USCIS has been issuing more and more RFEs on U visas. Don’t be scared or give up hope if you receive one. With the right response, your approval should come within in just a few months – I certainly speak from experience.
RFE stands for Request for Evidence. RFEs are issued by USCIS to ask for additional information in a case that has already been filed.
Most of the time, U visa RFEs require an applicant to argue against the government’s interpretation of the law and legal standards on U visa adjudications.
I tend to think that U visa RFEs come in two categories: appropriate and overzealous.
An appropriate RFE says that something major was missing in the original filing, like a complete translation of a birth certificate.
I rarely see this type of RFE because at Klinke Immigration we always make sure all of our filings go out as complete and accurate as possible.
An overzealous RFE is much more common. When I read through them, I often wonder if the adjudicators looked at any of the submitted documents at all, or if they are just brand new to immigration law and need more training. Basically an overzealous RFE is a completely unwarranted request.
This may sound harsh, but I have seen quite a few outlandish RFEs.
Let me give you a few egregious examples from real cases:
(1) RFE: “The affidavit from case manager indicates that she has been assisting you in dealing with your domestic violence issues. She states that you have described your relationship with your husband as mentally, emotionally, physically, and sexually abusive. However, she does not offer any details on this abuse, nor does she describe the events on the day the police came out, although she states you discussed it with her.”
The problem with this RFE is that it sounds as though the USCIS adjudicator will only give sufficient weight to a counselor’s letter if he or she actually witnessed the abuse. This is absolutely the wrong legal standard to use – any credible evidence should be taken into consideration by USCIS.
(2) RFE: “You submitted your own personal statement and hospital records, however, you did not submit any police reports as corroborating evidence for the crime of assault.”
The problem with this RFE is that the originally submitted evidence included a letter from the District Attorney’s Office and a Temporary Restraining Order. These documents were more than sufficient to show that the assault had occurred and been reported, invalidating the necessity for a police report
(3) RFE: “The individual who signed your I-918 Supplement B is not recognized as a person with the authority to sign or who has been delegated the authority to sign.”
The problem with this RFE is that the “unauthorized” person referenced had signed several prior U visa filings that were approved without incident.
Admittedly, USCIS has taken steps to train and retrain officers who have been clearly wrong in the past. However, RFEs continue to be issued for cases where the original filings were thorough, complete and did not require further clarification.
Overzealous RFEs not only create unnecessary work for myself and USCIS, but they also place undue stress and uncertainty on my clients.
While I enjoy arguing with USCIS and winning, the issues presented on many U visa RFEs aren’t arguments we should even be having.
If you have been asked to respond to a U visa RFE and don’t know how to answer, please let us know. We have helped many U visa applicants get their cases approved, simply by making the right argument. Please note, though, that every case is different, and we can never guarantee success for any future cases.