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USCIS Request for Evidence (RFE)

request for evidence

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will send you an RFE (Request for evidence) on your application if it determines that it needs more information to finish processing your application. For example, if you are applying for a green card, you must provide enough evidence to prove that you are eligible. If you don't provide enough evidence to prove that you are eligible, USCIS will probably send you an RFE. This tool allows USCIS to fill in any missing documentation, clarify any confusion, and correct any discrepancies.


USCIS sends out Form I-797E, also called a notice of action, when it issues an RFE.  An RFE contains four major parts: the law, a list of the evidence you submitted, a list of the evidence you are missing, and a response deadline.


You will need to respond to the RFE within the timeframe indicated (usually 30 to 90 days) so that the immigration official adjudicating your case will have enough evidence to make a favorable decision. This could be a make-or-break situation. If you don't offer up what USCIS wants, your case could be denied.


Is a NOID the same as an RFE?


A Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) is much more serious than a Request for Evidence (RFE). A NOID is a negative determination and impending denial. It is a formal warning that a USCIS officer reviewed your case and plans to deny it if you are unable to provide more convincing evidence. RFEs are used when an officer wants to see if there is enough evidence to approve a petition. NOIDs are used when an officer thinks there is not enough evidence to approve a request. In both cases, the officer will give a list of evidence needed to approve the request



How to Prevent an RFE


The best way to avoid a USCIS RFE is thorough preparation. If you pay close attention and include sufficient evidence in the initial application, USCIS will have no reason to send you an RFE. Try to stay a step ahead of USCIS by explaining strange circumstances or history ahead of time. If you think something in your application is difficult to understand or doesn’t seem quite right, USCIS will certainly have an issue with it. Take some time to include extra information at the beginning to prevent potential delays down the road.



Responding to an RFE (Request for Evidence)


As we stated, it’s imperative that you respond to an RFE to avoid denial of your application. Once you receive your notice, make sure that you don’t panic. Instead, follow these steps to make sure that you respond to the notice the right way.


1. Make A Copy Of The Notice

First, make a copy of the notice to keep for your records. Make sure that you don’t send the copied notice when you’re submitting your response. Instead, fill out the blue letter you receive from USCIS and send that back so your case can be dealt with accordingly.


2. Gather The Necessary Evidence

This is the most crucial part of responding to an RFE. Your notice will tell you the information that your application is missing. Sometimes it could be something as small as a passport photo or a missing signature in a particular section.  Either way, use the RFE to review your application. You can make your case stronger by adding additional evidence that you’re eligible for immigration permission. The more evidence you have, the better chance your application has.


3. Put Your Packet Together

Once you have all your evidence, it’s time to put your packet together. Make sure that you place the evidence in the order that USCIS lists. Start with the original copy of the RFE notice, then a cover letter stating everything that’s in your application packet. It makes it easier for the reviewing officer to handle your case and prevents any documents from being misplaced, which could lead to further delays on your application.


4. Mail The Response

Once you put your packet together, it’s time to mail it off to USCIS. Ensure that you send your documents to the address listed in the RFE notice and not an address that you previously sent the documents to. Also, make sure to keep a copy of your submission and proof of mailing for your records.


It’s also a good idea to send your application well in advance of the RFE deadline. When you decide to mail your packet, make sure that you choose a service that has tracking so you’ll have proof of when you sent it. That way, you can show USCIS that you complied with the deadline in the event of any delays.


DO NOT MISS THE DEADLINES. USCIS is always busy with applications, so if they provide you with a due date, adhere to it. Failure to comply with deadlines is an easy way to be denied, even if you deserve an approval. If at any point throughout the process of responding to an RFE you feel you’re doing something wrong or you do not believe USCIS has provided a clear explanation of what they want, reach out to an experienced immigration attorney for assistance.



Responding to an RFE is a crucial step in the immigration application process. It’s important to read the RFE carefully, gather the requested information promptly, and submit a well-prepared response within the specified timeframe to maximize your chances of a successful outcome. If you have any doubts or concerns, it’s advisable to seek legal counsel or consult an immigration attorney for guidance. For more information on how we can assist you, please visit our website at or email us at


Patricia Elizee is the managing partner of the Elizee Law Firm, an immigration law firm located at 1110 Brickell Avenue, Suite 315, Miami, Florida 33131. Phone 305-371-8846.


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