After you submit a petition or application to USCIS, they may respond in a number of ways. Sometimes, they use requests for evidence (RFE) and notices of intent to deny (NOID) to alert you to problems with your application or petition. Both of these hurdles can be successfully overcome, especially with the help of an experienced immigration attorney. Allow us to answer your most common questions about requests for evidence (RFE) and notices of intent to deny (NOID).
A request for evidence is USCIS’s notice that your petition is missing evidence that they need to decide your petition or application. The RFE will tell you what evidence or kind of evidence is missing. You must respond timely to these requests. RFEs are increasingly common in any and every type of filing from employment-based non-immigrant visa filings to U Visa or special immigrant status filings.
A notice of intent to deny informs you of defects that are serious enough that USCIS is considering denying your petition or application. It also requires a timely response and may result in denial if the applicant or petitioner cannot adequately address the issues set forth in the NOID.
While a request for evidence tells you that the USCIS cannot evaluate your petition or application in its current form, a NOID is more serious and tells you that USCIS can deny your petition or application in its current form. Usually, this means that you don’t meet the criteria for the visa, green card, or adjustment of status for which you applied. Most importantly, the timeline for responding is different. A NOID usually only permits 33 days for a response, while an RFE usually permits approximately 87 days. The deadline for response will be stated clearly on the RFE or NOID.
New policy has been implemented which grants USCIS the ability to simply deny any petition or application that is missing substantial information or that, in its current form, does not meet the standard of proof necessary for the visa type. While prior to September 1, 2018, USCIS would have issued either an RFE or NOID to these applicants, your request may now be denied outright. This can have serious consequences and as a result, requires competent, legally sufficient filings initially.
Contact a competent immigration attorney immediately. Do not respond partially to the RFE or noiD before speaking with an immigration attorney. Once USCIS receives a partial response or partial evidence, they may issue a denial based on the limited evidence they received. Many RFEs or NOIDs can be overcome with the assistance of competent counsel, but not all. The earlier you are able to receive good legal advice on whether or how to respond, the more likely you are to prevail with USCIS.
If you do not respond before the deadline, or if you respond inadequately to USCIS’ request, your application or petition will be denied.
In certain circumstances, you can appeal a denial, although not all denied petitions permit appeal. Sometimes, you may move to reopen the case for adjudicator error or have USCIS reconsider your petition in light of new evidence or law. Sometimes, the only option is to apply for a new visa type.
Requests for evidence (RFE) and notices of intent to deny (NOID) may be stressful. Even if you’ve done your best to determine your eligibility and send the proof USCIS requests, you may make simple errors that have unfortunate consequences. Call us today.