What Does USCIS Case Status “Request for Additional Evidence” Mean for My Form I-140?

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 case and ensure you’re eligible for an employment-based 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 Form I-140 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 Form I-140 Application?

USCIS uses this case status to inform you that it needs more information to determine your green card eligibility. If USCIS requests additional evidence, it will also send you an official Form I-797E: Notice of Action by mail further explaining the request. You can also check your account status on your USCIS account online.

You may get a request for evidence (RFE) if you failed to submit all the required evidence for your Form I-140 or if the evidence you submitted doesn’t establish your eligibility for an employment-based green card. There are many scenarios where USCIS may need more evidence to make this determination. 

It’s better to receive an RFE than a denial notice. A denial indicates that USCIS has reviewed your application and decided not to approve it. When USCIS requests additional evidence, it needs more information to continue reviewing your case to see if you qualify for an employment-based green card. 

You may receive some notices that slightly differ in language but have similar meanings. A “Request for Additional Evidence Was Mailed” and a “Request for Initial Evidence Was Sent (or Mailed)” are some examples.

Does a Request for Evidence Mean My Form I-140 Application Was Denied?

If you receive a “Request for Additional Evidence” status update, it means USCIS needs more information for your employment-based green card application, but it does not mean that USCIS denied your application. USCIS only denies applications after it has received all the necessary evidence to review an application. An RFE is simply a notice from USCIS that it doesn’t have enough information yet to determine whether you qualify for a green card. 

That said, USCIS may deny your application if you don’t reply by the deadline listed in the RFE.

What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Request for Evidence Was Sent” for My Form I-140 Case?

As soon as you discover that USCIS has made a status change and requested additional evidence, carefully prepare your response. The first and most important step is determining what information USCIS wants from you. The RFE may request any evidence that a USCIS officer will need to determine your eligibility. The notice will also clearly state the deadline for your response.

The RFE should list the evidence you’ve already submitted as well as information about any eligibility requirements that you failed to establish. It will explain why the evidence that you submitted doesn’t adequately establish eligibility. The RFE will also identify what missing evidence is specifically required by law or the form’s instructions. The RFE will provide examples of evidence that you can submit to prove you qualify for an employment-based green card.

The notice states the deadline for replying to the RFE. The maximum time for responding to an RFE is 12 weeks (84 days) Your RFE response packet must reach the USCIS field office before or on the deadline. A reply that is postmarked before the deadline but received after the deadline is not a timely returned response. 

How Do I Reply to a Request for Evidence?

If you receive an RFE, you must plan your response so that you collect any requested information and have it ready to send by the deadline. The following are useful steps to take:

  1. Carefully read your Notice of Action (Form I-797E).

  2. Copy your Notice of Action (Form I-797E). 

  3. Determine what evidence USCIS is requesting.

  4. Collect this evidence.

  5. Make photocopies of this evidence or find an acceptable alternative, unless USCIS specifically requires that you provide the original document.

  6. Put together an RFE response packet.

  7. Mail the RFE response packet so that USCIS receives it by the deadline. 

Although the process of putting together a response to an RFE is usually the same, the evidence needed to comply with the RFE will differ depending on the reason you received it. In many situations, you must provide specific information or proof as requested by the RFE. In some cases, you may only need to provide a document translation. Any document containing a foreign language submitted in support of an application must have a full, certified English language translation attached. 

Where in the Form I-140 Application Process Might I See “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent” as My Status?

Where you might see a request for additional evidence depends on which preference category you’re in for an employment-based green card. Your employer will assume the initial part of the application process. If USCIS needs any information at this stage, it will issue an RFE to your employer. Once you file for an adjustment of status, USCIS may issue an RFE to you if you fail to provide the information it needs to determine your eligibility.   

To apply for an EB-1, EB-2, or EB-3 green card, your employer will first petition on your behalf by filing Form I-140. If you're using “extraordinary ability” as the basis for eligibility, you can petition for yourself. After filing this form and later filing Form I-485, you may see this case status requesting additional evidence. It is also common to see this status after filing Form I-130 to apply for green cards for any parent, child, spouse, or sibling

Applying for an employment-based green card requires specific evidence of your achievements to establish your qualifications. This includes specific evidence to meet any required criteria to establish specific qualifications. It is easy to fail to submit this evidence completely or correctly. As a result of these strict and numerous requirements, it is common to receive an RFE.

For EB-2 cards and EB-3 cards, your employer must demonstrate a continuing ability to pay wages. This may cause USCIS to send an RFE to your employer if they fail to provide the required proof in the form of an annual report, federal income tax return, or audited financial statement. 

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

Whether you need an experienced immigration attorney depends on your case. If you receive an RFE, you may be able to reply to the RFE successfully without an attorney. 

If your case is basic and you understand what evidence you need to provide USCIS, you probably don’t need a lawyer. If your case is more complicated and you need help understanding the request or where to get the requested documents, you may want legal assistance.

How Do I Know if USCIS Received My RFE Response?

USCIS will send you a notice in the mail about any change in your case status. You can also track your case status online with your receipt number. Regularly check your USCIS account to track the progress of your application. 

After USCIS receives your RFE response packet, it will update your case status to “Response To USCIS' Request For Evidence Was Received.” USCIS will inform you if it needs any other evidence to complete processing your case.