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How to respond to a USCIS Request For Evidence (RFE)

A Request for Evidence (RFE) is a written request from the US Citizenship and Immigration Service  (USCIS) asking for new, additional or missing information about your immigration application.

The USCIS will sometimes ask for more information so that they can make a decision on your case. Other times, they will ask for missing documents.  Common examples of an RFE for a green card application include affidavits of support and proof of income, birth certificates, translations, and medical examinations.

Responding To The RFE:

  1. First, before you respond to the RFE, ask yourself: What is the officer asking for, and why? Make sure you understand what the USCIS officer is looking for. If you don’t understand what is needed, do speak to your immigration attorney.
  2. Secondly, when is the deadline? Do calculate the dates and make a note of this. You may need to start working on your RFE early in case you face delays, and so that your documents can arrive at the USCIS before the deadline.
  3. Thirdly, what type of documents do you need? Is the USCIS asking for original documents or copies? Certified copies of court records? Do you need to translate your documents? A common mistake that people make is that they do not give the USCIS the documents and information they ask for.  
  4. Organize The Information – your information and documents should be clear, and easy to read and understand. Do follow the USCIS instructions. They usually want you to place the copy of their RFE letter on the top of your response and documents.
  5. Next – do you need to add a cover letter to list the documents or information in your response? Also, do explain any unusual situation or documents. At our law office, before we add extra documents, we make sure they will not create confusion.
  6. Send your reply by certified mail or a delivery tracking method – This way you can check that your response has been delivered before the deadline. This is also proof in case the USCIS says that they never received your response. If you are using a courier service, do make certain that they will deliver to the USCIS address that you are sending your response to.
  7. Finally, keep copies of your response and all the documents and information that you send to the USCIS. This way, if your application is denied, you can look at what you sent in before to understand where you need to improve.

What Happens if I don’t respond to the RFE?

If you do not respond to the RFE within the deadline or with the requested information, your application may be denied.

Also, a late response to an RFE may delay your immigration application because the USCIS will not continue processing your application until they receive your response.

What Happens if I cannot Submit What the RFE Wants?

If you cannot submit the information that the RFE wants, it is a good idea to explain the reason why. Also, think about if you can use alternative documents that would be acceptable to the USCIS. If you need help with your RFE you should contact your immigration attorney.

Thank you for reading this article. If you have questions about a Request For Evidence or need our help, please call our immigration lawyer, Attorney Doreen at (626) 256 8500.

Related reading : USCIS Extends The Covid-19 Flexible Reply Time For RFEs, NOIDs, etc.

About the author

Doreen Emenike is an immigration lawyer with over 20 years of experience. She helps people live in the U.S. legally and works at the Law Offices of Doreen A. Emenike.

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