What Does the USCIS Case Status “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent” Mean for My VAWA 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 case and ensure you’re eligible for the immigration benefit you applied for. 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 Jonathan Petts
Written February 2, 2023

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

“Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent” is a status you may see on your U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) online account. It means that USCIS has mailed you an official notice requesting more documentation or information to see if you qualify for a green card under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). For example, USCIS may need more proof that you were the victim of battery from your U.S. citizen spouse. This notice is known as Form I-797E. 

You may also see similar statuses such as “Request for Additional Evidence Was Mailed” or “Request for Initial Evidence Was Sent (or Mailed).” These all indicate the same message — that you need to submit more documents. 

Does a Request for Evidence Mean My VAWA Application Was Denied?

No, a request for evidence (RFE) does not mean that USCIS is denying your application. If your case was denied, then USCIS has decided that you do not qualify under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). You would be ineligible to then apply for a green card. However, a request for evidence indicates that USCIS has not made a decision yet and needs more information. 

It is critical to submit the documents that USCIS requests. If you do not follow the steps on the notice of action, Form I-797E, your case will likely be denied. 

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

If your USCIS case status says “Request for Evidence Was Sent,” the most important step is to respond to the request and send in the proper information by the deadline listed. Keep in mind that the deadline is the last day for USCIS to receive your information, not the date you postmark the package. 

To respond to the request for evidence, you need to understand what the document is asking for. Generally, it will have four main components. First, it will cite some parts of U.S. immigration law. Then, it will list the documents USCIS has already received from you. After that, the RFE will indicate which documents the agency still needs from you. Finally, it will provide the deadline for USCIS to receive your information. 

How Do I Reply to a Request for Evidence?

To reply to a request for evidence, first read the notice carefully and make a copy of it, just in case. Then, figure out what information USCIS needs from you and gather those documents. Usually, USCIS will just need photocopies and not the original unless otherwise specified. Finally, put these documents together into one packet and mail it to USCIS in time before the deadline.  

These general steps apply to any request for evidence. However, your individual notice will specify which documents you need. For example, as a VAWA petitioner, you may need to provide additional evidence of the abuse you suffered. This evidence could include reports and affidavits, which are sworn statements, from police, court officials, school administrators, or other employees of social services. If any of your documents are in a language other than English, include a certified translation

Where in the VAWA Application Process Might I See “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent” As My Status?

For the VAWA application process, you will submit Form I-360: Petition for Amerasian, Widow(er), or Special Immigrant. If you are already in the United States, you will also submit Form I-485: Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Along with these forms, you will provide USCIS with supporting documentation. 

You are most likely to receive a request for evidence after submitting your initial Form I-360 and then, after the green card application, Form I-485. Once USCIS gets both sets of forms, it may then request additional evidence to make a decision. 

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

You may or may not need an immigration attorney’s help, depending on your specific case. If your notice is fairly straightforward and you fully understand which documents you need to submit, you can probably fulfill the request for evidence on your own. However, if your case is unusual or you don’t understand what evidence to submit or how to obtain it, then it may be helpful to hire an attorney. If you do not submit the proper evidence, your case may be denied. Usually, USCIS does not give applicants multiple chances to submit the correct information. 

How Do I Know if USCIS Received My RFE Response?

To determine if USCIS received your response, check your online case status on your USCIS account. You can enter your original receipt number from when USCIS first confirmed it received your application. The website will then display your case status. If USCIS received your packet, the status would likely read “Response To USCIS' Request For Evidence Was Received” or another similar message. Afterward, your case status will continue to change as your case progresses. It will reflect if USCIS needs more information from you in the future.