EB5 INVESTORS M AGAZINE 20 Filing the response by the deadline is vital. USCIS generally gives 87 days to respond to RFEs and 33 days to respond to NOIDs. ” well-organized set of exhibits. Careful proofreading is also important. The comple x nua nce s i n c r a f t i ng a suc ce s sf u l response require the right team from the beginning. Coordinating an effective team is the single most important element of the response process. The right team will know how to respond to every issue raised by USCIS and will be able to do so on time. RESPOND TO EACH ISSUE INDICATED BY USCIS RFEs are, by definition, requests for additional evidence necessary for USCIS to adjudicate a petition. Responding to RFEs involves reviewing the list of requests and carefully providing the necessary evidence. NOIDs, on the other hand, demonstrate some kind of systemic problem with a petition and will likely require a more intensive solution that might involve extensive revisions to documents, additional third-party supporting documentation and other evidence. Whether responding to an RFE or a NOID, a detailed, forensic response is necessary. A well-written cover letter is needed to offer clarifications, amendments and specific arguments that narrowly address each issue brought up by USCIS. The cover letter will need to then point to cleanly organized exhibits that support every clarification, amendment and argument. Sometimes an RFE or NOID includes a request for clarification about how a particular piece of evidence does indeed demonstrate compliance with the requirements of the EB-5 program. In such cases, citing the law, USCIS memorandums and similar documentation is helpful and often necessary to prove that the original evidence is valid. An immigration attorney or qualified EB-5 consulting firm may be needed to adequately address such issues. In addition to clarifications, RFEs and NOIDs often require updated documentation, which may involve significant revisions to the business plan, the economic report, offering documents, budgets, schedules and similar documents. Any changes made in response to an RFE or NOID must be carefully documented in the response cover letter. Other documents may also need to be gathered, such as permits, receipts, bank records, land deeds and letters of intent. Compiling these additional documents into a comprehensive but easy-to- follow set of exhibits is an important part of the process, and properly citing these exhibits within the cover letter, as part of the response to individual issues expressed by USCIS, is essential. SUBMIT THE RESPONSE BY THE DEADLINE Filing the response by the deadline is vital. USCIS generally gives 87 days to respond to RFEs and 33 days to respond to NOIDs. USCIS provides an envelope for RFE and NOID responses. This envelope has a barcode printed on it that USCIS uses as it continues to process the case, and so it should be used if the entire response — including a copy of the RFE or NOID, the cover letter and all exhibits — fits inside. If the response documents do not fit, the provided envelope should be added to the top of the response packet to prevent any delays in processing. The response should be sent using priority or certified mail that offers delivery confirmation, which serves as proof that USCIS received the RFE or NOID by the deadline. Next day or overnight deliver y may be necessary if submitting the response on or near the deadline. The response must be filed in a timely fashion.