Emma asks: “Hi we’re going to process my AOS (affidavit of support) my question is: The 2015 individual tax return of my husband did not reach the poverty guidelines is there a possibility they’re going to get an RFE? You shouldn’t for 2015, that was three years ago now, they’re really more concerned about your current income. You can never say for sure when it comes to an RFE because of the over thirty thousand of these we’ve done, we’ve seen people get some pretty crazy RFEs. People who clearly meet the income requirements and then get an RFE anyway, and have to just kind of double down to prove it. So, while I can’t say he won’t get an RFE, what I can say is, probably not. We’ve certainly done these for people who didn’t work at all in 2015 or 2016.
We’ve done them for people and were approved by people who just got a job months ago and before that were unemployed for a year and they’ve gone through. So, I’m assuming from the question the way you’re asking that since 15 meaning 16 and then last year 17 and currently his income is adequate and if that’s the case, I don’t think you have any problem at all. And the second part I’ll add to that is RFEs are frustrating and they definitely can be a little nerve-racking but they’re really not anything to be afraid of. What an RFE means, you know, I like to tell people is, typically when you get an RFE it means they’ve checked everything else and they found this one thing they got a question about and now they just want you to give them an acceptable answer to this question and then they’re going to go ahead and approve your case, typically.
What it doesn’t mean: It’s not the same as say an “intent to deny” – that’s an actual letter that gets sent out… “intent to deny”. An RFE, which stands for “request for evidence” they’re not saying we’re about to deny you unless you can prove something. What they’re saying is “Hey, everything’s looking good we just need you to answer this question.” Now, if you can’t satisfactorily answer the question, yes of course it could lead to a denial, but that almost never happens.
Generally the problem is rectifiable or they wouldn’t send you an RFE. If the problem is killing your case, they would just send you an intent to deny or an outright denial. So, I wouldn’t be afraid of an RFE. It does typically add about a month to your timeline unfortunately, so it is frustrating nobody wants to be slowed down. But I can tell you probably a full 20% of people will get an RFE, even if your case is perfect you can get an RFE you know we see it. I won’t say frequently, but we definitely see it – it’s not unusual for a case to be perfect and they still get an RFE for some little thing or something that was in there and they didn’t see it. A photograph that that we’re sure was included or something, so don’t be too afraid of an RFE it is actually a normal part of the process. It’s just a way in which they ask you a question they’re looking at your big petition it’s a complicated process, everybody wants to do it right including the CIS workers and they’re sitting there in their cube and they look at your documents they got a question, their only choice is send an RFE they can’t do it by email, they can’t do it my phone call they have to do it by RFE.
So it’s really just a man or woman who has an important job to do and before they make a determination on your case they just need to ask you a little question that’s generally all it is. Now, having said that, you do need to take it serious – there’s a deadline and if you don’t get the RFE back by the deadline stated in the letter, generally 30 days, you will be denied if you don’t answer them. By all means, you need to take it serious you need to make copy of what you send, you need to send it with delivery confirmation and all that. So, do take it seriously but don’t get terrified about it, they’re just a routine part of the process.
Actually to add to that, my wife received an RFE, or a request for evidence, in our petition and, believe it or not, we actually thought it was good news, because that means that they finally got to it. Because as a many you know that’s asked questions on this program realized that the processing time starts taking a little while. But the nice thing is when you receive that RFE letter, you know now they’re working on your case and as Ben already pointed out, this is the only item missing. We responded to the RFE and had our approval notice shortly after. So usually it’s good news if you recieve an RFE that’s usually the only way that you know they’re working on your case.