REQUESTS FOR EVIDENCEHow to Respond to a Request for Additional Evidence
Requests for Evidence or Requests for Additional Evidence – commonly referred to as RFEs – can be issued by any immigration officer from the USCIS after an initial review on your application. RFEs are usually issued to request missing documentation such as criminal arrest dispositions, which are crucial in the decision of your case. However, sometimes an RFE will ask for information that was already filed in the case, information that does not exist or information that is not entirely relevant. At times, RFEs have been used as fishing expeditions to seek irrelevant information on purpose. The important thing is not to panic and consult an immigration attorney before responding to an RFE.
An RFE does not necessarily mean that the immigration officer will deny your case. All it means is that that the officer cannot approve your case yet. Maybe he or she has doubts that need to be addressed, or perhaps your case is indeed missing an important document. Either way, if you fail to respond in a timely manner, or if you provide only a partial response, your case will most likely be denied. This is why it’s critical to take any requests seriously – even if it is seeking information you already provided with your initial application.
How should I respond to an RFE?
If you or someone you know have been issued an RFE by the USCIS, don’t panic. This does not mean that your case has been denied or it is more likely to be denied. You will have 30 to 90 days to respond to the RFE and to provide the requested documentation to USCIS.
The essential function of an RFE is to provide the immigration officer reviewing your case additional information. Sometimes this means you will have to include specific missing documents, or documents already submitted but overlooked. Many times our immigration lawyers have to explain the regulations to the USCIS officer in the RFE response to explain why a requested document is improper or does not satisfy any stated regulation in the scope of consideration. If the officer issued the RFE because he or she has doubts about your case, you may need to provide additional evidence that is not specifically requested in the RFE itself.
What do I do if I get an RFE?
If you get an RFE, you should review the request very carefully, and you may need to consult a good immigration lawyer to interpret what it requires. This is a very time-sensitive matter. You must respond to each and every item as soon as possible. The documents must be received by the USCIS before the cut-off-time indicated on the RFE, not just mailed before that date. The sooner you gather all the missing information and documentation, the more quickly your application will be processed. It is crucial to respond to RFEs in a timely manner to avoid an unnecessary denial or additional delays.
When you respond to an RFE, you must provide a full response not a partial one, or USCIS may deny your case. If you fail to respond on time, USCIS may also deny your case. You must review each and every document request in the RFE and analyze it carefully alongside immigration laws and regulations.
If you need to respond to a Request for Additional Evidence for yourself, a family member or an employee, it is best you consult an experienced immigration attorney to develop the best strategy for the response. If you do not respond well, your case may be denied. Give us a call today – let us keep your case moving forward and obtain the best possible results.