What Does USCIS Case Status “Request for Additional Evidence” Mean for My Sibling 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 sibling green card case and ensure you’re eligible. 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 Sibling Green Card Application?

After you submit a sibling green card application, you can check on its status online through the USCIS account portal. You can also use this tool to see when USCIS needs you to do something, such as providing additional information. If you see a notification that says, “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent,” the agency needs additional information before it can continue processing your sibling’s green card application.

Keep inmind that your case status might be worded slightly differently, such as “Request for Initial Evidence Was Sent (or Mailed).” Common situations that might give rise to a request for additional evidence include:

  • Not providing sufficient information for USCIS to determine your sibling’s green card eligibility

  • Lacking proof of legal entry into the United States

  • Missing properly translated documents

  • Unusual circumstances

Besides getting your request for evidence case status notification online, you’ll also receive a notice in the mail with Form-797E: Notice of Action. It’ll take longer to receive than seeing your status online, but it provides more information about the request for additional evidence.

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

The short answer is no, a request for evidence doesn’t mean USCIS denied your sibling green card application. But if you fail to comply with the request for more evidence from USCIS, it could lead to a denial. In addition to providing the requested information to USCIS, you’ll also need to do so by the deadline set out in Form I-797E.

In contrast, the USCIS denying your sibling’s green card application is a far more serious problem. A case denial means USCIS believes your sibling isn’t eligible to receive a green card.

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

The first thing you should do is carefully read Form I-797E and make sure you understand what it’s asking. This form contains four parts:

  • The law that relates to USCIS’s request for additional evidence.

  • A list of the information you’ve already provided.

  • A list of the information USCIS still needs.

  • The deadline to respond to the request for evidence.

The second thing you should do is make note of the deadline to get the additional evidence to USCIS. Failing to get the requested information to USCIS by the deadline could result in a denial of your sibling green card application. There are two things to know about this deadline.

First, this is the deadline by which USCIS must receive the documents and information, not when the documents need to be postmarked. Second, you should get the evidence to USCIS as fast as possible. Until USCIS receives the evidence, it won’t do anything with the sibling green card application.

How Do I Reply to a Request for Evidence (RFE)?

After you receive the notice of action, make a list of the information and documents you need to provide to properly respond to the RFE. If you need to send a document, make a copy and hold on to the original unless USCIS specifically requests an original. If you must send an original but aren’t comfortable with submitting your only copy to USCIS, see if there are alternative documents that USCIS will accept that you’re more comfortable with mailing.

The exact process of responding to a request for evidence from USCIS will be consistent for most people. However, the documents you need to send vary based on the reason for the request for evidence.

For example, USCIS might send a request for evidence to supplement Form I-864: Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA submission that you submitted earlier. This Affidavit of Support shows that you can provide the necessary financial resources to support your sibling when they move to the United States. Another common reason USCIS sends a request for evidence is because certain documents not originally written in English haven’t been properly translated.

Where in the Sibling Green Card Application Process Might I See “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent” as My Status?

If your sibling is already in the United States, say on a work visa, the green card application process largely consists of providing two forms to USCIS: 

  • Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative

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

After submitting either of these documents to USCIS, you may receive an RFE notice. A request for additional evidence request might also appear after filing an optional form for an immigration benefit, such as after you file Form I-765 to apply for a work permit.

If your sibling is living outside the United States, they’ll apply for a green card using consular processing, which follows a modified green card application process. However, if you get a request for additional evidence or documentation, it’ll likely come after submitting Form I-130 to USCIS or DS-260 to the National Visa Center (NVC).

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

Possibly. The precise answer depends on your sibling’s situation and the reason for the additional evidence request. If you receive the request for additional evidence and it’s relatively clear what USCIS needs from you and why, then you likely don’t need an immigration attorney.

But if your sibling’s green card is an unusual case with extenuating circumstances, or you don’t understand what USCIS needs from you or your sibling, then it might be worth spending the time and money to hire an attorney. This could be money and time well spent if it prevents USCIS from denying your sibling’s green card application.

How Do I Know if USCIS Received My RFE Response?

You can confirm that USCIS got the documents and information you sent by checking your case status. The easiest way to do this is by checking the USCIS Case Status Online tracker. To use this tool, you’ll need your receipt number. You can find this number in Form I-797C: Notice of Action, which you should have received after you originally submitted the application for which you’re providing additional evidence. 

Once you log in to your USCIS account, you can see all the current case status updates, including an update that should appear soon after USCIS receives your request for evidence (RFE) submission. It’ll most likely appear as “Request for Evidence Was Received” when checking your case status online.

Any other updates, including whether USCIS wants more information or documentation from you, will also show up in the USCIS Case Status Online tracker. If you don’t want to use this online tool, that’s okay. USCIS will also mail you written confirmation after they get your RFE response.