Thursday, 22 March 2012

Winning at requests for evidence

In the latest of instalment of our immigration/visa/green card journey (or what I am starting to regard as the bureaucratic endeavour to destroy as many forests as humanly possible), I have just finished packaging up the documentation for our RFE. When we sent off the I-485 (adjustment of status form) back in December, we were pretty confident that we had included everything we needed to in order to ensure the smooth processing of my green card application (which also includes my employment authorisation and travel document, the latter of which allows me to leave the country legally without jeopardising my residency status). When we had confirmation of receipt less than a week later, and then a letter detailing my imminent biometrics appointment, we were even more reassured that we were in the home stretch.


Three weeks ago we received a letter which contained not one but FOUR requests for evidence (RFE). Each one, written on delightful pink paper, had a list of documents that were required to fulfil each category of "missing" information.

I'm actually not too cross about the whole thing. I've been stressed out about it, as obtaining a few of the documents has taken a while (proof of future employment prospects (for Ben)? So, we need to ensure we have proof that he isn't getting laid off any time soon... right), and I like to be expeditious when it comes to any USCIS business. But I haven't become angry or upset about the requirements. Like the dog that accepts his fate, I have learned to be (somewhat) helpless when it comes to jumping through immigration hoops. It just has to be done, and there's nothing more to say than that.

Dutifully, then, I spent this morning writing a cover letter detailing ALL THE THINGS that needed to be included in the packet of documents to be sent back to the USCIS, and then organising ALL THE THINGS thus:

Letter 1 of 4

1.       Supporting tax documentation submitted to the IRS from the petitioner on Form I-864 for the most recent tax year. Two separate W-2s; one for each place of employment.
2.       Proof that the household member on Form I-864 was/is authorized to work in the United States.  A copy of the biographical information page of the US passport.

Letter 2 of 4

3.       Petitioner’s Federal Income Tax return for the most recent tax year. 
4.      Petitioner’s supporting documents for the most recent tax year. Copy of two separate W-2s.

Letter 3 of 4

5.       Proof of current employment and income
a.       Letter from petitioner petitioner re: future employment.
b.      Letter from  petitioner ’s manager confirming his dates of employment, detailing hours worked, and confirming prospects for future employment.
c.       5 pay stubs from place of employment #1
d.      6 months of pay stubs from place of employment #2
e.      Copy of two separate W2s

Letter 4 of 4

6.       Evidence of assets that confirm petitioner meets 125% of federal poverty line
a.       Bank statements for petitioner covering the last 12 months
b.      Evidence of ownership of property. 
                                                               i.      Copy of settlement statement (HUD-1) showing value of property, date acquired, and purchase method.
                                                             ii.      Copy of warranty deed for property, showing that petitioner and applicant own the house together.

This is actually a helpful process for several reasons: firstly it allows me to make sure my brain is fully aware of what is required; secondly it ensures that whoever reads it knows how the documents are organised; and thirdly, I can use the letter as the main check list before sealing the envelope.  

Once everything has been organised and double-checked, I then scan it. All of it. By this point, I am usually flagging. The initial determination and energy I experienced while organising papers and filling the envelope has deteriorated into a petulant whine about how I want to be done already.

It's necessary though; to not have our own back up copy of everything we send would be foolish. Fortunately, when we moved house, we decided that we would invest in a new printer for our study. This little gem is a wireless printer that will happily scan straight to the computer, in several different formats. So, although a little laborious, getting .pdf files of every piece of evidence straight from the study to my laptop down in the kitchen is really rather pleasing. It should also help reduce the amount of trees dying as a direct consequence of our attempts at obtaining a green card. Ha! "Green" card. Anyway...

All that is left to do now, then, is post that fat envelope full of proof off to the USCIS and cross everything* until we hear back. Here goes!

* This is unlikely to actually occur.

Thanks to Hyperbole and a Half for the awesome meme images, and to my friend Matthew, for making them for me as he watched my Facebook-documented despair earlier today.


  1. I think the evidence I sent with my application was so bulky and heavy, it cost about 14 dollars in postage! lol Most of the work has to be done by the US citizen for this one though (which annoyed my wife).

  2. Yes, I think that stressed Ben out a little. He has a lot on with both his jobs, and he is in the last semester of his MA - immigration paperwork wasn't really helping!


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