Requests for Evidence
Requests for Evidence (RFEs) - I-797 requests for additional information - are typically issued when an examiner is uncertain of the merits, or a desired piece of information is missing. Follow the instructions on the form and respond within the designated time. Generally, the service centers move quickly once they receive an RFE response. Some RFEs simply seek additional information, information the petitioner might have done well to provide in the first place. Others will give the petitioner some insight into the thinking of the examiner in question. If the examiner seems adverse to the petition, consider retaining immigration counsel.
Note that when responding to the service center, petitioners should enclose a copy of the RFE that was issued on top of the information requested. Responses which do not include the RFE cover sheet could delay any subsequent review of the filing. In addition, any delay in getting information to the file could mean that a final decision or a no response denial may be issued in error.
New guidance issued to USCIS petition reviewers on June 9, 2021 emphasizes that visa officers should only issue requests for additional evidence when absolutely necessary.
To avoid an RFE, petitioners should always be careful when assembling the required elements of a visa petition.