Responding to Requests for Evidence

A Request for Evidence (“RFE”) is a letter that USCIS mails to an applicant or petitioner with a pending immigration matter before USCIS. Typically, a USCIS officer will issue an RFE after reviewing a file, when he or she feels that more information is needed to make a decision on the application or petition.

An RFE may merely contain a request for further information or clarification, or it may contain a detailed list of documents and other evidence for an applicant or petitioner to gather. Documents frequently requested by USCIS include records such as marriage and birth certificates, affidavits from friends and family members, photographs, and bills and other financial documents. The RFE will indicate whether the information or documents it is seeking are required, or if some of the items listed are optional. Generally speaking, even if some of the items listed are optional, it is better to over-prepare your response to the RFE and provide as much detail and as many documents as you are able to provide to support your application or petition.

RFEs always have a deadline, which will be listed on the RFE letter. Oftentimes, the deadline is listed as a number of days rather than a specific date, so it is important to look at the date at the top of the RFE to determine the calendar day of the deadline.

If an applicant or petitioner fails to respond to an RFE prior to the deadline, USCIS may deny the pending application or petition. Therefore, it is always best to respond to an RFE as soon as possible, and to confirm that USCIS received the response.

If you or someone you know has been issued an RFE and you need guidance in responding to it, please contact Tanner Law Offices at 717-731-8114 for a consultation with one of our attorneys.