What is the RFE and how should I react to the RFE?
During you visa application, a USCIS adjudication officer will review or visa application. If the adjudication officer feels that something is insufficient in the visa application, the officer may issue an RFE letter. This usually spells delays, but such delays can be overcome.
Common circumstances for issuance of an RFE letter are: unclear descriptions in your application, missing documents in your application, and out-of-date documents or information in your application. The officer may also wish for you to provide an affidavit swearing to the bona fide nature of a relationship at the foundation of your application, or simply evidence of eligibility, vaccination, or birth country.
- As one can see, making a complete and correct first application is the key to avoiding the RFE letter. However, should you receive an RFE letter and feel that you application was correct, please be aware that some RFE letters are issued by mistake. Even if you think your RFE was issued in error, you should treat the requests seriously and respond in full.
- Do not panic. Please also keep in mind that an RFE is better than an NID (Notice of Intent to Deny). The RFE often times just means that an officer needs clarification, while the NID generally means that you must perfect your application or likely face denial.
- Should you receive an RFE letter, please ensure that you respond within the time-frame indicated in the request. If you ignore the time limits, you run a high risk of having your application denied. If you receive a denial, you may have to appeal or move to reopen your denied case. Appeals cost more time and money, and may have limited success.
- Moreover, pay close attention to the instructions and explanation in the RFE. The USCIS may give precise information regarding how to overcome the deficiencies in your application. Before answering, review the requirements of the particular visa, and be sure that you are not only meeting such requirements, but making apparent that you meet such requirements. You should try to organize your answer for the reader, and keep in mind that the reader’s mindset is to not let you in if you do not meet all of the requirements.
- Finally, patience is paramount. With patience comes politeness, and most immigration lawyers agree that a polite answer to an RFE is the safest route. Further, taking the time to make a full and complete response to the RFE, rather than sending your response in pieces, should be far more effective to achieve a positive result from your application.
Most immigration attorneys will provide a consultation free or for a limited fee to discuss your case in more detail.