What Is a USCIS Request for Evidence?
By Katherine at Legal Language
Posted on 12/03/2010
A USCIS Request for Evidence may be issued to those applying for a visa, a green card, asylum or an extension of stay.
Hundreds of thousands of petitions are filed with USCIS every year, and receiving a Request for Evidence (RFE) is common — just make sure you respond to it within the designated period of time!
What Is the Purpose of a USCIS Request for Evidence?
Nearly every USCIS application requires some kind of documentation — from personal documents and translations to photographs, bills and correspondence.
This evidence is used to determine important factors in your immigration case, such as whether your marriage is real or fraudulent, or whether you have enough money to support yourself and your family.
If you do not send enough evidence, or if the documentation is incomplete or incorrect, you may receive a Request for Evidence from USCIS. Many people become concerned after receiving a Request for Evidence, but an RFE is not the same thing as a Notice of Intent to Deny from USCIS.
A Request for Evidence simply means that you will need to submit additional paperwork, documents or legal translations. A Notice of Intent to Deny could mean that sufficient evidence was provided, but it may not be able to establish eligibility for the petition being sought.
How to Respond to a Request for Evidence
USCIS Request for Evidence forms will almost always specify the additional documents that are required to continue processing your application.
If you are not in possession of all of the evidence USCIS is requesting, make sure to include as many other types of evidence as possible that would establish the eligibility of your case. Photocopies of personal documents, photographs and bills are acceptable.
Clip together the evidence with the original Request for Evidence form and mail it to the address listed on the form. You can include a letter that lists your additional evidence, but make sure the Request for Evidence is the top sheet in your envelope.
If you have documents or correspondence in another language that can be used to support your case, have them translated by a professional translator. USCIS has been known to send Requests for Evidence to those who chose to translate their documents themselves instead of obtaining a certified translation.
The most important thing to do if you receive a Request for Evidence from USCIS is to respond within the given time frame. USCIS typically asks for a response within 30 days. Applicants who are not in the United States may be given 42 to 84 days to respond.
Remember: not replying on time may result in the denial of your application. Responding to a Request for Evidence from USCIS should be any US immigrant’s top priority.