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All You Need to Know About the H1B Request For Evidence
May 13, 2022
5 mins
An official letter from the US Department of Homeland Security with its logo and the text "US Citizenship and Immigration Services" covered in flags of the United States

In this article, you will read about:

  • An overview of H1B RFE
  • Guide to RFE responses
  • Important things to remember

Besides general information on H1B RFE, you may be interested in an in-depth guide on H1B RFE, including, reasons, types and how to go about an H1B RFE.

The USCIS response to H1B applications commonly consists of approvals, denials, or rejections. But there are also responses called RFE, or requests for evidence. These requests are issued to ask for additional evidence or documentation that the USCIS requires to decide on your application. The RFE does not necessarily indicate rejection of your H1B application. But you need to act quickly and ensure that the documentation or evidence is submitted within the given deadline. Let's take a look at what the H1B RFE is all about in the sections below.

H1B Request for Evidence: An Overview

If the adjudicator reviewing your file needs additional evidence or documentation to reach a decision, they will issue an RFE. You will have to respond with sufficient evidence within the set deadline to avoid getting a rejection for failure to respond appropriately.

Let's take a closer look at the RFE. There are four parts to an RFE:

1. A quotation of the law: The first part of the RFE will contain a quotation from the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). This quotation will contain aspects of US immigration law that relate to the application you submitted.

2. A list of submitted evidence: In this list, the USCIS will include all evidence and documentation they had received from you. Any submitted document that hasn't made it to this list must be re-submitted when filing the RFE response.

3. A list of missing evidence: Carefully review the list of things that have been declared missing. A proper response packet must be submitted to avoid rejection.

4. A deadline for response: The final part of the RFE will be a deadline by which to submit your response. Please take careful note of this deadline and adhere to it to avoid negative outcomes.

What if I can't submit my response within the RFE H1B response time?
If the USCIS doesn't receive a response to the RFE within the deadline, they may respond in one of two ways:

  • Issue a denial with the conclusion that you have abandoned your petition
  • Continue to examine your petition without additional evidence and reach a final decision.

How to avoid an RFE

Responding to an RFE consumes time and energy and causes delays in getting a response to your petition. The best way to avoid getting an RFE on your application is to gather, organize, and submit a complete application file right at the beginning. A few common items that makeup H1B RFE reasons include:

  • Lack of all required initial evidence
  • Absence of document translations
  • Lack of clear records of your sponsor's income
  • Absence of proof that you have entered legally (if the application is for adjustment of status)

Diligently following the instructions on file submission is the only sure way to avoid an RFE.

All About H1B RFE Responses

An H1B petition is primarily filed by the H1B employer and does not include the beneficiary's role. Thus, the RFE is addressed and sent to the employer and not the employee. Regardless of this, the employee can have online access to the RFE and all other parts of the petition. They can do this on the USCIS website by using the case receipt number they can obtain from the petitioner. With this information, the beneficiary can elicit a timely response from the employer and provide any supplementary evidence required.

Types of RFE responses

There are three types of responses to an RFE:

  • Full: Provide a complete file of the requested evidence
  • Partial: Provide some evidence using which the USCIS can make a decision
  • Withdrawal: Refrain from responding and withdraw your application

Responding to RFE notices: The step-wise process

STEP 1: Make a copy
Your first step should be to make a copy of the RFE notice. The original can be filled in and submitted with your response packet, while the copy can be kept for your personal file.

STEP 2: Gather the required documents
The RFE will contain the list of documents you need to submit as evidence in your response. Make sure to submit copies unless original documents have been specifically requested. None of the documents you submit will be returned to you.

STEP 3: Assemble the response package
Prepare your response to the RFE in the order the notice is set in. The original notice should be on the first page. The next attachment should be a cover letter detailing the list of documents you have included in the response.

STEP 4: Mail your response
Complete your file and mail it to the address specified on the RFE notice. Ensure that the correct address is used, regardless of whether it is the same center you sent your H1B application or mailed other documents to.

Things to Remember When Responding to an RFE

  • You must understand all the parts and information in the RFE completely. In case of any confusion, it is best to seek professional help.
  • Receiving an RFE is not a reason to panic. The best move is to treat it exactly as it is - a request for further evidence - and abide by what is requested.
  • Ensure that you give complete responses and full evidence wherever necessary. If your response is incomplete, there is usually no chance of a second RFE to supplement the previous one.
  • Ensure that the original blue paper of the RFE forms the first page of your response. Then use a cover letter to give a gist of your response and list the documents you have attached as evidence.
  • Ensure that you send the right documents and response to the right mailing address. Remember that some requested information, like employee bank statements, may be difficult or time-consuming to obtain. This means that gathering necessary documents must start as soon as you get the RFE.
  • Pay attention to the deadline and make sure that your response is submitted on time. The RFE response time for H1B regular processing is thirty to ninety days and usually not more than twelve weeks.

Also read: A Brief Outlook on the H1B Extension Request for Evidence

The takeaway

Responding to an RFE notice can be complicated. The only way out is to carefully follow the instructions given and seek professional help for things you cannot figure out on your own. Since you have only one go at filing an RFE response, make sure you do it right!

For information about H1B and to explore more on US non-immigrant visas, follow Techfetch H1B.

**Disclaimer: Immigration rules and policies are always subject to change. Please refer to the official USCIS website for the latest news and updates.

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Article by Techfetch H1B team

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