USCIS RFE Response Review Time
If you receive a Request for Further Evidence from USCIS in respect of a US immigration application, you will inevitably face a delay with your application. Processing of the application is paused as soon as USCIS issue the RFE.
How long is the USCIS RFE Response Review Time?
If you have responded to the RFE within the specified timeframe, how long should you expect to wait to hear back about your application?
The clock starts on the day that USCIS receives your RFE response.
Without premium processing USCIS advise it can take up to 60 days from the RFE response to hear back from USCIS. In practice, most RFEs are responded to much quicker, provided no other issues or delays are at play. For some, typically less complex cases, a decision may even follow within a matter of days.
The USCIS RFE response review time can vary widely from case to case and will generally depend on the number of applications that are being processed at that time.
For example, during the H-1B visa processing, a high number of RFEs are typically issued. This means response review times are known to stretch past 3 months.
If you have not heard from USCIS 60 days after submitting your RFE response, you can contact the National Customer Service Center to file a Service Request for an update.
Processing is in general taking longer than in previous years, due to increased scrutiny of petitions and resulting backlog of petitions awaiting a decision. Consequently, applicants may find that current petitions are taking longer than previous immigration applications.
Premium processing to expedite USCIS RFE Response Review Time
To expedite the review process, you will need to upgrade to premium processing. This will require you to pay the relevant fee.
With premium processing, applications are reviewed within 15 days. Where an RFE is issued, the response will be processed with 15 days of receipt.
It is possible to pay to upgrade to premium processing after you have filed your application or submitted your RFE response.
Note that if USCIS has suspended premium processing (as was the case in January 2019), the premium processing timeline will not be followed.
It’s also important to clarify that premium processing has no bearing on the outcome of your case; it merely expedites processing and decision-making.
What if you don’t respond to the RFE?
If you opt not to provide more information and do not respond to the RFE, your application will be assessed after the deadline date on the basis of your initial application submission.
Tips for responding to an RFE
One of the most important factors will be to ensure you meet the deadline given by USCIS for your response. This will require you to take action as soon as you take receipt of the RFE since it may take time to source and compile the necessary evidence in the required format.
The documentation you compile will depend largely on the reasoning for the request and the adjudicator’s specific areas of concern. USCIS will indicate within the notification letter as to the underlying questions or concerns about eligibility resulting from the original application submission. The additional documents you compile and submit will need to directly address these issues and provide sufficient evidence to convince the adjudicator as to your eligibility.
Ensure you double check your RFE response before sending. This will be your last chance to influence decision making in your favor, so it will be important to make it count.
This article does not constitute direct legal advice and is for informational purposes only.