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ResourcesVisa & Immigration LawUS Immigration LawCR-1 & IR-1 Visas: USCIS Request for Evidence During COVID-19 Crisis

CR-1 & IR-1 Visas: USCIS Request for Evidence During COVID-19 Crisis

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing Requests for Evidence, that is RFEs.  We are specifically discussing this in the context of a pending IR-1 or CR-1 Visa petition. That is a petition to assist a spouse in immigrating from abroad into the United States. We are specifically discussing Requests for Evidence also known RFEs. For those of you who are first of all unaware of the difference between a CR-1 in an IR-1 Visa. Very quickly, they are essentially the same process but the couple who is married two years or more at the time of the foreign spouse's entry or I should say official admission in immigrant status to the United States, if they are married for more than two years at the time of that entry, that spouse will be admitted as an IR-1 Visa holder and that means they are an unconditional lawful permanent resident of the United States as opposed to those who are admitted to the United States in CR-1 status, or Conditional Resident status to the United States if they are admitted prior to the two-year anniversary of their marriage at the time of lawful admission in immigrant status. So there is the difference. 

What is an RFE? Well as the name suggests, we are discussing a Request for Evidence made by USCIS, the US Immigration apparatus in the United States, and we are talking about basically situations wherein the adjudicator of an Immigrant Visa petition wants to see further evidence in order to make a final decision with respect to whether or not to approve a petition for that immigrant spouse. We are discussing this specifically in the context of Coronavirus or COVID-19 and how does having an impact on the case. 

Most notably it seems to be delaying certain aspects of the case and USCIS has responded with a recent announcement. Quoting directly:  USCIS Announces Flexibility for Request for Evidence, Notices of Intent to Deny, and this is from uscis.gov. Quoting directly: "In response to the Coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic, US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it is adopting a measure to assist applicants and petitioners who are responding to Requests for Evidence and Notices of Intent to Deny dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020.  For applicants and petitioners who receive an RFE or NOID dated between March 1 and May 1, 2020, any responses submitted within 60 calendar days after the response deadline set forth in the RFE or NOID will be considered by USCIS before any action is taken. USCIS is adopting several measures to protect our workforce and community and to minimize the Immigration consequences for those seeking Immigration benefits during this time." 

The thing to take away from this video is if you are issued an RFE for an Immigrant Spouse Visa petition between March 1 and May 1 of 2020, you are going to essentially be granted a 60-day extension to respond as a practical matter, from my reading of this announcement. So you will have an additional 60 days on top of whatever the deadline was that was stipulated in the Request for Evidence itself. So again, I think it is laudable that USCIS has taken into account that COVID-19 can have a detrimental impact on folks who are trying to process an immigrant spouse visa petition. It is possible that this COVID-19 situation may continue out further past the current lockdown that we are currently dealing with and if that is the case, we will make further videos on this channel to update folks accordingly.