Request for evidence (RFE) is an inquiry set by the United State Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to request additional evidence from applicants or petitions. RFE is used to scrutinize the adjudication of H-1B visa applications more closely so as to determine applicants’ eligibility for the benefit sought.
The reason for RFE is written specifically in the letter sent by USCIS. Normally, you have 90 days to submit relevant documents. All the supplementary documents should be able to answer all inquiries in the RFE letter.
Ninety percent of H1b rfe reasons revolve around Specialty Occupation. In addition, the Immigration Department will also request the company’s basic information in the RFE letter to prove the position and relevance of the company’s business field, question the beneficiary’s professional and position inconsistency, review the beneficiary’s legality, and prove the employment relationship. The following are the most common RFE reasons for Chinese students.
Here are some common reasons for RFE:
- Mismatched information on VIBE system
The USCIS uses a tool known as the Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises(VIBE) to validate basic information regarding the petitioning employer. The change of company’s address or structure may result in the occurrence of discrepancies between the VIBE system and H1B petition. Therefore, you may receive a RFE requesting petitioner’s information such as employer’s federal tax id number, wage reports, etc.
- Specialty Occupation + Level 1 wage
What is Level 1 Wage: For each occupation, there are 4 levels of wages commensurate with experience, education, and the level of supervision, ranging from Level 1 (entry level) to Level 4 (fully competent).
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires the wages offered to a foreign worker must be the prevailing wage rate for the occupational classification in the area of employment so that hiring a foreign worker would not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers comparably employed.
The specialty occupation may be questioned by USCIS when a petition is only qualified for level 1 (entry level) wage because an entry level position “would likely contradict a claim that the proffered position is particularly complex, specialized, or unique compared to other positions within the same occupation.” In brief, the designation that a position is level 1 may disqualify the professionalism of the H1B applicants and the specialism of the position. This is a very common reason for RFE on many pending cases.
- Beneficiary Qualifications
Position that qualify for an H1B visa must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree, and the applicants must have a relevant degree for the position. For the applicants who obtained their degree overseas, a REF may request proof of a foreign degree equivalent. Official school documents are necessary to provide the proof needed.
A RFE may also be sent out of the irrelevance of petition’s occupation and their field of study. In this case, petitions will have to explain how their degree is closely related to their job. Letters and references from previous employers may be helpful to prove applicant’s qualification for the position.
- Employer-Employee Relationship
Employer-employee relationship is evaluated based on three main factors: 1. Whether the H1B employer directly supervises the H1B applicants; 2. Whether this supervision is performed on site or off site; 3. Whether the H1B employer has control of the H1B employee. It is hard to establish a validate employer-employee relationship when the work is performed off-site. Therefore, a RFE is highly possible to be received by H1B applicant who works off-site.
- Maintenance of Status
An extension of status or change of status must be documented properly to maintain H1B employer’s current status. Sufficient documentation must be provided to demonstrate that the worker has maintained their current status by submitting pay statements, employment history. For F-1 students, an RFE may request class attendance or coursework history to prove that the applicants were actually in school before they applied H1B.