Immigration authorities verify every bit of information in a petition. To do that, they need supporting documents and proof of certain statements provided by the applicant. If they cannot obtain it themselves, they may send a request for evidence.
What is a Request for Evidence?
A request for evidence (RFE) is a written document that immigration sends an applicant or their lawyer. This outlines certain questions or clarifications immigration may have, as well as a request for the applicant to supply important documentation. They usually send these if they don’t have enough evidence to decide whether or not to approve the petition.
How to Respond to a Request for Evidence
When receiving a request for evidence, the first thing to do is stay calm. This is part of the ordinary course of an immigration application. Then, the applicant must read through the document very carefully and respond to it as soon as possible.
Read Through It Carefully
Immigration authorities are human, and as such, have the tendency to make mistakes when sending requests for evidence. Sometimes, they ask for documentation that the applicant already submitted, or there can be mistakes in fact or law.
That’s why it’s important to read through the RFE carefully. It’s advisable that the applicant opens the document, pulls up their records, and compares. If they already sent in the documents that immigration is requesting, they must investigate further and make sure that the submitted document is valid and final. There might be something missing, like a court stamp or the lack of a seal, that immigration is looking for.
If the applicant verifies that the document submitted is correct and complete, they should send it again, along with the RFE and proof that the copy originally submitted is correct.
Clearly Show You are Satisfying the Requests
It’s not enough to simply compile and send the documents that immigration is asking for. The applicant must make it crystal clear that they are giving a response to each question or request immigration is making.
They can write on the RFE itself or provide an attachment to do this. Some lawyers would also include a big cover letter, copy-pasting each question and providing a clear answer for each exhibit. That way, the applicant will have the best chance of satisfying those questions and meeting the requirements outlined by USCIS.
Send the Evidence and RFE in One Package
The RFE comes in a small, letter-sized envelope, which is funny because any response would not fit into it. With that, it’s alright for the applicant to compile their documents elsewhere. They can send back the RFE with an attached file containing the response and documents requested.
It’s also important to note that everything sent to USCIS should be trackable to ensure that immigration actually receives them. Ideally, a response to an RFE should be sent through priority mail.