USCIS may issue a Request For Evidence when an application or petition lacks necessary documentation or evidence to make a decision on the immigration benefit requested. If USCIS mails you a Request for Evidence, it means that they need you to provide additional proof before they can proceed with your application or petition.
The Request for Evidence will generally arrive as letter printed on blue paper. You should see “Form I-797E” printed in the top right of the document.
Failing to respond to an RFE will virtually guarantee that your application or petition gets denied. Therefore, responding to a Request for Evidence in an accurate and timely manner is critical for the success of your case. We suggest some guidelines for responding to a RFE and some tips for avoiding this dreaded request in the first place.
How to Respond to a Request for Evidence
If you received a Request for Evidence, it will indicate what evidence or information is needed for USCIS to fully evaluate your application or petition. The notice will explain where to send the evidence and will give the deadline for your response. USCIS will hold your application or petition in suspense during that time. If you receive an RFE and have questions about what you need to submit, you may call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283.
When responding to the Request for Evidence, keep the following guidelines in mind:
Read the RFE carefully
Take the time to slowly read the Request for Evidence. If you do not understand exactly which items are requested, ask for help. You may contact USCIS or consult with an immigration attorney.
Provide one complete response
USCIS generally issues only one RFE. You need to respond with a single response that thoroughly satisfies the request. If you fail to adequately respond, USCIS will likely deny your application. Answer all the questions as clearly as possible and provide your answers in one, single response.
Organize your response
Make it easy for USCIS to understand your response by keeping it short and to the point. If the RFE is complex, include a table of contents or document your answer with exhibits. Include the RFE (usually colored paper) on top of your response. If you are uncomfortable responding to a Request for Evidence, seek assistance from an immigration attorney.
Respond before the deadline
It should go without saying, but you must respond on time. Missing the deadline will most likely result in a denial. Don’t be late.
Tips to Avoid Requests for Evidence
USCIS issues a Request for Evidence when an applicant has not provided sufficient documentation or information in an original package. Therefore, preparing a complete and detailed application package is important for avoiding an RFE. In a similar way, irrelevant or unnecessary information can clutter an application package.
- Avoid inconsistencies and omissions of information. If there are any inconsistencies, explain them at the time of filing the application.
- Provide complete certified translations for evidence that is originally printed in a foreign language.
- Use evidence with more probative value when possible.
- Organize your application package in a way that it’s easy for USCIS to locate and identify evidence.
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