What Is a USCIS Request For Evidence?
When applying for a green card through marriage, the USCIS requires evidence that the marriage is bona fide, meaning it is a genuine and legitimate marriage and not entered into solely to obtain immigration benefits. If the USCIS determines that there is not enough evidence to establish a bona fide marriage, a USCIS Request for Evidence (RFE) will ask for additional evidence supporting the legitimacy of the marriage. This is not uncommon, and it does not necessarily mean that the application will be denied. It simply means that the USCIS needs more information to make a decision on the application.
Although an RFE does not mean the application for a green card marriage will be denied, it is important to submit the requested documentation quickly and in an organized manner. In the request, USCIS will include a list of documentation required for the continuation of the application. Also in the request from USCIS, there will be a deadline for submitting additional documentation. It is important to keep this deadline.
To check the status of your green card marriage application, visit the USCIS website.
Did you know that a student on a J-1 visa can also apply for a marriage green card?
What Additional Evidence may be Required on my Green Card Marriage Application?
The USCIS may administer an RFE for a variety of reasons. Below are the most common reasons for an RFE.
- Lack of Evidence: USCIS does not have enough evidence to confirm the validity of the marriage. Additional evidence requested may be:
- Joint financial records
- Bank statements
- Credit card statements
- Tax returns
- Joint household bills
- Electricity bills
- Water bills
- Gas bills
- Cell-phone bills
- Joint ownership
- Mortgage or rental agreements
- Joint insurance policies
- Health insurance
- Car insurance
- Photos of the couple together with family or friends, especially photos taken during important events or milestones
- Evidence of joint travel
- Airline tickets
- Hotel reservations
- Evidence of joint memberships
- Gym memberships
- Club memberships
- Store memberships (Cotsco, Sam’s Club, Amazon)
- Document Translation: All copies of documentation must be translated into English. If the previously submitted documentation is not submitted in English, an RFE may be administered.
- Missing Proof of Legal Entry: The spouse seeking a green card must submit a stamped copy of their passport as well as a copy of the I-94 travel history.
- Insufficient Income: The green card sponsor must provide evidence of sufficient financial resources to support the family in the U.S.
- Incomplete Application: If any part of the green card marriage application is incomplete (such as unchecked boxes, leaving fields incomplete or including incorrect information), USCIS will request resubmission with the missing information.
- Undisclosed Criminal Records: If the applicant did not disclose past criminal activity, or did not submit all of the police and court records of criminal charges, arrests, or convictions, USCIS will request additional forms.
- Vaccination Records: If the applicant did not submit adequate health documentation proving the required vaccinations, the USCIS will request additional information.
How to Respond to Marriage Green Card Request for Evidence
When submitting additional evidence, it is important to organize it in a clear and concise manner. The applicant should provide a cover letter explaining what evidence is being submitted and why it is relevant to the application. It is also helpful to label each piece of evidence with a number or letter and include a table of contents.
If the applicant cannot provide all of the requested evidence by the deadline, they may request an extension. However, it is important to do so as soon as possible and provide a valid reason for the extension request.
Read our post about how to prepare for the marriage green card interview to learn more about the interview process. We also have a guide on common marriage green card interview questions!
USCIS Request For Evidence FAQs
Will receiving an request for evidence from the USCIS delay my green card application?
Yes, receiving an RFE will delay your green card application. You will have a specific deadline to respond to the RFE, and failure to do so may result in the denial of the the application. However, if you respond to the RFE in a timely manner and provide the requested evidence, your application will continue to be processed.
Can I appeal a denied green card application after receiving a request for evidence?
Yes, you can appeal a denied green card application. However, it is important to work with an experienced immigration attorney who can help you understand the appeal process and provide guidance on the best course of action.
Can I avoid receiving an request for evidence?
While there is no guarantee that you will not receive an RFE, you can take steps to ensure that your green card application is as strong as possible. This includes providing as much evidence as possible to establish the validity of your marriage and working with an experienced immigration attorney who can help you prepare a strong application.
What happens if I do not respond to the request for evidence?
If you do not respond to the RFE within the given deadline, your application will be denied. It is important to respond to the RFE as soon as possible and provide the requested evidence.
What is the difference between a Request for Evidence and a Notice of Intent to Deny?
A Request for Evidence does not imply that USCIS intends to deny the applicant, however, if the USCIS sends a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID), it is far more urgent. If you receive a NOID, it means that USCIS reviewed the application and determined that even though the application is complete, the applicant is ineligible to receive the immigration visa. If you receive a NOID, you should contact a immigration attorney immediately.
How long does USCIS take to respond to a marriage green card request for evidence?
The response time for a marriage green card RFE varies depending on the number of applications being processed by USCIS. Generally, the processing time can take anywhere from 15-60 days. If after 60 days you have not heard from USCIS, contact the National Customer Service Center and file a Service Request for an update.
Receiving an RFE can be stressful, but it is common in green card marriage applications. It simply means that the USCIS needs more evidence to make a decision on the application. If you receive an RFE, carefully read the letter and understand what evidence is being requested. Organize the additional evidence in a clear and concise manner, and submit it before the deadline. If you are unable to provide all of the requested evidence by the deadline, you may request an extension with a valid reason.