How To Manage USCIS Requests for Evidence (RFEs)
When you apply for a Green Card, you must complete the necessary paperwork from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and submit supporting documents to meet the country’s immigration eligibility requirements. However, some Green Card applicants will receive a request for evidence (RFE) from a USCIS officer.
Receiving an RFE is often confusing for immigrants who assume the evidence submitted with their applications was sufficient. Colavecchio and Colavecchio is a law firm serving Nashville, TN, and the surrounding areas. Our skilled and knowledgeable immigration attorneys understand the confusion and frustration of receiving a USCIS request, and we are here to help.
What Is a Request for Evidence or RFE?
Immigration officials from the USCIS will go over your application and supporting evidence with a fine-toothed comb when seeking an immigration benefit like a Green Card or citizenship. Suppose the officer handling your case decides that your application package is missing initial evidence or you don’t have enough evidence for them to make a definitive judgment. In that case, they will send you a request for evidence, which is Form I-797E.
When you receive Form I-797E, you will have between 30 to 90 days to submit an RFE response with the requested information. Presenting all the requested evidence increases the odds of getting application approval.
It’s not unusual to confuse a request for evidence with a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), but they’re not the same. A NOID is a USCIS notice that explains all the reasons why the immigration office intends to deny applicants for the immigration benefit they applied for. Still, it also gives them the chance to defend the application in hopes of approval.
Is a Request for Evidence a Form of Rejection?
People often assume that an RFE is a rejection or denial, but that’s not necessarily true. It only means that you may have overlooked some filing instructions and have missing evidence from your packet.
If you receive an RFE, it’s crucial to follow all instructions and adhere to the provided deadline. Consider the RFE an opportunity to provide the USCIS with more alternative evidence to prove your case and convince them to approve your application.
The RFE will tell you what documents they need to have before completing their assessment. Types of evidence you may need to submit in response to an RFE include:
- Your spouse’s birth certificate
- Copies of pages in your passport
- All pages of a bank statement
If you have questions or concerns about the type of documents you need to turn in, don’t hesitate to seek legal advice from a skilled immigration lawyer from Colavecchio and Colavecchio.
How To Respond To a USCIS Request for Evidence
There are multiple responses you can provide to the government agency:
- Full Response: This option includes all requested evidence from the government agency before the response deadline.
- Partial Response: In some cases, it may not be possible to provide all the necessary information in a response packet, but it’s still best to submit as much evidence as possible to the USCIS and explain the reason for the missing documents. This method is a partial response.
- No Response: If you choose not to respond to an RFE or cannot do so by the deadline, the immigration office will either assume you abandoned the case or proceed with the information they currently have. Both situations usually lead to application denial.
You only have one opportunity to provide the USCIS with the convincing evidence they seek. It would help if you went above and beyond what the agency asks to ensure that you have the best chances of avoiding a negative determination. Turn in all documents at the same time and in a single RFE response packet.
How To Avoid an RFE
The best way to avoid dealing with Form I-797E is to turn in all required evidence with your initial application. Follow your application forms correctly; they will tell you what you must send in for your case. Failing to include everything with the application will likely incur an RFE.
If you have documents in another language, be sure to include their translations. They must be certified English translations, preferably by a legal office, to ensure that the paperwork is accurate and complete.
It can be frustrating to spend time and money submitting the required initial evidence for permanent residency or citizenship, only to have USCIS officers request additional evidence. If you receive an RFE, the law office of Colavecchio and Colavecchio in Nashville, TN, is standing by to guide you through the process. We have years of experience dealing with immigration law, so to speak with an experienced immigration attorney about your situation, call 615-242-3333 today.