A Request for Evidence (RFE) is often required by the USCIS to make a decision about an H1B visa case. If you have submitted an RFE for an H1B or have recently been requested to do so, you may be wondering about the H1B RFE approval rate. With a request for evidence, you may be asked for additional materials or evidence to allow for a more in-depth analysis on whether or not you are eligible for any benefits you claimed.
Receiving an H1B RFE does not mean that your application has been denied, but rather that there is specific information missing. Once you receive the notice, you will have the opportunity to submit the missing documents or materials so that eligibility can be re-determined. If the required evidence is provided based on the RFE notice given, there is a strong chance that your H1B visa application will be approved.
Top Reasons for a RFE
There are a number of reasons why a request for evidence request may be given. One of the most common causes of a RFE is discrepancies between the H1B petition and the Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises (VIBE) system. VIBE is a tool used by the USCIS to validate information about an employer. If a company has had a change in address or similar modification that is not yet in the system, the USCIS may request additional information or materials like the employer’s federal tax ID number.
Another common reason that RFE’s are given is due to inconsistencies between wages and specialty occupations. Occupations are broken down into categories based on the worker’s level of experience and education. Level 1 is considered entry level while level 4 refers to a fully competent employee. If an employer claims that they are hiring for a specialty occupation but is only paying out level 1 wages, an RFE may be sent out to clarify. Some level 1 job positions may not qualify for H1B status as the position is expected to be specialized. In addition, any position that qualifies for an H1B must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
When determining eligibility for an H1B visa, the employer-employee relationship is looked at carefully. These relationships typically include the supervision of an employee directly by an employer, an employer who has control over an H1B employee, and the supervision of an employee on-site or off-site. As it can be difficult to establish the relationship when off-site, an RFE may be given. In addition, the USCIS will check the employee’s current status. The applicant must prove that he or she has maintained their status by providing pay statements and similar materials.
Approval Rate of H1B RFE
On average, there is a 30 percent chance that your H1B application will result in a request for evidence. If you receive an RFE, you typically have between 30 and 90 days to submit the appropriate information or documentation. When responding to the RFE, be sure to address all questions and concerns in the notice to prevent further delays or a denial. Once received by USCIS, the response time is an average of 60 days. However, approval of an H1B visa can take as little as 15 days or as long as 90 days or more, depending on the backlog and number of RFE notices being issued.
In the last year, the number of RFE notices sent out to H1B applicants by USCIS skyrocketed. This has also led to a significant reduction in H1B RFE approval. In 2015, the approval rate following a RFE notice was 83.6 percent. In 2018, it dropped down to 62.3 percent. Many of these denials were related to lack of proof for specialty occupations. As the H1B RFE approval rate has lowered to a concerning percentage, it is important to address your request for evidence appropriately and respond to each and every question in detail to reduce your likelihood of a denial.
Responding to a RFE
Receiving a request for evidence from USCIS can be disconcerting, especially if you are counting on a fast approval. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to drastically improve your odds of approval following a RFE. This majorly involves looking at H1B requirements for guidance. Start by reading over your RFE to gain a solid understanding of what is being asked and why the notice was requested. It is important to remember that you only have one chance to respond so take your time.
In some instances, RFE documents requested cannot be provided or the demands cannot be met. In this case, you will need to respond to the inquiries as best you can while still following H1B regulations. In these situations, it is wise to seek the assistance of a professional immigration attorney who has experience with H1B RFE approvals. For more information or to speak with an immigration attorney, contact Pride Immigration.
Beeraj Patel, Esq.
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