Many of our clients and readers are already aware of the June 13, 2013 “RFE blizzard” where U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) issued thousands of identical requests for evidence (“RFE”) on pending employment-based primary and derivative Form I-485, Application to Adjust Status. Many would remember that in our article from two weeks ago, we discussed how derivative I-485 applicants should not have been issued such an RFE. Now, in another set of thousands of notices, most dated June 26, USCIS is informing derivative I-485 applicants that their I-485 RFE is essentially retracted and they no longer need to respond to it. Please see a redacted sample of the RFE retraction notice.
Derivative Applicants Receiving RFE Retraction Letter – I-485 RFE Response Optional; Primary Applicants Must Respond to June 13 RFE
It is important to underscore what this notice means and what it does not mean. Derivative applicants (spouses and children) who received the June 13, 2013 I-485 RFE and who now received this RFE retraction notice do not have to respond to the June 13 RFE any longer. USCIS is specific in the RFE retraction notice in saying that a derivative I-485 application will not be denied for failure to respond to the June 13 RFE.
However, and very importantly, if a derivative I-485 applicants has an RFE which is different than the June 13 RFE (see sample), USCIS will expect to receive an RFE response or they can deny the I-485 derivative application. Also, primary applicants who received the June 13 RFE are expected to respond to it on time or their application (including the derivative I-485) application may be denied for failure of the primary applicant to respond to the June 13 RFE.
Attorney Assistance with Preparing RFE Response
Our office will be happy to provide consultations or assistance with responding to this (or other) kind of RFE. If you would like to schedule a consultation with an attorney to discuss a specific case (but perhaps without engaging us to help with the RFE filing), we offer phone consultations.
We are also happy and available to assist with a more comprehensive RFE response representation. Please feel free to complete this RFE inquiry form and we will be happy to provide thoughts and, if applicable, a quote for our legal assistance.
As USCIS is preparing to adjudicate visa-retrogressed I-485 applications, we expect busy July and August months, especially if the August 2013 Visa Bulletin shows forward movement in many of the heavily-retrogressed categories. For many applicants, however, who may expect to see their priority become current over the next two to three months (see our expectations), responding to this kind of an RFE becomes very time-sensitive in order to have a complete case ready for approval once the priority date becomes current.