USCIS Issuing RFEs for Documents Already Submitted to USCIS – A Problematic Trend Explained by the NPZ Law Group

The Case Assistance Committee of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) recently monitored a problematic trend in which the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was issuing Requests for Evidence (RFEs) for birth certificates and other documents that members already submitted to USCIS. Here’s what you must know.

A Summary of the Issue:

For the past few months, Immigration and Nationality Lawyers who are members of AILA reported that people who were applying for adjustment of status (Form I-485) had received RFEs from the USCIS for civil documents, such as birth certificates, that they already provided to USCIS as part of their application. In addition to that, the USCIS provided no clear information about why the documents were being requested again.

There is hope that USCIS will perform an investigation to determine whether USCIS has been misplacing birth certificates at the time of intake or if USCIS officers are overlooking documents that were supposed to be submitted as part of the original filing.

Due to the disclarity in the Request for Evidence, it was urged that the USCIS update the RFE template so that it clearly indicates why the Agency is requesting the birth certificate again, especially if the document was already submitted. In turn, the stakeholders can better understand whether the birth certificates are noncompliant or if USCIS is unable to locate the birth certificates initially submitted as part of the original filing.

Recommendations and Requests To Improve Processing:

It was recommended that notices for all RFEs adhere to the USCIS Policy Manual, Volume 1, Part E, Chapter 6, section F, part 3. Thus, USCIS must:

• Identify eligibility requirement(s) that are not established and explain why the submitted evidence is not sufficient

• Identify missing evidence required specifically by the applicable statute, regulation, or form instructions

• Identify other forms of evidence that may be used to establish eligibility, and then it must request that evidence

In addition to that, a USCIS officer must not request evidence irrelevant to an identified deficiency or outside the scope of the adjudication.

It was also recommended that USCIS make necessary improvements to the intake protocol for birth certificates to prevent records from getting missed. One method includes using an improved method for stakeholders to submit the civil document to USCIS, such as labeling the record under a sheet brightly colored that indicates “Birth Certificate/Record.” With these recommendations, the problem may be solved sooner than later, or it will at least bring clarity to why the documents are being requested again.

If you have any questions about how these laws in the United States may impact you or your family, or want to access additional information about United States or Canadian immigration and nationality laws, please feel free to get in touch with the immigration and nationality lawyers at NPZ Law Group. You can send us an email at, or you can call us at 201-670-0006 extension 104. In addition, we invite you to find more information on our website at