Given the capricious and very often cruel attitude of the current federal administration with regard to immigration proceedings, those who have to go through them have learned to try and be ready for anything. One of the things that will often come out of nowhere is a Request For Evidence (RFE), which can be sent at roughly any point during an application to adjust status, or while someone is in removal proceedings. Understanding what they are and what is required can be an enormous help in ensuring they are handled appropriately.
An RFE Is Not a Denial
It is critical to understand that an RFE does not mean an automatic denial - but failure to respond to one will absolutely raise the probability that your application for whichever immigration benefit will be denied. An RFE is literally a request for evidence, meaning that the immigration official currently reviewing your case would like more evidence regarding a certain part of your application, as without the information, they do not feel they can make an informed decision.
Generally, an RFE will be tailored to the specific category of visa you are applying for, but even if you receive a general request or the wrong one, it is more important to reply to it than to question it in most situations because U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) will generally only grant a person one period of time in which to reply to an RFE. If you fail to reply at all, it will be viewed as abandoning your application, which will almost certainly result in a denial.
How to Respond
When you receive an RFE, you can respond in full, or you can respond partially. The latter is only recommended if you have looked for the relevant documents and been unable to find everything requested - some response is better than none at all. Usually a time frame will be stated on the notice - most average between 30 days and 60, though a few rare ones will grant up to 90 days to send back the requested items - and if you have not been able to locate certain documentation but the deadline is nearing, it is best to send what you have.
It is important that you understand that once you have sent the requested items to the relevant lockbox, anything further will generally not be accepted. USCIS tends to see secondary mailings as being too little, too late, and unless you go out of your way to reach out and show that your case is exceptional, any information in that extra mailing or mailings will almost certainly not be considered in deciding your application. Thus, if you do get an RFE, it is critical to verify that everything you want to include in adjudicating your case is in the packet and completed to the best of your ability.
Questions? Contact an Attorney
While the RFE process can sound easy, it is generally recommended that you have an attorney on your side to ensure that everything is completed as it should be. The dedicated DuPage County immigration attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC can sit down with you and try to answer any questions you may have about your application. Call our office today to set up a free consultation.
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