What Does USCIS Case Status “Request for Additional Evidence” Mean for My Child Green Card Application?

In a Nutshell

If you log in to your USCIS account online and see the case status “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent,” it means that USCIS needs more information from you to process your child’s green card case and ensure your child is eligible for a green card. USCIS will mail a Form I-797E: Notice of Action that outlines exactly what additional evidence is needed and why. The notice will also include a deadline for submitting the requested information. It’s important to submit the requested information before the deadline to ensure USCIS continues processing your application without too much delay.

Written by Attorney Curtis Lee
Written November 8, 2022

My USCIS Case Status Says “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent.” What Does That Mean for My Child Green Card Application?

After filing a child green card application, USCIS reviews your forms and accompanying documents. Sometimes USCIS will decide that it needs more information from you. When this happens, you’ll see the “Request for additional Evidence” status update. Most likely, you’ll get this notification when using USCIS’s online account portal.

In some cases, the notification might appear a little different. For example, you may see, “Request for Initial Evidence Was Sent” or “Request for Initial Evidence Was Mailed.” In terms of what you need to do — provide more information and/or documents to USCIS — these case status updates mean the same thing.

In addition to notifying you about your child’s green card status change through the online portal, USCIS will also mail you Form-797E: Notice of Action. This official notice will provide detail information about what evidence USCIS needs you to submit.

Does the Request for Evidence Mean My Child Green Card Application Was Denied?

No, it doesn’t. But if you don’t provide the requested information by the deadline as set out in Form I-797E, it could lead to a denial. If USCIS denies your child’s green card request, it means USCIS believes your child isn’t eligible for a green card. In contrast, a request for evidence just indicates that USCIS wants more information from you before it can decide if your child can receive a green card.

What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Request for Evidence Was Sent” for My Child Green Card Case?

Before you do anything, you need to read Form I-797E and make sure you understand what USCIS needs from you. Form I-797E has four sections:

  • The law that applies to the agency’s request for additional evidence

  • The information you’ve already provided

  • The information USCIS still needs

  • The deadline to respond to the request for evidence

Pay close attention to the last two sections on Form I-797E. Provide the requested evidence as fast as possible. Not only does this give you extra time in case something unexpected happens, but it’ll speed up the green card application process. When USCIS sends a request for additional evidence, it stops reviewing the green card application, effectively putting it on hold. 

Important: USCIS must receive the documents by the deadline listed. It is not good enough to have them postmarked on the day of the deadline.

How Do I Reply to a Request for Evidence?

The exact process for responding to a request for evidence is the same for most people. But the documents needed vary depending on the circumstances surrounding your child’s green card application.

For instance, USCIS might need more evidence showing you can financially support your child after they come to the United States. As a result, USCIS may ask you to provide additional documentation to supplement what you already provided with Form I-864: Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA. And if your child green card application contained documents in a language other than English, the request for evidence might relate to the fact that these documents weren’t properly translated.

When gathering the necessary documents to send to USCIS, make a copy of any originals you send in. But don’t send the original unless the request for evidence specifically asks for it. If USCIS needs a document you don’t have or would prefer not to send, see if there’s an acceptable alternative document you can provide instead.

Lastly, reply to the request for evidence before the deadline. This bears repeating because a late submission could lead to a case denial.

Where in the Child Green Card Application Process Might I See an RFE Status?

If your child is already in the United States, the green card application process largely revolves around the following USCIS forms:

  • Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative

  • Form I-485: Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

You’re most likely to receive a request for additional evidence after submitting either of these two forms.

If your child isn’t in the United States, they’ll use consular processing to get a green card. A request for additional evidence status could come up after you submit Form I-130, but it could also come up after submitting DS-260 to the National Visa Center (NVC).

Do I Need an Immigration Attorney To Help With a Request for Evidence?

The answer depends on your situation. Many requests for initial or additional evidence are straightforward, so it’s not usually difficult to understand what USCIS needs and why.

If you don’t understand what USCIS needs or how to provide the information, then you might want to consider talking to an experienced immigration lawyer. A lawyer can help make sure you properly respond to the request for evidence (RFE) to make it less likely your child’s green card application gets denied, rejected, or delayed.

How Do I Know if USCIS Received My RFE Response?

The quickest and easiest way to confirm receipt of your RFE response is to go online. USCIS has an online case tracking tool, but you need your receipt number to use it. You can find this number in the receipt notice (Form I-797C: Notice of Action) you should have received earlier. 

Future notifications and case status updates will also appear in this tracker. For example, if USCIS ends up needing even more information or documents from you, that notification will show up in the online case tracker. If you don’t want to use the online tracker (or can’t), you will also get confirmation that USCIS received your RFE response with a mailed, written letter.