In this blog, we have discussed the following topics:
Besides knowing the meaning and types, it is interesting to take a look at the top 11 reasons for RFE.
The USCIS, or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, is the main decision-maker for most US visas. It is an agency of the US Department of Homeland Security that approves, rejects, and denies petitions. Sometimes, the USCIS also sends RFEs or Requests for Evidence.
When your employer, the H1B petition applicant, receive an RFE, the USCIS wants additional information to help them make a decision on your H1B petition. Since the USCIS requires ample evidence of the employer-employee relationship, it may request more information from your H1B employer to further process your petition.
Is an H1B RFE important? Yes, it is. Your employer should immediately act on an RFE if he receives one. An RFE is mostly used to help the USCIS determine if you are eligible enough to receive your H1B visa. You should note one important point: Receiving an RFE from the USCIS does not mean denial of your H1-B visa. However, your employer must act immediately and send the requested additional information on time so that your visa processing is not delayed. In short, your employer's response to an RFE determines the outcome of your H1B petition.
Mentioned below are the most common H1B RFE reasons. Please note that these are the reasons that are cited often, although there could be more reasons for receiving an H1B request for additional evidence.
1. Dissimilar Information on VIBE System
The VIBE system stands for Validation Instrument for Business Enterprise system. Any mismatched information regarding a change of workplace structure or error in the address reflected in the VIBE system calls for an RFE. The USCIS may ask for your wage reports and other additional information.
2. Issues with LCA
The H1B Labor Condition Application is the first and foremost document required for your H1B petition. You will definitely receive an RFE if your employer has forgotten to include it or not properly filled in the required details.
3. Request for H1B Extension or Change of Status
Maintaining your H1B status is a top priority, and for the same, you must document any change or extension. You must submit all proof required for an extension or Change of Status. Similarly, F1 holders must have ample proof of class attendance to prove they completed their education before applying for an H1B visa.
4. Employee-Employer relationship
The USCIS requires enough proof of an existing employee-employer relationship to approve an H1B petition. USCIS may request more information in an RFE to establish that the employer controls and supervises the beneficiary, especially if you work off-site.
5. Issues in the itinerary
You must include a detailed description of your job duties, the duration of the jobs, and your itinerary requirements in your H1-B petition if your job requires relocation or multiple itinerary changes. You will receive an H1B visa RFE if this information is not provided.
6. Non-typical industries
Sometimes, H1B employers running small businesses may hire foreign workers whose job skills are not associated with their business. In such cases, the USCIS may doubt that the employee is not in a specialty occupation and is being employed in a job that requires less of their special skills. The USCIS may also feel that the employee may find other jobs after arriving in the US. Under such circumstances, the employer must have ample evidence to prove that the employee is working in a specialty occupation.
7. H1B employee's qualifications
As an H1B petitioner, your employer must submit proof that you have a bachelor's degree. The USCIS may send an RFE if your educational qualification doesn't relate to your job. Your employer can submit reference letters and other documents from previous employers to prove the relevance.
8. Specialty Occupation and Level 1 Wages
There are four levels of wages based on each occupation. USCIS may raise an H1B specialty occupation RFE if it only qualifies for level 1 (entry-level) wage. The designation of a job as level 1 may disqualify the H1B applicants' professionalism and the position's specialty. Several H1B RFEs are based on this reason in pending cases.
Let's now look at the RFEs issued for different visa applications.
1. RFE in H1B Visa
When the USCIS requires additional evidence to decide on an H1B case, it will send forth a Request for Evidence. Your employer can check online with the case status tool if there are any outstanding RFEs. Your employer may also receive the RFE by mail.
2. F1 OPT RFE
If applying for F1 OPT, your employer must ensure that Form I-765 is completely filled without any mistakes and that it carries all the required documents.
3. H4 RFE
Your H4 application may be rejected for various reasons, and it may differently impact your attempts at immigrating to the US. The RFE may be issued because the H4 is a dependent visa based on the H1B holder.
There is no reason to panic or get flustered when receiving an RFE. All your employer needs to do is:
What is the RFE Processing Timeline?
Once your employer receives an RFE, he has a 90-day window to gather the required documents, verify them and send them to the USCIS. Care must be taken to ensure all the required paperwork is provided to USCIS so that the visa petition is not delayed any further.
In 2015, the RFE rate was 10% to 30%. However, the RFE rate increased to 60% in 2019. The petition approval has also decreased from 90% to 75% in 2022.
To apply for a new petition or extend or transfer your H1B petition, your employer must submit Form I-129 to the USCIS. This is the same form your employer must send to open the case for an RFE.
Since the presidential administration has been closely monitoring H1B petitions in recent years, the RFE rate for H1B petitions has also increased.
An RFE does not mean bad news from the USCIS. It does not mean that your visa process will be affected as long as your employer submits the requested information to the USCIS as soon as possible. The nature of an RFE may be quite complex. Hence we suggest consulting your immigration attorney for guidance with the process. You may also reach out to the expert team at TechFetch H1B for additional information for all US non-immigration visas.
**Disclaimer: All H1B processes are subject to change. Kindly refer to the USCIS official website for more information.