If you have applied for an immigration benefit and immigration believes that something is missing, they will issue a ‘request for evidence’ (RFE). An RFE can be issued in person at an interview or mailed to your home. In either case, you will likely have 89 days to respond to the request, and you should always respond on time.
An RFE does not mean that your application will be denied; if you submit all requested documents, your application will likely be approved.
How to Avoid an RFE
- Initial Evidence: Every application has a corresponding ‘instruction’ page. Your attorney has likely referenced this document in providing you with a list of documents to collect. Be sure to include all initial evidence, it is required, not optional.
- Economic Sponsor: Be honest with your attorney about the primary sponsor’s income. The I-864 can be one of the most problematic parts of the application, so be sure to provide all the information your attorney requests, even if it seems excessive.
- Translations: All documents in a foreign language should be translated into English, and all translations should be certified. Certified is just a fancy way of saying that the translator must state that they are competent in both English and the foreign language and that they translated the entire document accurately. The translator should also provide their contact information.
- Inconsistencies: Work with your attorney to iron out dates, addresses, employment history, and any timelines. All this information should be consistent across all applications and documents.
- Anomalies in Your Case: If you know that there is something strange about your case, be sure to tell your attorney upfront. Many people have unconventional relationships or oddities in their relationships, and if you can explain them to immigration upfront, you’ll fare better in the long run.
What if you Receive an RFE?
The first thing you must do is to respond. If you have an attorney, your attorney will tell you exactly what documents are being requested. If you do not have an attorney, you should consider hiring one to help you with the RFE. If you do not respond, your application will likely be denied.
Second, be sure to submit all requested documents at one time. If you are unable or unwilling to submit a document, your attorney should explain that to USCIS and provide a reason. The entire response should be submitted at once and one time. If your attorney provides you with a deadline, be sure to get everything to him/her on time.
Third, use the RFE to your advantage. Immigration is telling you exactly where your application is deficient and where they’d like you to supplement. Use this opportunity to bolster and strengthen your case. You can also submit any evidence that you’ve obtained since initially filing the application.
If you have received a ‘request for evidence,’ please contact an immigration attorney who is trustworthy and knowledgeable! Our attorneys at Landerholm Immigration, APC have experience in responding to RFEs and Notices of Intent to Deny. Please feel free to call us at (510) 491-0291 to see how we can help!