Requests For Evidence
A request for evidence (RFE) is a letter or notice from USCIS issued to an applicant when insufficient or suspicious information is found in a pending immigration petition. These types of notifications are extremely important and must be handled very carefully, as they often are the basis of an approval or denial of a pending petition. When an RFE is sent, the processing of the case is essentially frozen until the RFE response is reviewed. Unfortunately this often delays issuance of related immigration documents, such as work permits. RFE’s are commonly issued for several reasons:
- Lack of supporting documents
- Incorrect information contained petition, which is sometimes due to clerical errors
- Questions regarding eligibility for the immigration benefit being sought
- Inconsistent information contained in the immigration record of the applicant
- Missing or insufficient information needed to decide the case
- Marriage/birth certificates or other official documents and translations
- Medical Exam/Supplemental I-693, vaccination history
Handling The RFE Response
This is an extremely important phase of any immigration application and can be the final deciding factor of whether a case is successful. You should read it carefully and determine what kind of evidence or document is requested. Some RFEs are more complex than the others; if you receive a complex RFE and do not think you understand what is needed or how to respond, you should retain a competent immigration attorney to address the issues raised in the RFE. There are always strict deadlines for responding to the RFEs; those time periods range between 30-90 days and rarely allow for extensions under any circumstances. Therefore it is critical to file the response in sufficient time before the deadline. Failing to reply to the RFE will most likely result in an unfavorable result. After responding to the RFE, times vary in which USCIS renders a decision. Sometimes, an additional RFE is sent to clarify previously submitted documents in the first RFE. It is difficult to determine when a decision will be made after the RFE has been responded to. Sometimes a response occurs within a short time frame, maybe a few weeks, while other times, the wait time is lengthy, involving several months or more. After 60 days if there is no response, USCIS may file a service request to determine the status of the case.
Differences Between RFEs And A Notice Of Intent To Deny
In an RFE, USCIS is simply seeking clarification on submitted evidence or requesting missing documents in order to make a decision on a pending application. In an NOID, initial evidence has been reviewed, and the adjudicating officer is not convinced such evidence establishes eligibility. Whether you have received an RFE or an NOID, it is imperative that you respond in a very detailed and organized manner, as failing to do so can result in dire consequences. An experienced immigration attorney can help you prepare a high quality and concise response to avoid further difficulties. Contact our office in Tampa or Clearwater 813-279-6180 at to discuss your options.