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What is an RFE and why is it so important?

Posted by Giselle Ayala | Oct 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

One of the most common reasons an immigration petition is denied or its review is delayed is due to lack of information, lack of signature in supporting documents, lack of supporting documents, lack of translations, or lack of a memo that explains the case.  If a petition is incomplete or if the immigration officer doing a preliminary review finds that more information is required he will issue an RFE or Request for Evidence, and the petition won't be complete until said request has been answered. 

An RFE is a formal request. If the petitioner and the beneficiary of an immigration case are represented by counsel the RFE will be sent to the attorney and a copy will be sent to the petitioner and the beneficiary. All RFEs are subject to a deadline or time limit. As a consequence, if a person is not represented by counsel he/she must be very diligent and careful when answering the RFE. Even the smallest mistake could jeopardize an immigration petition or delay it come that it was initially expected. It is important to keep in mind that until the RFE is answered and all the documentation is received, a petition is not deemed as properly filed. This can result in a problem if a person is subject to a deadline. For example, if a person needs to file an extension of stay before the expiration of the I-94.

Additionally, when it comes to requests for evidence it is also important to remember that all immigration petitions are discretionary, there is no mandatory result. Therefore, each immigration petition must be carefully studied before submission, all documents should be reviewed twice and all (or at least the most common) problems should be considered in advance.

Finally, when preparing an immigration application, it is possible that the petitioner or the beneficiary don't have all the documents that the law considers as primary evidence, those documents which are the "best". If this the case, a lawyer can help the parties develop a strategy that allows proving the basis of the case as well as the supporting facts.

If you have a pending immigration petition and you received an RFE the Law Office of Giselle Ayala Mateus can help you draft an accurate and complete answer.  Considering that all RFE are subject to a deadline the sooner you contact our office, the better it will be. 

About the Author

Giselle Ayala

Giselle Ayala Mateus is a NY attorney with comprehensive experience in transactional law, creative agreements, business formation, and immigration law. She is also the founder of Focus Juridico a not-for-profit project focused on supporting Latin American entrepreneurs and artists.

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