If you receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS, it can be daunting to know what to do, and you might be afraid that your application was denied. However, USCIS can deny immigration applications without sending an RFE, so receiving one does not mean that your application was denied.

What Is a Request for Evidence (RFE) from USCIS?

A Request for Evidence from USCIS means that USCIS has determined that it needs more information from you to make an informed decision about the status of your application. The RFE might be sent after an initial assessment of your application or further along in the process. This notice gives you the opportunity to fix your application or to provide needed information.

An RFE Is Different from a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)

An RFE is different from a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). If USCIS intends to deny your application, it will send out a NOID, not an RFE. If you receive a NOID, the USCIS has already ruled that you are not eligible for the benefits that you applied for. While a NOID doesn't officially deny your application, you'll probably need an immigration lawyer to help you win your case.

Include the Right Evidence with Your RFE

Make sure that your RFE response includes any requested information or evidence that was requested by the USCIS officer. You may include other documents in addition to what was directly requested if you feel that it will support for your application. If you're not sure what documents to include, you should contact an immigration lawyer for guidance to ensure that you have the information that's needed.

How to Submit an RFE Response

After you receive an RFE, it's time to prepare your response. Use the following steps to submit an RFE response:

  • Make a copy of the RFE, because you will send the original RFE back with your request.
  • Place the original copy of the RFE on the top of your response documentation.
  • Write a cover letter that lists what documents are included in your response.
  • Make a copy of all documentation before it is sent.

Ensure that You Meet the Deadline Specified in the RFE

One of the most important aspects of responding to an RFE is meeting the specified deadline from USCIS. The sooner youre able to provide USCIS with the documents requested, the better your chances of a prompt and accurate response. If you were to miss the deadline in answering an RFE, you might need to file an appeal to reopen your application. This is a step that should be avoided.

What Happens Next?

When USCIS issues an RFE, the processing of your original application will stop. Once you submit the appropriate paperwork in response to the RFE, you can expect to hear back from USCIS within the next 60 days about their decision or what further action is needed. If you don't respond to the RFE in time, USCIS will only base their decision on what information you initially provided and will most likely deny the application.

How to Prevent Receiving an RFE

There are some strategies that you can use to prevent receiving an RFE from USCIS in the first place. This can simplify and speed up the process. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Be as thorough as possible in your initial application to avoid further follow-up.
  • Include only relevant information in your application and any subsequent RFE, since additional RFEs will be issued if there are questions.
  • Ensure that any information included in your RFE is factual, since an incorrect response could lead to an immediate rejection.
  • Work with an attorney or legal representative from the beginning to increase your chances of a positive and timely outcome.

Helpful Tips for Responding to an RFE

It's important to take care of the RFE as quickly and accurately as possible. Failure to do so may delay or have a negative impact on the final outcome. Here are some helpful hints for responding to an RFE:

  • Read through the RFE carefully to avoiding missing any important information, including the request for additional documentation.
  • Be patient when it comes to redundant requests for information, even if you feel that you've already submitted the information with your initial application.
  • Use concise and clear responses to provide a comprehensive answer.
  • Remember that your application can be denied because of insufficient responses to RFE inquiries.

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