Requests for Evidence from USCIS

You submitted your immigration application, but then received a Request for Evidence (RFE). What should you do, how should you respond, and what evidence should you send?

While it’s impossible to give you specific advice on your case unless we work together, now is a good time to understand the nature of an RFE and the additional steps you should take.

If you have received a Request for Evidence, you can contact Boston immigration attorney Giselle M. Rodriguez.  Giselle helps clients with the full range of immigration challenges. She is bilingual (English & Spanish), and works with clients throughout Greater Boston, Massachusetts, and beyond. Giselle is available for consultations 7 days a week (by appointment). Contact Giselle today to discuss your case and your application, or read on to learn more about why you received an RFE and what to do about it.

What is a Request for Evidence (RFE)?

A RFE means the immigration officer who received your application is unsure whether you are eligible for the benefit you requested.  The USCIS issues RFEs when “additional evidence could demonstrate eligibility for an immigration benefit.” 

An RFE is a chance to correct innocent mistakes and omissions and to provide more compelling evidence than what you previously sent. When you read your RFE, you will see a list of evidence that USCIS wishes to see.

When you receive your RFE, you will also receive Form I-797E, which is the form you’ll need to return with the new evidence you will be submitting. 

Why do people receive RFEs?

People receive RFEs because USCIS has determined it needs extra information to make a decision on your requested immigration status. Here are some of the most common reasons an RFE gets issued:

  1. You did not submit all the evidence requested by the initial application. The accidental omission of even a single document can lead to an RFE instead of to an approval. 
  2. You did not include certified English translations for foreign language documents.
  3. If you are applying for family-based immigration, the sponsor has failed to demonstrate their income was high enough, or you failed to demonstrate your income is high enough. 
  4. You failed to provide proof of legal entry from Customs and Border Patrol. 
  5. Documents provided from your home country were insufficient under Reciprocity laws.

Use your RFE to determine exactly what USCIS feels it is missing. 

What should you do about an RFE?

Typically you have  just 90 days to respond to your RFE. Make sure to read the notice carefully to check for the exact timeframe. If you fail to act in time, your application will be denied. 

Make a copy of your RFE.  You’ll need to send in the original with your response. 

When you receive an RFE, it is best to work with an immigration attorney immediately. 

Your application is at risk, and additional mistakes can end your dreams of living permanently and legally in the United States. I can help you prepare your response to give you the best chances of approval.

If you do not respond or do not respond correctly, USCIS will issue a denial. You have one chance to respond. If you don’t submit all the evidence USCIS asks for, you won’t get a second chance.

Can you avoid an RFE? 

The best way to avoid an RFE is to work with an experienced and circumspect immigration attorney before submitting your application, so that we get it right the first time.  I can ensure your application packet contains all the evidence USCIS wants or requires. 

Though it’s still possible to get an RFE even when working with an attorney, it’s much less likely you’ll be asked to produce evidence. 

Whether you’re facing an RFE now or really want to avoid one, you can contact my Boston office today to get help.