You mailed your green card or waiver application to USCIS, you have your receipt and had your biometrics appointment. Great! Now all you have to do is wait for the Interview date, right? Not exactly…
What I will discuss here applies to most types of applications: changes or extension of non-immigrant status, renewals of work permit, petitions for alien relatives, green card applications, waivers, VAWA, removal of conditions, naturalization, etc. Really, all applications. These are the most common types of notices:
These are notices stating that there is something missing from an application you submitted. For example, you may receive a courtesy notice that your medical exam was not submitted. If your case requires an interview, then you can submit the medical at the interview; if your case does not require an interview, you will receive a Request for Evidence. While you do not have to do anything when you receive a courtesy notice, you must respond to any Request for Evidence.
Request for Evidence (RFE)
These requests are sent by USCIS when it finds that crucial evidence is missing. Sometimes the RFE it is asking for a different type of a birth certificate, a degree, a new or expired passport. However, it can be a very complicated request for valuation of assets, proof of speaking English, credit reports, proof of health insurance or other medical documents, proof of a good faith marriage, or proof that child lives with petitioner, etc. Note that RFEs are very common an becoming expected in most cases. An RFE has a deadline of 87 days and it will not be extended for any reason. You must submit all required documents and evidence in one package, within the 87 days, or the application will be denied.
Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID)
Sent by USCIS to inform you that the officer plans to deny your application because of eligibility. While an RFE may be issued because the officer does not have enough information to decide if they can make a decision on the case because of missing information, a NOID is based on discovered information that makes you ineligible and for which USCIS demands an explanation. The NOID is your most important opportunity to defend yourself to potentially avoid a denial, an appeal, or a new petition. Unlike an RFE, a NOID only gives you 30 days to respond. Take the NOID to an immigration attorney as soon as possible as you need to address each and every point in detail.
Note: For those who receive an RFE or NOID dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020, any responses submitted within 60 calendar days after the response deadline set forth in the RFE or NOID will be considered by USCIS before any action is taken.
Notice of Intent to Revoke or Notice of Intent to Rescind
These are very similar to the NOID, but on different basis, such as an approval that was issued in error due to fraud discovered later
What to do once you receive one of these notices depends on each case. In almost all cases, you should respond. How you respond depends on the notice and the nature of the allegations or request. In some cases, withdrawing your application may be the best option, but that decision should only be made with an immigration attorney.
If you and your attorney responded and you received a rejection or a denial, your next steps will depend on the type of application you filed, visa type applied for, the current situation being different from the time of application, and many other factors. Some of the options are appealing the decision, filing a motion to reconsider or motion to reopen, refile the petition, file for a different visa or status, etc. These decisions could seriously damage and affect your future and should only be made with an immigration attorney who has had an opportunity to review all the evidence and prior applications., and in most cases, a simple consultation is not sufficient to provide adequate options.