What Does USCIS Case Status “Request for Additional Evidence” Mean for My Marriage Green Card Application?
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 a marriage green card. 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 Attorney Curtis Lee.
Written November 22, 2022
My USCIS Case Status Says “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent.” What Does That Mean for My Marriage Green Card Case?
In short, it means U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) needs more information from you before it can make a decision on your marriage green card eligibility. After the agency receives your marriage green card application, an officer will check to see if you and your spouse completed it correctly. If anything is missing, USCIS may reject your application. Assuming all is in order, USCIS will continue processing your application and determining your green card eligibility.
To determine your eligibility, USCIS needs information and evidence from you to support the facts of your marriage green card application. If it doesn’t have this information, it will issue a “Request for Additional Evidence” update.
Depending on the information required, the update might appear as a “Request for Initial Evidence Was Sent” or “Request for Initial Evidence Was Mailed.” And you’ll likely first come across it when using the USCIS online account portal. No matter which version of the update you see, they all mean essentially the same thing: USCIS needs additional documentation from you to continue processing your marriage green card application.
If you don’t see this request for evidence online, you’ll see it when you get Form 797E: Notice of Action. This is an official USCIS notice that will arrive in the mail.
Does the Request for Evidence Mean My Marriage Green Card Application Was Denied?
Not at all, but it could lead to a denial if you don’t respond by the deadline listed in Form I-797E. If you receive a request for evidence from USCIS, know that the agency hasn’t finished reviewing your application, nor has it determined whether your spouse’s eligibility. The agency won’t continue processing your application until you provide the requested information.
If USCIS denies your marriage green card application, it will be after a USCIS officer thoroughly reviews your marriage green card application and concludes that your spouse isn’t eligible for lawful permanent residency status.
What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Request for Evidence Was Sent” for My Marriage Green Card Case?
The first thing you should do is carefully read Form I-797E and confirm what it’s asking. This document will contain four sections:
The law that supports USCIS’s request for additional evidence
The information and documents you’ve already provided
The information and documents USCIS still needs
The deadline to submit the requested information
Pay extra attention to the last two sections, especially the deadline. It’s important to understand that this deadline refers to when USCIS must have your documents at its office, meaning they will need to be postmarked well before that date.
Even if you have plenty of time to provide the requested information, proceed as quickly as possible. This gives you additional time to get everything ready and filed in case something unexpected comes up. It also allows USCIS to resume processing the marriage green card application sooner rather than later.
When USCIS sends a request for additional or initial evidence, it puts the application on hold. Only when it receives the information requested will USCIS resume processing the green card application.
Many additional evidence requests from USCIS are straightforward, so you can often respond to them without additional assistance. But if after reading Form I-797E you’re confused or don’t understand what’s going on, you should consider using our Ask an Attorney service to speak with an experienced immigration lawyer.
How Do I Reply to a Request for Evidence?
The process of responding to a request for evidence is relatively uniform, but the specific documents USCIS needs from you will depend on the details of your spouse’s green card case.
For example, let’s say your spouse is from a country where official documents are issued in a language other than English. When providing these documents to USCIS, you need to include a certified English translation. If the documents aren’t properly translated, you will likely receive a request for additional evidence.
Another example might arise after submitting Form I-864: Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA. USCIS may need more evidence showing you can financially support your spouse when they’re in the United States.
When sending the requested documents to USCIS, make copies of any originals you have to submit. Only send an original document if USCIS requires it.
Finally, make sure any reply to the request for evidence is made before the deadline. It bears repeating that the deadline refers to when the documents must arrive at the USCIS service center, not when you send them. A late submission could result in your marriage green card application getting denied.
Where in the Marriage Green Card Application Process Might I See “Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent” as My Status?
If your spouse is already in the United States, their green card application will consist mainly of two USCIS forms:
Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative
Form I-485: Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
If USCIS sends you a request for evidence, it’ll most likely come after you submit one of these forms. To check the case status of Form I-130, you can use the USCIS online case tracker tool.
If your spouse isn’t in the United States, the green card process will be different, as it involves consular processing. After submitting Form I-130 to USCIS and having it approved, you’ll submit DS-260 to the National Visa Center (NVC). A request for additional evidence could come up after submitting either of these forms.
To check the case status of DS-260 with the NVC, you can use the NVC Visa Status Check online tool or log in to the U.S. Department of State Consular Electronic Application Center. If you need help understanding any of the case statuses your see as your application progresses, check out our case status articles in our Learning Center.
Do I Need an Immigration Attorney To Help With a Request for Evidence?
It depends. Many applicants are able to respond to a request for additional or initial evidence without hiring legal help. But some applicants find the request for evidence (RFE) confusing or don’t know how to get the documents USCIS is asking for. This is where it might help to talk to an immigration attorney.
A lawyer can explain what USCIS needs from you and how you can properly respond to the RFE. Having a lawyer won’t guarantee your marriage green card case gets approved, but it’ll reduce the chances that it gets rejected, delayed, or denied. Our Ask an Attorney service allows you to consult with an experienced immigration attorney for a low monthly fee so you can get your questions answered.
How Do I Know if USCIS Received My RFE Response?
There are two ways to confirm that USCIS has received your RFE response. The first is by checking your case online with the USCIS case status tool. The second way is by checking your mailbox for an official receipt notice or case status update from USCIS.
How Do I Check My RFE Response Online?
Using the online case status tool is the quickest and easiest way to confirm that USCIS has received your RFE response. To use the USCIS case status tool, you need your receipt number, which can be found on Form I-797C: Notice of Action (also called a receipt notice). You should have received this in the mail after you submitted your spouse’s green card application.
Another benefit of the online tracking tool is that you can use it to see future case status notifications and updates. For instance, if USCIS still needs more information to process your application, the notification request will first appear in the online tracker.
How Else Can I Make Sure USCIS Received My RFE Response?
Though it takes a bit longer than checking online, you can also check your mailbox to for an office notice from USCIS letting you know that it received your RFE response. USCIS will mail confirmation of receipt when they get your RFE document packet.