Request For Evidence

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Overview

A Request for Evidence (RFE) is most appropriate when a particular piece or pieces of necessary evidence are missing, and the highest quality RFE is one that limits the request to the missing evidence. Generally it is unacceptable to issue a RFE for a broad range of evidence when, after review of the record so far, only a small number of types of evidence is still required.

Approval or Denial of an Application or Petition without RFE or NOID Issuance

An application or petition may be approved or denied without a request for evidence or notice of intent to deny in the following instances:

* Denial with Evidence of Clear Ineligibility

Inability to meet a basic statutory or regulatory requirement includes circumstances where the evidence submitted by the applicant or petitioner clearly establishes that the filing is categorically ineligible for approval.

Inability to meet a basic statutory or regulatory requirement also includes circumstances where the evidence submitted clearly establishes that a substantive requirement cannot be met.

In all such instances, the petition or application may be denied, without issuance of a RFE or NOID, based on evidence of clear ineligibility, in that additional evidence or explanation could not perfect the filing. Even if initial evidence is missing, a denial without RFE or NOID maybe possible.

* Record is Complete and Case is Approvable

The other end of the spectrum is a case in which all of the required evidence has been submitted, and the case is approvable. An applicant or petitioner must establish eligibility for the requested benefit, but when eligibility has been established, the case should be approved. If the record is complete with respect to all of the required initial evidence as specified in the regulations and on the application or petition and accompanying instructions, the USCIS adjudicator is not required to issue a RFE to obtain further documentation to support an approval based on that record.

* Issuance of a RFE or NOID

In all other instances, such as when the evidence raises underlying questions regarding eligibility or does not fully establish eligibility, issuance of a RFE or NOID is possible.

USCIS adjudicators must recognize customers find procedures and requirements sometimes difficult to follow, and denial of a case that ultimately could have been approved can cause significant delay and inconvenience to a customer. Therefore, unless the case is clearly ineligible for approval (i.e., denial decision) or the filer has demonstrated eligibility by the preponderance of evidence without special cause for concern (i.e., approval decision), adjudicators normally should issue a RFE or a NOID, whichever is more appropriate. The amount of time USCIS adjudicators must give for a response to a RFE or NOID are currently dictated to some extent by regulations.

* RFE

A RFE is most appropriate when a particular piece or pieces of necessary evidence are missing, and the highest quality RFE is one that limits the request to the missing evidence. Generally it is unacceptable to issue a RFE for a broad range of evidence when, after review of the record so far, only a small number of types of evidence is still required. "Broad brush" RFEs tend to generate "broad brush" responses (and initial filings) that overburden our customers, over-document the file, and waste examination resources through the review of unnecessary, duplicative, or irrelevant documents.

* NOID

A NOID is more appropriate than a RFE when initial evidence is predominantly present, but: the filing does not appear to establish eligibility by the preponderance of the evidence;

References

Policy and Procedural Memoranda on Requests for Evidence
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