Office of International Programs

Requests for Evidence

In the past, if USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) had a question about a student's application (for a change of status, reinstatement, optional practical training, etc.) they would send an RFE or a Request for Evidence. This request might ask for additional information that would be helpful in the decision making process or information which was left out of the application. This process allowed the student the opportunity to fix or add additional information to their application before it was denied.

However, a July 13, 2018 USCIS policy memo rescinded prior USCIS guidance on RFE issuance. The changes announced by the memo have been codified in revisions to section 10.5 of the USCIS Adjudicator's Field Manual (AFM). The new RFE policy is effective for all applications and petitions filed after September 11, 2018.

This new guidance "restores to the adjudicator full discretion to deny applications, petitions, and requests without first issuing an RFE when appropriate. This policy is intended to discourage frivolous or substantially incomplete filings used as 'placeholder' filings and encourage applicants, petitioners, and requestors to be diligent in collecting and submitting required evidence."

What does this mean to you?

If there is an error in your application or if something is missing the person reviewing the application can now deny it outright. In the past you would have received a letter asking for more information so that you could fix the pending application. The person reviewing you application no longer has to do that. They have the freedom to simply deny the application or request. If the application or request is denied, it may have to be filed again if timing still allows.

Note, this policy also applies to the "Notice of Intent to Deny" aspect of asylum applications.