"REQUESTS FOR EVIDENCE"¿Cómo Responder a una Solicitud de Pruebas Adicionales?
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 immigration application. RFEs are usually issued by the USCIS officer to request missing documentation such as criminal arrest dispositions, which are essential for the officer in order to make a decision in your case. However, sometimes an RFE will ask for information that was already filed in the case, for information that does not exist or for information that is not relevant for your case. At times, RFEs have been used as fishing expeditions to ask for information that is not relevant to your case on purpose. The important thing is not to panic and consult with an immigration attorney before responding to the RFE.
An RFE does not necessarily mean that the immigration officer is not going to approve your case or that your case will be denied. All it means is that that the officer cannot approve your case yet. Maybe the officer has doubts that need to be addressed or maybe your case really is 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. That is why it is so important to take any such requests seriously – even if it asks you to submit information you already provided with your initial application.
How should I respond to an RFE?
If you or someone you know has been issued an RFE by the USCIS, please don’t panic. This does not mean your case has been denied or that it is more likely to be denied. You will have a 30-90 day window to respond to the RFE and to provide the requested documentation to USCIS.
It is very possible to overcome an RFE but you will need to know what you are doing. 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 documents missing from your case or documents you have already submitted but the officer has 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 meet satisfy any stated regulation the officer needs to consider. 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 RFE very carefully, and you may need to seek the guidance of a good immigration lawyer to interpret what the RFE requires from you. This is a very time-sensitive matter. You need to 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 quicker your application will be processed. Therefore, it is critical to respond to RFEs in a timely manner to avoid an unnecessary denial or additional lengthy delays in your case.
When you respond to an RFE, you must provide a full response, not a partial one; otherwise, USCIS may deny your case. If you fail to respond on time, USCIS may also deny your case. Therefore, it is critical to review each and every document request in the RFE and analyze it carefully together with the immigration laws and regulations.
If you need to respond to a Request for Additional Evidence for yourself, a family member or for an employee, it is best that you consult with an experienced immigration attorney to develop the best strategy for your response. If you do not respond well, your case may be denied. Give us a call if you want to obtain the best strategy to keep your case moving forward and obtain the results you want.