Published on Jul 12, 2019

by Marcos Dinnerstein

Summary: What is a USCIS Request for Evidence (RFE) and why are certified translations of documents required?

This is the first in a 2 part article. Find the second one here: Certified Translations for Request for Evidence, More Support

Getting a visa in the U.S. is a stressful activity. And that stress level usually rises more when the USCIS requests missing or additional information in the form of a Request for Evidence (RFE).

What is a USCIS Request For Evidence (RFE)?

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) website

USCIS issues are written notices in the form of a Request For Evidence (RFE) to request missing initial or additional evidence from applicants or petitioners who filed for immigration benefits.

- USCIS Policy Manual

How to avoid RFEs

The simple answer for how to avoid getting a Request for Evidence (RFE) is to take the time to thoroughly document your application in the first place.  But sometimes it cannot be avoided.

Why might a USCIS officer send an RFE? 

Missing documents for a marriage-based green card - Of course, you need to prove that your marriage is real and not entered into for the purposes of staying in the U.S. What might provide that proof? 

  • A copy of your marriage certificate (with a certified translation, if the certificate is not in English)

  • Documents showing your relationship, over time, are what provide evidence that your marriage is real. 

  • Pictures of you and your spouse together over the years. 

  • Documented evidence that you are living together. Examples are documents that show you and your spouse have the same address: driver's license; utility bill that has both names on it; or phone bills.

  • Proof that your finances are combined. Examples would be joint bank accounts, credit card statements, joint insurance policies, titles to property held jointly or loans where both spouses are liable for repayments.

Insufficient income from the sponsoring spouse - it might be the income is sufficient but that the documentation was seen as inadequate to support that claim.

No proof that the applicant entered the country legally - generally this means a copy of your stamped passport or a copy of your I-94 travel history. This is the form for tracking arrivals and departures, used by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) You’ll either have a paper copy of this, if you arrived before April of 2013 or if you arrived after that, you can download the I-94 here. If neither of those options works, you can request a replacement I-94 using Form I-102. (so many forms!)

Uncertified translations of documents from non-English language sources - It’s important to know that any translated documents you provide have to be certified translations. A certified translation is one where the translator certifies in writing that the translation is has been accurately translated. A certified translation has to include the translator’s name, address, date and must be signed by that translator. 

Staying perfectly on topic, be sure to read how MotaWord will certify any translations we do for you at no additional cost. And don't miss, Certified Translations for USCIS - Top 5 Things You Need to Know

In our next installment, we’ll review what to do if you should receive a Request for Evidence (RFE). Here is the link to that article

And remember, MotaWord is here, 24/7 to provide you with fast, certified translations at a fair price.