What Does the USCIS Case Status “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent” Mean for My Form N-400?
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 Form N-400 and ensure you’re eligible for U.S. citizenship. 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 ImmigrationHelp Team.
Written November 29, 2022
My USCIS Case Status Says “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent.” What Does That Mean for My Form N-400?
Sometimes, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) needs more information from you before it can make a final decision on your citizenship application. Perhaps USCIS needs to clarify something about your background or information in your supporting documents. In cases like these, it will issue a Request for Evidence (RFE).
Applicants most commonly receive RFEs for the following reasons:
You are missing initial evidence. You failed to provide a required document or form for the citizenship application.
You are missing document translations. Remember that you’ll need to provide English language translations for any non-English documents attached to your application. These translations must be accurate and certified.
You have an unusual case. You may face unique circumstances related to your current status. USCIS may want to ask you a few clarifying questions about your background, especially if you fall under a special immigrant status or have withdrawn a citizenship application in the past.
An RFE will list out any remaining materials or information USCIS needs to make its decision. An RFE will also include a deadline for responding. You may see status updates on your USCIS online account like “Request for Additional Evidence Was Mailed” or “Request for Initial Evidence Was Sent (or Mailed).” USCIS will also inform you of an RFE on its Form I-797E, the Notice of Action. You’ll receive the Notice of Action by mail after submitting your original application.
Does a Request for Evidence Mean My Form N-400 Application Was Denied?
An RFE for your Form N-400 citizenship application does not mean that USCIS has denied your case. An RFE simply means that USCIS would like more information before moving forward with a decision. When USCIS “denies” a case, it has determined that an applicant is ineligible for citizenship. Any other status update, including “rejection” or an RFE, does not indicate a final denial from USCIS. Instead, it means a USCIS officer cannot determine your eligibility because they lack the full context of your application.
Even though an RFE is not a denial, you should act quickly if you receive one. As soon as you respond to USCIS’s RFE, it can proceed with your application. If you fail to meet the deadline, you will likely face a denial. Be sure to double-check the deadline listed on USCIS’s Notice of Action.
What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Request for Evidence Was Sent” for My Citizenship Case?
If you receive an RFE for your citizenship case, the best thing you can do is respond quickly and completely. Be sure to address each of USCIS’ questions and requests and provide as many helpful details as you can. If you can thoroughly clarify the points listed on your Notice of Action, USCIS will be able to fully consider your citizenship case.
For your case to move forward, you must ensure that the USCIS office listed on your notice receives your RFE packet reply by the deadline. Mail out your packet in advance of the deadline. Even if you postmark and send your packet on the deadline date, USCIS may not receive your materials in time.
USCIS will clearly lay out what it needs on your Form I-797E Notice of Action. You should read through the instructions carefully and gather any necessary information. If you have trouble understanding what your RFE is asking for, you may want to seek legal help. We can help connect you with an attorney through our Ask an Attorney program. If you’re on a deadline and struggling to figure out how best to respond to your RFE, we urge you to take advantage of a consultation.
How Do I Reply to a Request for Evidence?
If you have received an RFE, read through and make a copy of your Notice of Action. Take the time to determine what information USCIS is requesting and make a plan to gather those materials. Typically, you’ll need to provide photocopies or acceptable alternatives of documents that help clarify your situation. You shouldn’t provide any original documents unless specifically requested by USCIS.
Remember that the documentation needed will vary depending on your case and individual circumstances. USCIS may ask for information clarifying your eligibility. In other cases, you may need to address an error. For example, if any of your documents are not in English, you must provide translations. You may receive an RFE if you forgot to provide translations on your original application. If you’re in need of certified translations before your RFE deadline, you can request them through our partner, RushTranslate.
Once you gather your documents, you’ll be able to assemble your RFE response packet. After completing your packet, you should seal it in an envelope and mail it to the right USCIS office before your deadline. For more assistance with navigating the RFE response process, you can refer to our in-depth RFE guide.
Where in the Form N-400 Application Process Might I See “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent” As My Status?
You’re most likely to see an RFE status after sending in your initial application to USCIS. After you submit your Form N-400 citizenship application, you’ll wait to hear an update from USCIS. Typically, USCIS sends applicants a Form I-797E Notice of Action two to three weeks after receiving an application.
USCIS sends this notice to the mailing address you originally provided on your application. Be sure to keep track of any important mailings while your application is pending. If you have a change of address as you wait for a decision, you should formally notify USCIS. If you filed Form N-400 online, you can officially change your address on file with USCIS through your USCIS online account.
Do I Need an Immigration Attorney To Help With a Request for Evidence?
You may or may not want to work with an immigration attorney after receiving an RFE. Ultimately, whether you work with an attorney will depend on your case and your comfort with replying to the RFE on your own. If you have a more straightforward case, you likely won’t need to work with an attorney to submit a complete RFE. As long as you understand what USCIS is asking for and how to find it, you can probably proceed successfully without a lawyer’s help.
You might feel less confident about replying to your RFE if you’re struggling to understand what USCIS needs from you. You’ll usually only have one chance to make your reply, so getting it right is important. It may be worth it to hire an attorney if you’re worried about being denied. Although you may eventually reapply or appeal USCIS’s decision, a denial can seriously hurt your path to citizenship.
If you feel confident responding to your RFE on your own, you can refer to our guide on the RFE process to help you better understand USCIS’ expectations. If you need extra help from a legal professional, we can also connect you with an attorney through our Ask an Attorney program for $24/month
How Do I Know if USCIS Received My RFE Response?
After submitting your RFE response, wait for USCIS to review your application in full. Be sure to check your mail and online case status while your case is pending. When USCIS sends you its Notice of Action, its letter will include a receipt number. Your receipt number is a 13-character code unique to your case. To check your case status, you’ll need to input this receipt number. Then, USCIS’ website will display your current status.
If, after checking your case status, you see “Response to USCIS Request for Evidence Was Received” you’ll know that USCIS has received your RFE response. Subsequent status updates will tell you about how your case is progressing. If USCIS ever needs any additional information from you after receiving your RFE response, it will also indicate this through the online portal.