The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) transmitted the final rule Removal
of the Standardized Request for Evidence Processing Timeframe to the
Federal Register (FR) on April 12, 2007. The rule will take effect
on June 16, 2007. This rule amends DHS regulations to give U.S. Citizenship
and Immigration Services (USCIS) flexibility in setting the time allowed for
immigration benefit applicants and petitioners to respond to a Request for
Evidence (RFE) or to a Notice of Intent to Deny (NOID). This change does not
apply to asylum cases, to which a separate set of regulations apply.
The amended rule makes the following key changes and clarifications:
Flexible Response Times to RFEs Permitted
Regardless of the type of evidence requested, the old regulation required
USCIS to set an inflexible 12 week period for applicants or petitioners to
respond to an RFE. The new regulation permits USCIS to set flexible deadlines.
Deadlines will depend on the complexity of cases and types of applications
or petitions filed. For example, when requesting readily available or missing
initial evidence, USCIS can set a response time much shorter than 12 weeks.
On the other hand, USCIS can provide the full 12 week response period for more
difficult to obtain evidence.
No Extensions to Submit Responses to RFEs or NOIDs
Regardless of the evidence requested, USCIS has never allowed extensions beyond
the maximum 12 week deadline for RFEs and the 30 day deadline for NOIDs. That
bar does not change, even though the new rule allows USCIS to set deadlines
shorter than those maximums. For example, under the new regulation, USCIS may
issue an RFE that gives an applicant 30 days to submit a photo. USCIS will
not grant an extension of that 30 day period. Failure to timely respond to
the RFE may lead to denial of the application or petition.
When Evidence Submitted With The Application or Petition Does Not
When initially submitted evidence does not show eligibility, the new regulation
allows USCIS to deny the application or petition. As always, USCIS may request
that the applicant or petitioner submit additional evidence within a specified
time period or may notify the applicant or petitioner that USCIS intends to
deny the application or petition. To avoid denial, USCIS urges applicants and
petitioners to file complete applications with all of the
required initial evidence. The initial evidence for each application and petition
type is clearly listed on the form instructions and in the regulations.
Reasons for Issuing a NOID
USCIS may issue a NOID when there is evidence of ineligibility for immigration
benefits and is required to issue a NOID when there is negative evidence
that the applicant or petitioner does not know about. An applicant or petitioner
may respond to the NOID by submitting evidence to disprove the negative information.
If There Is No Response to an RFE or a NOID
The new regulation provides USCIS three options if it does not receive
a response to an RFE or a NOID. USCIS may:
When an Applicant or Petitioner Does Not Appear for a Required Appointment
- find that the application or petition has been abandoned and, if so, deny it;
- deny the application or petition based on the evidence already received; or
- deny the application or petition for both reasons
If an applicant or petitioner fails to appear for biometrics capture, interview
or any other required in-person process, USCIS may deny the application or
petition as abandoned. However, USCIS may not do so if, prior to the scheduled
appointment time, it receives a timely-filed change of address or request to
reschedule and decides that the failure to appear is excusable. In such cases,
USCIS will reschedule the appointment. USCIS reminds applicants and petitioners
that they are required to file an AR-11 change of address form within ten days
of their move.