checking uscis case status

You’ve filled out the forms, paid the fees, have your USCIS receipt number, and now the waiting game begins. With backlogs, government interruptions, and changing policies, waiting can be stressful, but the best way to help ease that stress is by checking USCIS case status. Checking USCIS processing times is used to see how long certain cases are taking in 2022 and to help predict how long your petition will take even before you submit an application.

With so many ways to check your USCIS case status, it is essential to know how to accurately verify your status to avoid further confusion and stress.

 

Checking USCIS Case Status Online

The easiest way to check your USCIS case status is online. Once you receive your I-797, you can check your status using the following steps.

  1. Visit the USCIS Case Status Online Tool 
  2. Enter the 13-digit USCIS receipt number
    1. Enter the number without the hyphens
  3. Click the “Check Status” button

 

 

checking uscis case status

If entered correctly, the following screen will show the status of your case.

USCIS Check Status 2.png

 

Your I-797 states the USCIS receipt number and other important information that helps you know your case status and who to contact. Your receipt number is in the top left-hand corner of your I-797.

Checking USCIS Case Status
In this I-797A example, you can find the USCIS receipt number in the top-left. The corresponding USCIS Field Office or Service Center will be at the bottom of the form.

Understanding the USCIS Receipt Number

Every letter or number in your USCIS receipt number is a specific identifier that is helpful for you to understand. For example, to understand the different components, let’s create a fake receipt number that is SRC-20-013-12345.

The first three letters in the number identify the corresponding USCIS Field Office or Service Center for your case. The codes are as follows:

  • EAC or VSC: Vermont Service Center
  • LIN or NSC: Nebraska Service Center
  • SRC or TSC: Texas Service Center
  • WAC or CSC: California Service Center
  • NBC: National Benefits Center
  • MSC: Missouri Service Center
  • IOE: USCIS Electronic Immigration System
  • YSC: Potomac Service Center

Our case goes through the Texas Service Center in our example receipt number.

Your distance to a service center does not always dictate where your case will end. Instead, the deciding factor is your type of case and the service center that processes the corresponding forms.  For instance, if you live in Vermont, but your petition is for an E-2 visa, your case will go through the California Service Center.

The two digits after the three letters dictate the fiscal year USCIS opened your case. In our example, we opened our case in the 2022 fiscal year. Therefore, the fiscal year runs from October 1 through September 30 of the following year.

The following three digits indicate the computer workday that USCIS opened our case in the fiscal year. In our example, we opened our case on the 13th computer workday of the fiscal year.

The last five digits are your unique case number. In our example, our unique case number is 123245.

Checking Your Case Status on the Phone

You will need your receipt number to check your USCIS case status through the phone.

To verify your status over the phone, you need to call 1-800-375-5283. When you call, you will hear the operator asking if you would like to continue in Spanish. If you want to continue in Spanish, you need to press 2. If you want to continue in English, stay on the line.

After that, the automated system will let you know that the call volume is high and recommend visiting the website to see if USCIS can answer your question with their tools. After the script, the system will let you know that it understands complete sentences and will ask you to describe what you need. For example, you can say “Check Status,” and it will then ask you for your receipt number. You can either say your receipt number or enter it using the keypad. The system will repeat the number to you to confirm and then tell you your case status. If you want to talk to an agent, it is nearly impossible as pressing “0” or any other key several times will not get you to an agent.

If you have specific questions, it is best to ask your immigration attorney as they will likely be able to get you information quicker.

As of 2018, USCIS no longer accepts emails inquiring about case status. However, a great way to receive updates on your case is to set up an account online with USCIS, where you will receive updates on all your cases.

Reviewing USCIS Processing Times

If you want to see how long USCIS is taking to process certain cases, visit their Processing Times page. If you’re looking at processing times before submitting your information, you can still look at each service center’s processing times to get an idea of how long you will likely wait for case processing.

First, select the form that pertains to your case from the dropdown menu.

USCIS Processing Times
On the USCIS Processing Times page, you can select up to 40 USCIS forms to review.

After selecting the form, the tool will let you choose your service center. Remember to check the first three letters of your receipt number to see which service center is processing your case.

USCIS Processing Times
We’ve selected form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative in this example. Then we were able to choose from five USCIS service centers.

The available service centers or field offices will depend on the form you select since not all service centers process all forms. For some forms, you might only see one or two options. For instance, the only option for form I-526, Immigrant Petition by Alien Investor, is the Immigrant Investor Program Office.

After selecting the office, the tool will show you the processing times.

USCIS processing times
USCIS Processing Times for form I-130 at the California Service Center as of April 2022.

For the above example, we’re checking the USCIS processing time of the I-130 at the California Service Center. As you can see, times vary on which relative you are sponsoring. As of April 2022, the processing time for a green card holder sponsoring a spouse or a child under 21 years is between 23 to 30 months if USCIS received the form on or after November 1, 2019. All the times are estimates.

The USCIS Processing Times page is updated once a month.

How to Submit an Inquiry About Your Case

If you want to submit another inquiry to USCIS, you can do so using the e-request tool.

Using this tool, you can only make the following inquiries:

  1. Case taking more than the normal processing time
  2. Did not receive a notice by mail
  3. Did not receive a card by mail
  4. Did not receive documents by mail

When submitting these inquiries online, you will need to provide information, including an email address, USCIS receipt number, type of petition, and date when you filed your petition, among other details.

USCIS Processing Centers

Below is the list of current USCIS processing centers and the forms each processes.

USCIS Processing Centers and Forms

Form

California

Nebraska

Potomac

Texas

Vermont

I-90

I-102

I-129F (K-1/K2)

(AWA only)

I-129F (K-3/K-4)

I-129

I-130

I-131

I-140

I-192

I-212

I-290B

I-360

I-485

I-539

I-601

I-601A

I-612

I-730

I-751

I-765

I-765V

I-817

I-821

I-821D

I-824

I-907

I-914

I-918

I-929

USCIS Processing Centers and I-129 Forms

Form

California

Nebraska

Potomac

Texas

Vermont

I-129 CW

I-129 (E-1 and E-2)

I-129 (E-3)

I-129 (H-1B)

I-129 (H-1B status change)

I-129 (H-1B extension)

I-129 (H-2A)

I-129 (H-2B)

I-129 (H-3)

I-129S (Blanket L)

I-129 (L)

I-129 (O)

I-129 (P)

I-129 (Q)

I-129 (Religious occupation)

I-129 (TN)

I-129 (H-1B1)

National Benefits Center

The National Benefits Center is not an official service processing center and is considered a field office. However, it still processes a large number of forms. You can find the national benefits processing times through the same process as the service process centers.

How VisaNation Law Group Can Help

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You're likely to have a swifter and easier application process when you seek the advice of an immigration attorney. A good attorney will always keep you abreast of the latest information so that you don't feel the need to check your USCIS case status or USCIS Processing Times every day. VisaNation Law Group is known for their hands-on approach and familial service. They are always available to answer any questions about your application.