Exploring The Basics Of A Request For Evidence (RFE) – What It Is And How To Respond

What is a Request for Evidence (RFE)?

A Request for Evidence (RFE) is a formal communication issued by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to an applicant during the immigration application process. An RFE is sent when USCIS requires additional information or documentation to make a decision on the application. The purpose of an RFE is to give the applicant an opportunity to provide the necessary evidence or clarification to address any deficiencies or questions in their application.

Key points to know about Request for Evidence (RFE):

  • Reasons for Issuing

    an RFE:

    • USCIS may issue an RFE if the submitted application or petition lacks required documents, contains incomplete information, or raises concerns that need clarification.
  • Contents of an RFE:

    • An RFE typically outlines the specific issues or deficiencies in the application.
    • It includes a detailed explanation of what USCIS is requesting and the deadline for submitting the requested evidence.
  • Response Timeframe:

    • USCIS usually sets a specific deadline by which the applicant must respond to the RFE. The response deadline is crucial, and missing it could result in the denial of the application.
  • Submission of Evidence:

    • The applicant is responsible for gathering the requested evidence and submitting it to USCIS within the specified timeframe.
  • Addressing RFE Requests:

    • It’s important to carefully review the RFE and address each of the requested items thoroughly.
    • Respond in a clear and organized manner, providing all necessary documentation to support your case.
  • Consult Professionals if Needed:

    • If you’re unsure about how to respond to an RFE or need assistance in gathering the required evidence, consider seeking advice from an immigration attorney or qualified expert.
  • Impact on Processing Time:

    • Responding to an RFE can extend the processing time of your application. Once USCIS receives your response, they will review it and make a decision.
  • No Guarantee of Approval:

    • Submitting additional evidence in response to an RFE does not guarantee approval of your application. USCIS will evaluate the new information before making a decision.
  • Regularly Check Mail

    and Online Account:

    • USCIS will send the RFE notice by mail. Additionally, if you have an online USCIS account, you may receive notifications there.
  • Maintain Clear Communication:

  • If you need more time to respond to the RFE, you may request an extension. It’s important to communicate with USCIS if you need additional time.

Remember that each immigration case is unique, and the RFE process can vary based on the type of application and specific circumstances. Always follow the instructions provided in the RFE notice and refer to the official USCIS website for the most accurate and up-to-date information. If you receive an RFE, it’s advisable to address it promptly and thoroughly to ensure the best possible outcome for your application.

How to prepare a response to RFE?

Preparing a well-structured and thorough response to a Request for Evidence (RFE) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is crucial to address any deficiencies or questions in your immigration application. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to prepare response to RFE:

  • Read the RFE Thoroughly:

    • Carefully review the RFE notice to understand exactly what USCIS is requesting. Pay close attention to the specific documents, information, or explanations they are seeking.
  • Create an Organized Plan:

    • Create a plan to address each issue raised in the RFE. Make a checklist of the requested documents and information.
  • Gather Required Evidence:

    • Collect all the documents, records, and evidence requested in the RFE notice.
    • Ensure that all documents are accurate, up-to-date, and complete.
  • Draft a Cover Letter:

    • Begin your response with a cover letter that clearly states your name, case number, and the reason for your response (addressing the RFE).
    • Summarize the contents of your response, making it easy for USCIS to understand what you are submitting.
  • Address Each RFE Request:

    • Create a separate section or document for each item or issue raised in the RFE.
    • Clearly label each section with a heading corresponding to the RFE request.
  • Provide Clear Explanations:

    • For any explanations or clarifications required, use clear and concise language.
    • If there were any misunderstandings or errors in your original application, correct them and provide accurate information.
  • Organize Documents:

    • Arrange the documents in the same order as listed in the RFE notice.
    • Use tabs or dividers to separate sections, making it easy for USCIS officers to locate the information they need.
  • Create an Index:

    • Include an index at the beginning of your response, listing all the documents you are submitting and their corresponding page numbers.
  • Number Pages:

    • Number each page of your response to ensure that no pages are lost or misplaced.
  • Include a Table of Contents:

    • If your response is extensive, consider including a table of contents to help USCIS officers navigate through your submission.
  • Follow Formatting Guidelines:

    • Follow any specific formatting guidelines mentioned in the RFE notice or USCIS instructions.
  • Provide Translations:

    • If any of the documents you are submitting are not in English, include certified translations.
  • Check for Accuracy:

    • Double-check all documents and information for accuracy and consistency.
  • Retain Copies:

    • Make copies of your complete response, including all documents and the cover letter, for your records.
  • Submit On Time:

    • Ensure that you submit your response by the deadline specified in the RFE notice. If you need more time, request an extension in writing.
  • Use Certified Mail or Delivery Confirmation:

    • Send your response using a secure method that provides proof of delivery, such as certified mail or a delivery confirmation service.
  • Document


    • Keep proof of the date and method of delivery, as well as any tracking information.
  • Track Progress:

    • Keep track of the progress of your case online using your USCIS account if available.

Remember that each RFE response is unique, and the specifics can vary based on the nature of your case. Always follow the instructions provided in the RFE notice and consider seeking guidance from an immigration attorney or expert if you are unsure about any aspect of your response. An effective response increases your chances of a favorable outcome in your immigration application.

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