Sometimes the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will make a determination that it needs more information before it can proceed with an application. This will prompt the USCIS to send a Request For Evidence (RFE), that will ask for specific information about issues that it feels needs more clarification and/or evidence, and will provide a deadline as to when the additional information needs to be presented.
Receiving a Request For Evidence (RFE) is not unusual, and it does not mean that the USCIS doubts your situation and/or will deny you the relief you are seeking. In fact, there are many instances where the USCIS will deny a petition without seeking more information.
The failure to respond to a Request For Evidence may lead the USCIS to believe that you are not interested in proceeding further and will issue a denial, or it may make a decision concerning your file based upon the information in it possession (which in most cases will mean a denial).
You will only have one opportunity to respond to a Request For Evidence, so it is important that everything is submitted properly and timely. If you do not have an experienced immigration lawyer, such as attorney Sufen Hilf, working for you at the time you receive an RFE it is highly recommened that you immediately hire an experienced immigration lawyer. If you wait until the last minute it will not give the immigration lawyer enough time to properly respond to the Request For Evidence.
On some occasions the USCIS sends a Notice Of Intent to Deny (NOID) instead of a Request For Evidence. A Notice Of Intent to Deny means that the USCIS reviewed your petition and made a determination that you are not eligible for the immigration benefit that you are seeking. A Notice Of Intent to Deny is not an official denial, but will lead to a Notice of Action denying your application if you do not respond with convincing evidence to show that an approval should be given. A Notice Of Intent to Deny is serious, and you should have an experienced immigration lawyer, such as the lawyers at Hilf & Hilf, PLC, represent you if you do not already have one.
The options, when receiving a RFE, are to either: timely submit all the requested evidence; submit a response that addresses some, but not all, of the issues contained in the RFE; or you can withdraw your application. The manner in which a Request For Evidence is handled is, again, best left for the determination of an experienced immigration lawyer. You will not be given a second chance to submit more information about your case, and when you respond to the RFE it has to be all at once. If you have some, but not all, of the information requested it is usually better to submit as much information as you can and provide an explanation as to the missing items when appropriate than to submit nothing at all.
When the USCIS issues the RFE, all processing on your case stops until the RFE response is received or the time period given for the response lapses. You can inquire as to the status of your case with the National Customer Service Center.
Most of the time the USCIS is specific as to what it is looking for. However, you still have the ability to supplement other portions of your petition if you are able to do so to bolster your overall case. Some inquiries can be rather complex and technical, and challenge whether or not you are actually eligible for a particular immigration benefit or relief. If you are unsure how to answer such an inquiry and/or what type of evidence to submit, it is a sign that you need to consult with an experienced immigration lawyer who can review the RFE, review your documentation, look at what was submitted, and suggest documentation which may be vital to your petition. It is important to maintain duplicate copies of your paperwork, including any paperwork received from USCIS. Any paperwork submitted to the USCIS should be sent sufficiently in advance to make sure it is received timely. It should also be sent by priority mail with delivery confirmation so there is a record that everything was submitted timely on your behalf. It is not unheard of for mail to be misdelivered or lost, or for the USCIS to misfile or otherwise lose items submitted to it.
Hiring the right immigration lawyers may be one of the most important decisions you make for yourself and your family. There are many lawyers who claim to do more than what they are able – just as there are many surgeons in the world that are no better than butchers. Do not settle for a legal hack job. Practicing law is a skill that develops over time with experience, commitment, dedication, and God given talent. There are no amateur attorneys at Hilf & Hilf, PLC – only professionals that are guided by the humanity in the individuals we serve, and the drive not to settle for what is easy over what is right.