Increase in Requests for Evidence Under the Trump Administration
You completed your application for an H-1B visa, marriage-based green card, or another immigration petition. Now you’ve received a “Request for Evidence” from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Your stomach might be sinking, but stay calm. The request doesn’t necessarily mean that the USCIS will deny your application–just that you’ll have to keep fighting for approval.
What are Requests for Evidence?
Requests for Evidence (RFE) are exactly what they sound like: a request for more information or documentation to support or your claim. You may have forgotten to include certain documents, or the government believes that you haven’t provided enough evidence to show you qualify for a green card. In the case of marriage-based green cards, the government may think that you haven’t given enough proof to show that the marriage is real.
Recent Increase in Request for Evidence
RFEs are becoming increasingly common under the Trump administration. With respect to H-1B visas, for example, USCIS data shows that 38 percent of all Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 applications had RFEs–a 77 percent increase over FY2017. In the first quarter of FY2019, that percentage jumped to 60 percent.
USCIS data also shows that denials have doubled between FY2017 and FY2018, from 7.4 percent to 15.4 percent. The first quarter of 2019 shows an astonishing denial rate of 24.6 percent. Denials have tripled since FY2015 when the rate was 4.3 percent. Without a doubt, these unprecedented increases in RFEs and denials are due to President Trump’s “Buy American, Hire American” executive order. Keep in mind, however, that despite these increased denials, the USCIS does approve the majority of applications.
What should I do if I receive Request for Evidence?
Given the USCIS’s extreme scrutiny of immigration applications, you should consult a qualified immigration lawyer as soon as possible after receiving an RFE. You only get one chance to respond to an RFE, and you don’t want to make even a small error. I can help you understand exactly what the government is demanding of you and help assemble all the necessary documentation. My work with clients around the world and in the US helps make complicated procedures and paperwork go as smoothly and efficiently as possible.