I-751 Removal Of Conditions Denied Due To Abandonment
When it comes to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) they mean business. If they send you a notice in the mail and you don’t receive it… guess what? Too bad! I have heard so many horror stories about people moving to another address and forgetting to set up mail forwarding which causes them to miss these notifications. If you remember anything from this entire post; always ensure that USCIS has your current address.
Keep in mind that if the USCIS notice doesn’t get “returned to sender” the government assumes that you received it. A great way to be sure you don’t miss any new status updates is by checking your case status online at www.uscis.gov. You don’t need to become obsessive with checking the website daily, but I recommend checking at least once a week. This is what I did with all of my applications even though I stayed at the same address. You never know whether the mailman will deliver your mail on time or to the right mailbox.
Abandonment is such as strong word and it evokes carelessness on the part of the green card holder. Yes, life can get busy for all of us but this is not an excuse for you to forget about your responsibilities while your case is being reviewed.
Reasons For Denial Due To Abandonment
The number one reason your case is denied due to abandonment is not responding to a request for evidence (RFE). If the adjudicator needs additional information before making a decision on your case, they will send an RFE to the address they have on file. You will then be give a period of time to respond before they determine you have abandoned your case.
How much time does USCIS allow you to respond to an RFE? About 30 days. This may seem like a short period of time and it is. The clock starts as soon as they mail the notice to you, so be sure to send your response quickly. Of course this assumes that you receive your mail on time and that the post office didn’t loose your mail altogether. If you suspect that you have missed a notice, you should definitely call the customer service line (800-375-5283) for an update on your case.
You will only get one chance to respond to an RFE. Make sure that you submit all the documents that are listed on the notice for the best chance of approval. If USCIS has already made the decision to deny your case, you will be sent a NOID (Notice of Intent to Deny).
Receiving an NOID basically means that an officer reviewed your application and found that you provided enough initial evidence, but determined that you are nevertheless ineligible for the immigration benefit for which you have applied. While a NOID is not an official denial, you will eventually receive a Notice of Action (NOA) denying your application if you do not respond with convincing evidence to show that you should be approved. You should treat this as a more urgent RFE.
Responding To Notice Of Intent To Deny
Often NOID’s will tell you which documents that USCIS is missing. For example, it might ask you to provide a copy of your spouse’s birth certificate. Even if an NOID/RFE seems relatively straightforward, you should take this opportunity to review your case materials and supporting documents to see whether there is anything else you can send to USCIS to solidify your case.
Consider this to be a chance to address any weaknesses in your case by sending more evidence that could be used by an immigration officer’s “additional review” of your case.
In other cases, an RFE might give complex provisions of U.S. immigration law and ask you to provide information to prove that you are actually eligible for an immigration benefit. It’s important that you understand exactly what you are being asked to prove before responding to an RFE. Remember, you only get one chance to respond. If you are unsure what evidence you should submit to USCIS, consult an immigration attorney who can help you review the NOID/RFE and put together a strong response.
Although hiring an immigration attorney can be expensive, it can help to have someone on your side fighting for your case. Make sure to shop around for a reputable attorney that won’t charge you an obscene amount of money to handle your case. Normally, responding to an RFE/NOID is straightforward for most people but if your case has special circumstances, set up a free consultation with an attorney for guidance.
If, however, you choose to respond on your own here are the steps you should follow:
- Make a duplicate copy of the RFE notice for your records;
- Send the original RFE (blue paper) should be included in the response packet;
- USCIS will scan this sheet and forward it for further processing;
- Write a cover letter that outlines the contents of your submission;
- Cover letter should be organized very similarly to the RFE;
- Make copies all of the information that you send for your records.
Once you response is organized, you can mail it to the return address on the notice. It’s best to send the RFE response via priority mail with delivery confirmation so that you have proof that it was delivered.
After Responding To A Request For Evidence
When a request for evidence is issued, all processing of your case will stop. But once you mail your response to the USCIS , the adjudicator will resume processing of your case and a final decision is made within 60 days. Unfortunately , delays are often “normal” when it comes to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). They often will not tell you exactly how long it will take them to approve or deny your case, citing that every case is unique and timelines vary.
If it has been longer than 60 days since you sent in your response, you should call USCIS customer service to get an update.
Below are factors that can delay processing of your case after an RFE:
- USCIS is prioritizing certain cases over others
- not all documents they requested were submitted, and
- if USCIS plans to deny your case, the denial must be reviewed by a supervisor.
There is, however, a period of time that is outside of the 60 day time frame but that is considered a normal delay. It is between day 61 and 94. Don’t ask my why USCIS has picked this number of days as “normal delays” but keep in mind that Customer Service may not think something is wrong until you pass the 94 day mark.
I remember receiving an RFE after we sent our K1 visa and it did make me panic. USCIS needed official tax transcripts (we sent returns) and more evidence of bona fide ongoing relationship. After we mailed our response, our case was processed quickly.