Requests for evidence—RFEs play an important role in many types of immigration processing. It is very possible to receive an RFE on your green card application, on an employment-based visa application, or on a family-based green card application (which usually means there was a lack of evidence to establish a blood relationship to a U.S. citizen). In addition, RFEs can be issued on behalf of self-petitioners who are seeking an NIW.
You shouldn’t always be worried if you receive an RFE. For one, this at least means the USCIS is giving you another fair chance to provide the appropriate documentation to back up your case and help approve your immigration status. In addition, the RFE is a way for the USCIS to gather all of the available information they can in reference to an applicant. Sometimes, an adjudicating officer might issue an RFE because they simply don’t have enough evidence to make a final decision on the case. In other instances, an adjudicating officer might become confused as to why some supplementary documents are included and not others.
Overall, the idea with RFEs is to clearly read what has been described in the RFE statement and then to approach submitting a strategic response to the RFE, oftentimes requesting the help of an attorney to make sure you are giving the most accurate and timely information possible.
Contact an Attorney
Visa2us offers legal advice and works with experienced immigration attorneys. The issue with RFEs is that sometimes USCIS officers make mistakes and can ask for additional evidence that is a misapplication of what is required. Adjudicating officers are only human and in many reviews of RFE cases, it seems that RFEs can ask for applicant information that isn’t always necessary. This is why it is important to include in your RFE response (with or without the help of an attorney) a rebuttal as to why such a document is or is not needed and to supply the USCIS with only the material that is needed for the NIW application.
Respond within the Time Frame
One of the ways a NIW application can denied outright is when an applicant hesitates with their RFE request or forgets that they need to submit a response to the agency within 60-90 days. This is a technical aspect of the NIW application, but simply missing the deadline by a few days will result in a rejection of your application package. Make sure to look at the information provided on the RFE and the exact deadline required for re-submission.
Understand What is Being Asked
RFEs can be a frustrating process if the RFE is intentionally vague. This happens often. Not every RFE is the same, and sometimes the RFE will simply address the applicant by stating that the petitioner has failed to establish all of the criteria needed to demonstrate that their proposed endeavor is in the national interest of the United States. After reading this, applicants might become upset that the RFE is so ambiguous and hard to decipher. The best strategy for addressing this type of RFE, if an attorney is not present, is to look back through your application materials and try to figure what had been misinterpreted, or if not all of the documents you submitted were evidence of what they were trying to represent.
For example, consider the following:
- Were your letters of recommendations signed or printed on a company letterhead? Did your recommended leave their full signature line?
- Was your resume cut off or was it missing any pages?
- How did you list your publications and citations? Did you provide links and URL addresses where your citation records can be accessed electronically?
- Did you provide article clippings of magazines/journals you have been featured in?
The presentation of your NIW application matters, so you might need to go back and look at your entire application to see what you missed, or if there is a better way of presenting the evidence to an officer.