When you have filed your immigration petition the last thing that you would want to receive from Immigration would be Request for Evidence (RFE) letter, a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) or a Denial letter. However the likelihood of receiving one of these infamous letters from Immigration is quite common. In this month’s article I will briefly explain the reasons why you may have received this letter and answer the most frequently asked questions on this topic.
When you submit your immigration case to USCIS the service center’s job is to ensure that you have filed the correct form with the correct fees. Once the service center has determined that you have done this you will receive a fee receipt document. This document will include your case number, the date that your case was received, and will serve as your receipt for your immigration filing fees. Later on an Immigration Officer will review your case and send you a RFE, NOID, or denial letter.
A “Request for Evidence” letter is Immigration’s request to you to send them additional documentation regarding a certain area of your case. Immigration usually sends this letter when they have reviewed your petition and they have not received all of your required documentation or they have not received enough information to prove that you are eligible for your immigration benefits. In the event that you fail to send your response or you miss Immigration’s deadline, or your response is insufficient, Immigration has the right to deny your case. In some cases Immigration may send you a request for documents that you have already submitted. Nonetheless it is always important to respond to Immigration prior to the deadline and with all of the information that you can submit.
A “Notice of Intent to Deny” letter is not a pleasant letter and requires your immediate attention. Immigration sends this letter when they have determined that you are not eligible for your immigration benefits and they intend to issue a denial letter within 30 days.
A “Denial” letter means that Immigration has determined that you were not eligible for your immigration benefits.
Question 1: I received a “Request for Evidence” letter but the document that Immigration is requesting will take me a long time to get from my country. Can I request an extension of the deadline?
Answer: Unfortunately Immigration is not obligated to give you additional time to submit a document. You should do your best to obtain the document. In the event that you are unable to obtain the document prior to Immigration’s deadline you should submit your timely response to Immigration and submit documentation of all of your efforts to comply with their request. Immigration normally gives anywhere from 30 days to 87 days to submit your response. You can decrease the likelihood of receiving a Request for Evidence letter by ensuring that your petition is complete at filing.
Question 2: Today I received Immigration’s letter that they intend to deny my case. If Immigration is going to deny me why should I even bother to respond?
Answer: If you have received this letter it means that you still have a chance to save your case. In its letter Immigration will usually outline the reasons for their intention. This is great news for you because you will now know exactly what areas you will need to fix in order to receive an approval. This letter is also your last opportunity to provide Immigration with documentation that would show that you are 100% eligible and convince Immigration that your case should be approved despite their intentions.
Question 3: Immigration has denied my case. Can I file an appeal? Should I re-file my case?
Answer: Please know that our Immigration system is not a perfect one and sometimes they do make the wrong decision. In other cases Immigration denies a case because you filed your documents after the deadline or you filed insufficient documents. At this point if you think that Immigration made the wrong decision you should not give up. You have two choices. You can re-file your case with Immigration or you can file an appeal. There are a number of reasons why Immigration may have denied your case. However, before you do anything you should immediately seek legal counsel.
You can read USCIS’ Policy Memorandum on Requests for Evidence and Notice of Intent to Deny at the link below:
If you have received a RFE, NOID, or Denial letter you will need to take quick action. The longer you wait the less time you will have to respond and win your case. If you have questions about this article please call us at 678-736-5600 or send us an email at: [email protected].
The Byars Firm shows their clients the best ways to get their immigration cases approved the FIRST time while reducing processing times and avoiding immigration red flags that result in delays, denials, and deportation.
Disclaimer: This article is a broad overview. This article is not legal advice and should not be taken as legal advice. This article is provided as a public service and is not intended to establish an attorney-client relationship. Any reliance on the information contained herein is taken at your own risk. The information provided in this article should never replace informed counsel when specific immigration-related guidance is needed.
Safiya Byars is the founder and senior partner of the Byars Firm. Attorney Byars serves as the Chair of the Family Immigration Continuing Learning Education and the Vice-Chair of the Immigration Law Section of the State Bar of Georgia. She is a native of Kingston, Jamaica. The Byars firm is located at 3720 Chamblee Dunwoody Road, Suite D2, Chamblee, Georgia 30341. The Byars Firm handles Immigration, Family, and Estate Planning matters. We can be reached at 678-736-5600 and email: [email protected].