When an immigration officer is unsatisfied with the information or documents submitted with an immigration application, they send out what is called a request for evidence (RFE). This is a letter that immigration writes up requesting additional information, documents, or other requirements from the applicant.

An RFE is especially common in the I-864 affidavit of support, a family-based petition to show that the sponsor, who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, is financially able to care for their foreign relative looking to immigrate to the U.S.

An I-864 affidavit of support is usually submitted by the sponsor. And in these cases, they almost always receive an RFE.

The Problem With I-864 Requests for Evidence

While RFEs are helpful for an applicant to find out what else they need to do to satisfy immigration requirements, RFEs that are sent for I-864 petitions can be problematic. In almost every instance, they use boilerplate language and are never specific on what the issue with the petition actually is.

This makes it hard to determine what immigration is asking for or what else they could possibly need to allow the case to move forward. When this happens, an applicant typically has two options.

2 Options to Respond to an I-864 Request for Evidence

When they receive an I-864 request for evidence that isn’t providing specific information about what the problem is, lawyers recommend that applicants do one of two things.

First, the applicant can write back to immigration and argue how they think they’re qualified to become a sponsor. They do this by referring to immigration’s instructions and laws and citing them in their response to prove their financial capacity.

What typically happens after this is the officer will understand the situation better and move on with the entire process. Or they can send a second RFE that better lists what the specific problem is.

Another option is for the applicant to get a joint sponsor. An I-864 request for evidence will usually make mention of this so they can better prove their financial capacity and satisfy immigration requirements.