USCIS Sent RFE, I Sent in Documents, But Still No Approval: Now What?

Dealing with slow USCIS processing of a Form I-130 petition and subsequent evidence sent in after an RFE.


I sent an I-130 family-based petition to USCIS several months ago, to help my spouse and children get a U.S. green card. Weeks later, I received by mail a USCIS a "Request for Evidence," asking me for more documents proving our family relationship. I sent those in within the 60 days USCIS gave me as a deadline.

Now, I'm waiting and waiting. USCIS has neither approved nor denied my case. I think it's been about two months. Is this normal? What am I supposed to do?


Delays are, in fact, often "normal" when it comes to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processing of immigration-related applications and petitions. The agency is reluctant to promise any particular timeframe when it comes to responding to RFEs, given that each case is unique and some issues more complex than others.

For example, an application where the person simply forgot to include a birth certificate the first time around will take a lot less time to decide on than one where USCIS asked for evidence of a bona fide marriage (which could mean the applicant has to send in large numbers of documents of his or her own choosing).

Some factors that play into how long it takes USCIS to make a decision on the case include:

  • its current priorities for adjudicating (deciding on) the particular type of case
  • whether you submitted all the information requested, and
  • whether, if USCIS plans to deny the case, the denial has been reviewed by a supervisor.

Most people who have responded to an RFE can, however, expect further action by USCIS within about 60 days.

If you don't receive a response or update within 94 days since USCIS originally sent you the RFE, it's a good idea to reach out to the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283. Set aside some time for this task. You'll be dealing with a system that tries to screen out all but the most urgent requests, and getting to a live person is a challenge.

Hiring an attorney is another option, in case your petition is bogged down for complicated legal reasons.

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