addition, you cannot respond to the RFE by sending evidence to USCIS in different types of shipments, that is, all the information must be sent in a single package. 

What Form Is The Request For Evidence?

The request for evidence is Form I-797E, Notice of Action, which is issued by USCIS when the immigrant does not provide sufficient evidence to demonstrate eligibility. 

Aliens will receive their Form I-797E at the mailing address where they provided their application.

RFE Response Types

Immigrants can respond to an RFE in 3 ways:

  • Full answer: All evidence that USCIS requested before the expiration date is included. The main goal here is to go beyond the evidence that USCIS requests, so as not to risk further application problems.
  • Partial response: This type of response includes the largest amount of available evidence that USCIS has requested. Generally, it is necessary to explain to USCIS why it is not possible for the immigrant to obtain the missing evidence.
  • No response: Immigrants can simply choose not to respond to an RFE to USCIS. However, this decision would lead to USCIS denying the application for abandonment.

Looking for information on how to appeal an immigration case? We tell you about it in great detail in our respective publication.

What Is The Difference Between RFIE And RFE?

Although both look alike, they have their differences. For example, the main difference is that an RFIE means that it is a request for initial evidence, while an RFE refers to a request for additional evidence.

Another difference is that an RFIE is generally easier to resolve than an RFE, unless the missing document is hard to come by or USCIS objects.

Likewise, an RFIE restores the time line of any additional benefit to the application, while an RFE stops it. 

Did you know that in the US there are a wide variety of immigration relief in which you could qualify? Among them are cancellation of deportation and the asylum process in the USA.

How Long Will My Case Take After Sending A Response To The RFE?

It is not possible to estimate the time required by USCIS to make an RFE decision. This is because there may be a caseload that affects how quickly they process the request. Also, each form is different, so it can have multiple steps.

Lastly, the complexity of the evidence may be affected by the final processing time.

Can USCIS Request Evidence Twice?

Although it is very rare for USCIS to issue two RFEs, it can happen in certain cases. In fact, USCIS policies and regulations recommend issuing only an RFE.

Are you trying to locate a minor detained by immigration? Check our blog “How to find a minor detained by immigration” for more information on this.

Tips To Avoid Receiving A Request For Evidence (RFE)

To avoid receiving a request for evidence from USCIS, it is necessary to prepare a complete and detailed request package. This consists of:

  • Using all possible evidence.
  • Avoid omissions and inconsistencies in the information. If there is an inconsistency, it must be explained at the time of filing the petition with USCIS.
  • Make sure you get a clean, clear image on scanned or photocopied documents.
  • Organize the application package so that it is easy for USCIS to locate and identify.
  • Provide complete and certified translations.

Our attorney Carolina T. Curbelo can help you prepare to file any type of immigration form with USCIS. 

Other Recommendations 

If a Form I-485 is being filed, it must include:

  • A copy of the birth certificate.
  • Two passport-style photos, and 
  • Form I-693, Immigration Medical Examination Report and Immunization Record.

If a Form I-539, application for extension or change of nonimmigrant status is filed, a copy of the I-94 permit must be included. 

For Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization, a copy of the previous employment authorization document (EAD) or a copy of the government-issued identity document must be included.

Is A NOID The Same As An RFE?

A Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) is often worse than an RFE, as it is an imminent decision and leads to the denial of the application. 

The NOID is a formal warning provided by a USCIS agent and is issued when the application has been fully reviewed. Generally, if the immigrant cannot provide convincing evidence, a NOID will be issued.

In these cases it is essential to have the help of our immigration lawyer, since urgent measures must be taken to positively address this notice.

How Can Our New Jersey Immigration Law Firm Help You With A Request For Evidence (RFE)?

Submission of USCIS forms require a complete submission with no blank spaces, as this could lead to an RFE issuance. Each application has eligibility requirements that immigrants must meet.

  • Therefore, it is essential to have the help of an experienced immigration lawyer for this. For example, our lawyer Carolina Curbelo. 
  • At Curbelo Law, our experts will help make USCIS application preparation easy.
  • With our help, immigrants will be able to avoid receiving the RFE, which would lead to delays, rejections and possible denials. 

So, if you are about to submit any type of immigration form to USCIS, do not hesitate to contact us first. To do this, you can send us an E-mail, call us or schedule an appointment with the office, located in Ridgewood, New Jersey.