Navigating Immigration: Understanding Request for Evidence (RFE)

Understanding Request for Evidence (RFE) in Immigration

Navigating USCIS Evidence Requests

  • Understanding Evidence Requests: Learn the steps involved when USCIS seeks additional documentation.
  • Preventative Measures: Strategies to reduce the likelihood of receiving an RFE.
  • Recognizing an RFE: Identify the structure and contents of a typical evidence request.
  • Response Strategies: Best practices for compiling a thorough and timely reaction upon receipt of an RFE.
  • Further Reading: Directives for expanding your knowledge on immigration processes related to evidence requests.

Overview of the USCIS Request for Evidence Process

When you receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, it signifies a need for additional information on your application. This request does not imply a likely denial but provides an opportunity to submit further proof for your marriage-based green card application.
In responding to an RFE:

  • Compile Required Documentation: Thoroughly review the RFE and gather all requested documents.
  • Submission Deadline: Adhere strictly to the deadline stipulated in the notice to avoid your application being adjudicated with incomplete information.
  • Combined Submission: If multiple pieces of evidence are requested, ensure to consolidate and send them in one package.
  • Comprehensive Review: Use the RFE as a chance to double-check your application and ensure you’ve provided strong evidence of your marriage’s validity and eligibility for the green card.

Fail to meet the deadline, and USCIS may decide on your application with whatever information is currently available, often leading to a denial.

Should you be uncertain about handling an RFE, professional assistance is available, which can guide you through the process and aid in formulating a thorough response to the request for evidence.

Strategies to Preclude an RFE

Ensuring Complete and Accurate Initial Evidence

Make sure that all necessary documents, forms, and evidence that demonstrate your eligibility for a marriage-based green card are included with your application. Missing any of these required initial items is a primary reason for receiving an RFE.

  • Double-check the document checklist provided by USCIS for your specific application.
  • Include all pertinent forms and evidence in the initial submission.

Sufficient Financial Resources by the Sponsoring Spouse

USCIS requires the petitioner, who could be a U.S. citizen or green card holder, to establish they have the financial means to support their family at 125% above the federal poverty threshold.

  • Provide proof of income such as employment verification, pay stubs, or tax returns.
  • Consider adding a co-sponsor who can demonstrate the financial capability if necessary.

Documentation of Lawful Entry into the U.S.

The spouse seeking the green card must provide evidence of a lawful entry into the United States if they are residing there.

  • Supply a copy of your passport with the entry stamp or I-94 travel record.
  • For entries after April 2013, obtain your I-94 information from the CBP online system.
  • If a paper I-94 is misplaced, request a replacement using Form I-102.

Translations for Non-English Documents

Any document that isn’t in English must be accompanied by a certified translation.

  • Use a certified translator who will include their full name, address, and signature on the certification.
  • Ensure that the translator provides a written certification of the accuracy of the translation.

Additional Clarification for Extraordinary Situations

Address any unique factors within your case that could potentially prompt questions from USCIS.

  • Be proactive by including a written explanation for any previous immigration applications, especially for individuals you’ve sponsored before.
  • Present extra evidence or explanations to clarify unusual circumstances in your case.

By being diligent and thorough in your application preparation, you can significantly decrease the likelihood of receiving an RFE, streamlining your path to a marriage-based green card.

Understanding the Structure of an RFE

Crucial Elements of a Request for Evidence

Overview of Your Application: An RFE generally outlines particulars about your filing, such as the type of form submitted, the date USCIS received it, and the location of the office handling it. The notice typically starts by clarifying that the information currently on file is insufficient for a decision, prompting the need for additional evidence.

Applicable Statutes and Regulations: An RFE will reference specific segments of immigration laws pertinent to your case, including the Immigration and Nationality Act and other relevant legal provisions. This section delves into the specifics of the eligibility criteria you’re supposed to meet.

Previously Supplied Documentation: Here, you’ll see a catalog of the evidence you’ve already provided. Carefully check if all the items you submitted have been acknowledged. If anything is absent, it’s likely it wasn’t reviewed. Identify any documents not mentioned which could aid in proving your eligibility, as you may want to include these in your RFE response.

Requested Additional Documentation: In this part, the RFE will itemize the further evidence required to adequately assess your application. It specifies which parts of your evidence don’t satisfy certain criteria. Often extensive, the RFE may suggest alternative forms of evidence if the primary documents are unavailable.

Response Time Frame: The final portion of an RFE indicates the deadline by which you must submit the missing evidence, outlining the importance of the stated timeframe. It cautions that failure to respond promptly could result in a decision based solely on the previously submitted documentation, which might lead to your application being denied.

Actions to Undertake When Confronted with a USCIS Evidence Request

Upon receipt of a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS, it is imperative to meticulously peruse the document. Ensure that you comprehend every query and requirement stipulated within. Remember, this might be your sole opportunity for clarification, thus, it’s crucial to address all concerns in one comprehensive reply.

Subsequently, revisit the application you had initially submitted. There may be instances where the information sought has already been provided. In such situations, make duplicate copies of the necessary documents from the original submission to be included with your RFE response.

Preparing Your RFE Response Packet:

  • Place the original RFE notice at the forefront of your response packet, not a duplicate.
  • Since only a single response is allowed, consolidate all requested documents in one batch.
  • For documents recopied from your initial submission, clearly indicate their source.
  • Offer clarifications where needed. For example, if a bilingual document in English has been requested for translation, explain that it is already available in English.

In cases where a requested document is unavailable, furnish a thorough explanation along with any potential substitute documentation. For instance, if you’re unable to obtain a birth certificate due to destruction of records, include an official statement detailing this, accompanied by a sworn affidavit from a relative attesting to the requisite birth details.

Observing Timelines and Recordkeeping:

  • Adhere strictly to the deadline provided by USCIS, which will be outlined in the RFE. Calculate the due date from the issuance date on the RFE, not the date you received it.
  • Understand that USCIS operates on the actual receipt of documents, not the postmark date. Your materials must arrive at USCIS by the stated deadline.
  • Keep a photocopy of your entire response packet for personal records. Utilize traceable shipping methods for sending back the package and retain the proof of delivery with your records.

By fully addressing every aspect of the RFE in an organized and timely manner, you fortify your eligibility for the immigration benefit sought. A comprehensive and punctual response is crucial in the continuation of your immigration process.

Pertinent Details

  • Streamlined Application: Initiate at no cost.
  • Comprehensive Review: Four stages of anti-rejection checks.
  • Professional Oversight: Assessment by a legal expert.

Frequently Asked Questions

Steps After Receiving an RFE from USCIS

When you receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), follow these steps:

  1. Review the RFE Carefully: Understand the specifics of what additional evidence USCIS is requesting.
  2. Collect the Required Evidence: Gather all documents and information requested in the RFE.
  3. Prepare Your Response: Assemble the evidence coherently to directly address each item listed in the RFE.
  4. Submit the Response by the Deadline: Ensure to respond within the period provided by USCIS.

Reasons for an RFE on Form I-485

Common triggers for an RFE when filing Form I-485 (Adjustment of Status) include:

  • Incomplete application forms
  • Insufficient supporting documents
  • Missing evidence of admissibility
  • Lack of financial documentation

Responding to an RFE for Form I-129

When addressing an RFE for Form I-129 (Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker), ensure you:

  • Address all points: Respond specifically to each query raised within the RFE.
  • Include supplemental documentation: Provide additional evidence that reinforces your eligibility.
  • Verify completeness: Double-check that your response is complete before submission.

Distinguishing RFE and Request for Additional Evidence

An RFE generally involves a request to corroborate or clarify the already submitted information, while a Request for Additional Evidence implies USCIS needs further details beyond what was initially provided.

Approval Chances Post RFE Response

Your likelihood of approval after an RFE response depends on:

  • Completeness of your response: Addressing all aspects of the RFE in detail.
  • Quality of Evidence: Providing clear and convincing evidence to support your eligibility.

Timeframe for USCIS Decision After an RFE

The timeline for a USCIS decision can vary widely, but typically:

  • Post Response Receipt: USCIS can take several weeks to several months to issue a decision.
  • Checking Status: You can monitor your case through the official USCIS website or by contacting them directly.

Remember to adhere strictly to USCIS deadlines and guidelines when responding to an RFE to optimize your chances for a favorable outcome.

Contact Avazian & Avazian for RFE Assistance

At Avazian & Avazian, we are dedicated to advocating for immigrant rights. If you have received a Request for Evidence and have questions about your rights or options, our immigration attorney can provide guidance. For a completely confidential, no-obligation consultation, please call us today. We practice federal immigration law and represent clients across a broad region.

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.