The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) will send an applicant a written Request for Evidence (“RFE”) if it needs further information to process his or her application for immigrant benefits. RFEs are usually printed on blue paper, labeled as “Form I-797E” on the top right corner of the document.
A petitioner may be able to avoid receipt of an RFE altogether if he or she initially submits a complete and detailed application. Receiving an RFE is not an initial reason for panic, because an USCIS adjudicator has the power to deny an immigrant visa application without even issuing an RFE notice, which allows an applicant to provide supporting documents to cure the alleged deficiency. However, the situation can turn into something more serious if an applicant delays in responding or does not do so in an appropriate manner. These considerations reinforce why having an experienced legal professional at every step of the way of the application process can be so crucial to the outcome of your case.
We do want to make it clear, however, that a Request for Evidence is not generally a cause for alarm. With recent immigration policy changes, RFE’s are issued for almost every type of case. Ironically, these RFEs sometimes ask for documents previously submitted, or contain requests that are not even related to the case at hand and include irrelevant and legally inapplicable boilerplate language. An attorney will properly respond to these Requests, often times taking the role of an educator in the matter, to guide the officer to the proper legal conclusion in your favor. A good immigration lawyer will diplomatically communicate to USCIS their errors based upon laws, and how certain requests are irrelevant, and on what basis.
Suggestions for responding to an RFE
RFEs should be read carefully and submitted promptly before the deadline—usually between 30 to 90 days—as an applicant will only have one chance to respond. Additionally, because a nonresponse is a near guarantee that his or her application or petition will be denied, it is important that an applicant complies with all requests for information as thoroughly as possible in a single response. Furthermore, applicants should provide certified translations for any evidence that is printed in a foreign language. Because responses to an RFE have a higher chance of approval when they are better organized, applicants should ensure that the information they provide is consistent, easy to locate, and not lacking in substance. A good immigration lawyer on your side can make a substantial difference in the resolution of your case, because we can help applicants cite to an applicable area of the law.
We at Yekrangi & Associates want to make sure that your application or petition is processed as efficiently and successfully as possible. Contact us at (949) 478-4963 to talk about your case.