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 case and ensure you’re eligible for an EB-5 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 ImmigrationHelp Team.
Written December 14, 2022
My USCIS Case Status Says “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent.” What Does That Mean for My EB-5 Application?
If you are applying for a work visa, including as part of an EB-5 petition, you may see a “Request for Additional Evidence” status on your USCIS account. This means that USCIS needs more information before it can finish processing your application and determine your eligibility. USCIS will also mail you Form I-797E as an official notice (notice of action) to explain the request for evidence (RFE).
USCIS usually issues an RFE if you haven’t submitted all the required evidence or the evidence that you submitted does not establish your eligibility for an EB-5 green card. You may be missing proof of legal entry in the United States or the translation of a document. If you receive a notice requesting additional evidence, the good news is that USCIS has not denied your EB-5 application, without hiring a lawyer.
Sometimes USCIS uses different wording for this status, such as “Request for Additional Evidence Was Mailed” or a “Request for Initial Evidence Was Sent (or Mailed).” These notices all mean the same thing.
Does a Request for Evidence Mean My EB-5 Application Was Denied?
No, it just means USCIS needs more information.
When USCIS denies an EB-5 application, it means that it received and reviewed your application but determined that you don’t qualify for an EB-5 green card. When USCIS sends you an RFE, it means that it doesn’t have enough evidence to make a decision about your eligibility for a green card.
It’s important to remember that you only have a limited amount of time to respond to an RFE. If you don’t reply with the information requested by USCIS by the deadline on the notice of action (Form I-797E), USCIS will likely deny your EB-5 application.
What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent” for My EB-5 Case?
If your case status indicates that USCIS sent you a request for evidence, you should prepare a response. Before you reply, you need to understand what specific information the RFE is requesting. The RFE will list any evidence that you have already submitted before listing the evidence that is missing. Take time to review the list of evidence that USCIS claims you submitted. It may have failed to list something that you included with your application. If so, contact USCIS immediately and ask it to again review the documents that you submitted with your application.
You must reply by the deadline stated in the notice. The USCIS office listed in your notice must receive your RFE packet reply before or on this deadline. If your reply is postmarked by the deadline but USCIS receives it after the deadline, USCIS will consider your reply late. .
In addition to requesting evidence, an RFE (Form I-797E) should contain information about:
Any eligibility requirement that you have failed to establish
Any reason why the evidence submitted is insufficient
Any missing evidence that is specifically required by statute, regulation, or a form’s instructions
Examples of additional evidence that may be submitted to establish eligibility
If you need help responding to an RFE, you can speak with an independent attorney for $24/month with our Ask an Attorney program. A lawyer may be especially helpful in making sure that you meet the RFE’s deadline. This could mean the difference between the approval and denial of your application for a green card.
How Do I Reply to a Request for Evidence?
It’s important to organize your reply to an RFE, especially since you’re subject to a deadline. It’s a good idea to take the following basic steps when replying to an RFE:
Read your Notice of Action (Form I-797E).
Copy your Notice of Action (Form I-797E).
Determine what USCIS is requesting.
Gather the evidence that contains the requested information.
Photocopy this evidence or find an acceptable alternative (unless USCIS specifically requires the original document). Also, be sure to get a certified translation of any documents that aren’t in English.
Assemble a reply packet.
Mail the RFE reply packet so that USCIS receives it by the deadline stated in your Notice of Action (Form I-797E).
While the process of responding to an RFE is always the same, the information and supporting documentation needed will vary based on the reason USCIS sent you the RFE.
Since you are applying for an EB-5 green card, you must provide information about your investment in a lawful business. This may include a long list of legal and financial documents. The process of gathering and organizing this information may be complicated. If you don’t submit it completely or correctly, USCIS may send you an RFE.
Where in the EB-5 Application Process Might I See “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent” as My Status?
Requests for evidence are most commonly issued after you submit official USCIS forms as part of your application process. This can be the EB-5 green card petition (Form I-526) or a petition for your family members (Form I-130). You may also get an RFE after filing Form I-485 for an adjustment of status (if you’re applying from within the U.S.) or Form DS-260 if you’re applying through consular processing.
Keep reading for a brief review of these forms and the EB-5 filing process.
The First Step: File Form I-526 and/or Form I-130
File Form I-526 by mail using the correct direct filing address. This form requires you to attach specific forms of evidence. These are described in the form’s instructions. You must file Form I-130 if you want to obtain a family green card for a spouse, child, parent, or sibling you wish to accompany you in the U.S. as a legal permanent resident.
The Second Step: File Form DS-260 or Form I-485
If you are currently legally present in the United States, you must file Form I-485 to apply to adjust your status to a conditional permanent resident. If you are living overseas, you must file DS-260 to get an EB-5 visa before applying for admission to the United States.
Do I Need an Immigration Attorney To Help With a Request for Evidence?
It depends. You may need an immigration attorney to help you with an RFE. If you are applying for an EB-5 card, you may already have an attorney, which should help prevent you from getting an RFE in the first place. But each case is different. What to do if you receive an RFE and whether you need a lawyer if you don’t already have one depends on the unique circumstances of your case.
If your case is relatively clear-cut and you know how to get the information that USCIS wants, you probably can proceed successfully without a lawyer. If your case contains numerous issues, or just some that are unusual or complicated, you may want legal advice. Also, if you don’t understand the RFE or how to find the requested evidence, you may want to hire an attorney.
You typically only get one chance to respond to an RFE. If you do something incorrectly, USCIS may deny your EB-5 application. ImmigrationHelp.org offers our Ask an Attorney program, through which you can speak with an immigration lawyer for $24/month.
How Do I Know if USCIS Received My RFE Response?
After you reply to an RFE and USCIS receives it, you’re likely to see your case status updated to “Response To USCIS' Request For Evidence Was Received.”
Keep checking your case status for updates to learn about the progress of your case and whether USCIS needs you to provide any additional information for your application to proceed.
ImmigrationHelp.org can help you understand what your case status means and what you need to do next to get your application reviewed. If you have questions about your application, you can get them answered by independent attorneys for $24/month with our Ask an Attorney program.