How to Prepare a Response to a Request for Evidence (RFE)

The Vermont Service Center receives thousands of pieces of paper correspondence each day. A large number of these pieces of correspondence are responses to Requests for Evidence (RFE) or Notices of Intent to Deny (NOID). As contract staff sift through all of this incoming mail, the blue coversheet helps them quickly and easily identify which documents should be routed immediately to the file as a response to the request.

When the response is matched up with the file the case is immediately pulled and routed to the officer. However, any correspondence which does not contain a copy of the RFE or NOID is not recognized as a response and is sent to the Customer Service Division for sorting and dissemination.

Once the customer service division identifies the correspondence as supporting evidence it is routed to the file to be included in the record. However, the evidence that you submitted without the proper coversheet will sit on the shelf for the entire tolling period because there is no way to be sure that what was submitted is the actual response to the request for additional evidence. Once the waiting period for a response has expired, it is then sent to an officer for review. Because there is not a way to determine if what was submitted was the actual response to the RFE there is a significant delay in the processing of a final decision on an application or petition.

It is very important that USCIS staff is able to promptly recognize incoming correspondence as a response to an RFE. In addition, 8 CFR Section 103.2(b)(11) addresses how an applicant or petitioner should respond to an RFE, “All requested materials must be submitted together at one time, along with the original USCIS request for evidence or notice of intent to deny.”

In some cases it is not possible to identify the case that relates to the submitted information. In the future the VSC may start returning documentation that is submitted without a copy of the receipt notice or RFE when we cannot determine which case it relates to.

Receiving an RFE is serious and indicates that the USCIS has additional questions about you or your loved one’s eligibility for an immigration benefit. Not addressing the issues the USCIS raises can have serious complications and a denial of the application. A denial is certain to increase the length of time a couple is separated. A denial may even strain the relationship to the point of breaking up.

An immigration attorney can help you present the best possible response to show that your loved one qualifies and that your petition meets all procedures requirements. For success in responding to a request for evidence for a K1 fiance or immigrant visa application, please contact our law office.

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