Receiving a Request for Evidence (RFE) from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) during your I-924 or I-526 adjudication process can be nerve-racking. If you fail to respond adequately, your petition could be denied, so you must carefully read the USCIS RFE letter and meticulously follow all the instructions it lays out. In general, the best course of action is to consult EB-5 professionals who can ensure your RFE response appropriately answers USCIS’s questions.
What Is an RFE?
USCIS typically sends out an RFE if your petition contains insufficient evidence for an adjudication. Reasons one might receive an RFE include missing documentation, unclear information, or discrepancies. A USCIS RFE differs from a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID) in that it does not mean your petition is likely to be denied. If you provide the requested information in your RFE response, your petition will likely proceed smoothly.
To help you craft a response that adequately answers USCIS’s questions, RFEs come with detailed information about why you are receiving the RFE, any missing documentation or evidence needed for adjudication, and examples of evidence you can include in your RFE response to meet the requirements. It is recommended that you consult EB-5 professionals to make sure you are following the instructions appropriately. The EB5AN team has extensive experience working with USCIS and RFEs and understands how to best respond to these requests.
Why Might You Receive an RFE?
There are numerous reasons why you might receive a USCIS RFE. You might receive an RFE for an I-924 petition to open a new regional center if the evidence you provided does not adequately prove the leadership team’s qualifications, support the operational plan and the assumptions driving revenue and spending, demonstrate the economic impact of the project, or show the credibility of your business plan.
Another type of USCIS RFE is one concerning project-related questions about a project’s I-924 petition for exemplar designation or an investor’s I-526 petition. Areas your RFE response may need to address if you receive this type of RFE include the source of non-EB-5 funds in the project, the lack of an enclosed market study, or insufficient support for the project.
The final type of USCIS RFE one might receive is an investor-oriented RFE. These RFEs are issued for I-526 petitions and ask questions at the investor level about, for example, the source of the investor’s EB-5 funds, the path of the investor’s funds to the project, and the investor’s personal background. Investors may have to include both project-level and investor-level answers and evidence in their RFE responses, depending on the questions they receive.
How to Respond to an RFE
Receiving an RFE can be frightening, but the first step is to keep calm and carefully read through the USCIS RFE. Sometimes, USCIS sends out RFEs about missing documentation, when in reality, they simply overlooked the documentation in the original petition. In these cases, acknowledge that USCIS can make mistakes too and simply resubmit the evidence in your RFE response.
In other cases, it can be difficult to know how to formulate your RFE response, particularly if USCIS’s concerns are related to the project, such as a lack of credible data or incorrect financial projections. If you aren’t sure what evidence can appropriately address USCIS’s concerns, please contact us. Our team are experts in the USCIS RFE process and can help you craft an RFE response to USCIS’s liking.
It is also important to bear the deadline in mind. The deadline is always indicated on a USCIS RFE and is typically between 30 and 90 days. The deadline refers to the date USCIS receives your RFE response and not the date on which you send it, so be sure to send it long enough in advance, and send it via priority or certified mail to prove that USCIS received it by the deadline. If you miss the deadline, your petition will likely be denied, so reach out to our experienced team of EB-5 experts as soon as possible to start working on your RFE response. We will guide you through the process so that you can submit a professional, well-organized RFE response that succinctly addresses all the points of concern well before the deadline.