Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, you are permitted to apply to the USCIS to have your immigration status changed to permanent resident. When you are granted permanent resident status, you receive a green card. In most cases, the application is approved after a few months at the conclusion of your immigration interview, and your green card arrives in the mail. But in some cases, applying for an Adjustment of Status may result in an RFE (request for evidence).
The USCIS issues an RFE when there are concerns over the state of the sponsor’s finances or not enough evidence was provided to support the petitioners request. It doesn’t necessarily mean that your application will be denied. You are merely being asked to supply additional documents to support it. It is important not to be intimidated by the RFE and to read it carefully. You must respond with all of the required documents or your application may be denied.
Who Is Eligible for Adjustment of Status
Not everyone is eligible for Adjustment of Status, which is why you may be asked to provide more evidence to prove that you indeed meet the basic criteria. In order to apply for adjustment, an applicant must currently live in the U.S, cannot be in the country illegally and have an approved or concurrently filed petition for alien relative ( either work or family based). Your sponsor must also be able to demonstrate that they are able to offer you sufficient financial assistance. The documents requested in the RFE will vary from case to case.
Sponsor’s Ability to Provide Financial Support
Most RFE requests are triggered by concerns that the sponsor cannot provide the applicant with sufficient financial assistance thus increasing the likelihood that the alien will require government support. Your sponsor must provide evidence that they exceed the minimum financial requirements. In lieu of income, liquid assets such as stocks, bonds, IRAs are acceptable but only one-third of the value of these assets can be applied to the income threshold. Simply “meeting” the minimum requirements is not a guarantee the immigration officer’s judgment call on the “public charge issue” will go in your favor. Officers also consider whether the sponsor has a compelling motivation to act as your sponsor. This is particularly critical when using a joint sponsor.
Sponsor’s Tax Returns
A sponsor’s tax returns will be closely scrutinized to determine income level and whether or not they have over-deducted to avoid a higher tax bill. They should be prepared to provide returns for the last three years to prove they meet all of the necessary requirements. Your sponsor may not be required to file taxes but they need be able to show why they are exempt. If a sponsor has an unstable work history, with fluctuations in income from one year to another or unsustainable sources of income such workman’s compensation, the USCIS could deny the application. Improper deductions are also problematic. Additionally, a sponsor must produce 1099s, even if they’re retired or disabled and derive their income from non-taxable sources such as Social Security benefits.
It is important to note, that unless the sponsor is self employed, their qualifying “current income” must be documented as well. Tax returns document past income. Pay stubs and/or employer letters are what document current income. Tax return information and current income declarations are separate issues on the affidavit of support.
You can greatly reduce the likelihood that you will receive an RFE by taking care to provide all of the correct documentation, in its entirety, and fully translated when filing your initial application.