The Dreaded RFE. Understanding USCIS Requests for Evidence.
Updated: Jun 5
Nobody hopes to receive a Request for Evidence (RFE) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Unfortunately, in today’s heightened scrutiny immigration-climate, employers and individuals are frequently receiving arbitrary and unfounded RFEs. These RFEs come without warning and provoke a broad range of unpleasant feelings from confusion to helplessness to fear.
At its core, an RFE is a written request for more information and documentation that USCIS sends when they deem they don’t yet have enough evidence to approve or deny a given petition. This article will explain the various parts of a typical RFE.
RFEs are generally not written from scratch and often include templated language with various levels of case-specific customization (and even errors). The classic RFE includes these key parts: the Facts, the Law, the Submitted Evidence, the Missing Evidence, and the Response Deadline.
This portion of the RFE overviews the facts of the petition. This information can include the filing date, the beneficiary’s name, the employer’s name, the dates of benefit requested, and the beneficiary’s proposed position, among others. This portion of the RFE should reflect information that was included in the original petition. It is important to review the RFE carefully for accuracy as many RFEs contain errors in this section.
This portion of the RFE identifies the applicable legal requirements that govern the petition, and generally include sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the Code of Federal Regulations, and other relevant laws.
The Submitted Evidence
This portion of the RFE normally lists all the documents that were submitted in the original petition. This portion of the RFE should also be carefully reviewed for accuracy. It is important to note any documents not listed that were included in the original petition as these have likely not been reviewed or considered by the Officer.
The Missing Evidence
This portion of the RFE details the additional documents and information that USCIS deems lacking from the original petition and required by the applicable law. This portion of the RFE is often in the form of a lengthy, bulleted list. It is important to understand that you do not necessarily need to provide every document listed but pay particular attention to what is being requested to recognize which eligibility requirement(s) the Officer deems unsatisfied or deficient.
The response deadline generally can be found at the end of the RFE. It is important to meet the response deadline to avoid a denial.
In the increasingly likely event you receive an RFE, don’t panic, we can help! Contact us today to discuss your case and learn how we can help.