So you've completed all the necessary paperwork, settled the fees, acquired your USCIS receipt number, and now the anticipation sets in. The waiting game begins, accompanied by potential backlogs, government hitches, and evolving regulations. While this intermediary period can be stressful in itself, a reliable way to alleviate the tension is by monitoring your USCIS case status. Keeping a close eye on your application's processing time can be done in a number of ways as we'll explore in this article and it remains an essential step in immigrating to the U.S. How to Check USCIS Case Status 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. You can check your status in the following ways: \tOnline through the USCIS case status tool \tBy telephone in or outside the U.S. \tSign up for automated updates Checking Your Case Status Online There are many ways to check your USCIS case status, and probably the easiest way is to check it online. The process is very simple and doesn't require much time at all. All you will need to get started is your I-797. Once you receive your I-797, you can check your status using the following steps: Step 1: Visit the USCIS Case Status Online Tool. Step 2: Enter the 13-digit USCIS receipt number. Make sure to enter the number without the hyphens. Step 3: Click the "Check Status" button If entered correctly, the following screen will show the status of your case. The status will be specific to your case and specific to your immigration program. Learn how you can Track Your Green Card. 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. https://youtu.be/t0vY6Wknu0A Checking Your Case Status on the Phone If you have access to a phone, which most people do, you can check your case status that way as well. You will need your receipt number to do so. To verify your status over the phone, you need to call 1-800-375-5283 or TTY 1-800-767-1833. If you are outside the U.S., call 212-620-3418 or contact a USCIS international field office. 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. Check out the Marriage-Based Green Card Timeline. If you have specific questions, it is best to ask your immigration attorney as they will likely be able to get you information quicker. Can I email USCIS about my case status? As of 2018, USCIS no longer accepts emails inquiring about case status. How to Set Up Automatic Updates to Check USCIS Case Status If you don't already know, you can set up automatic updates for your case status, which takes away the need to check to stay updated. This is a relatively new service that is very useful for many immigrants. There are numerous third-party websites that charge a fee to set up automatic updates. Make sure that you are not signing up for them because the USCIS does not charge you anything to check your case status. Staying up-to-date with your application is crucial because if the USCIS requires any clarification or request for evidence, they will let you know. The sooner you can be aware of the changes to your status, the sooner you can take the next required step in your U.S. immigration process. Learn how you can get a Green Card for Your Parents. How to Check USCIS Processing Times The most up-to-date resource online for you to check how long USCIS is taking to process applications is the Processing Times page. You can 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. 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. 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. 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 late 2023, the processing time for a green card holder sponsoring a spouse or a child under 21 years is 23-38 months. All the times are estimates. The USCIS Processing Times page is updated once a month. Learn about Family-Based Applications Processing Times. Current USCIS Processing Times in 2023 The average processing time for a USCIS form is between 3 months and 20 months. However, each processing center has its own workload, so the speed at which it operates does not depend on other or nearby centers. The wait time will also depend on the form that you submit and your specific application. Processing times change all the time, and below you can find current times for early 2023. \tI-129 for H-1B applicants - California Processing Center: 2 months \tI-129f for K-1 applicants - Nebraska Service Center: 4.5 months \tI-130 for green card holders sponsoring foreign spouses - Texas Service Center: 13.5 months \tI-131 for advance parole applications - National Benefits Center: 11.5 months \tI-140 for extraordinary ability foreign workers - Texas Processing Center: 23 months \tI-485 for family-based adjustment of status - Vermont Processing Center: 14 months \tI-601 for applications for waiver on ground of inadmissibility - Nebraska Processing Center: 21.5 months \tI-765 for applications for employment authorization for H-1B spouses (H4) - California Processing Center: 5.5 months \tN-400 for applications for naturalization - Texas Processing Center: 9.5 months \tN-600 for applications for certificate of citizenship - Vermont Processing Center: 5.5 months It is impossible to generalize how fast each center processes a form because many factors are at play. For example, the form type, the individual application's characteristics, or even how busy the entire immigration system is. Below we tried to give you a very general perspective of how long each processing center could take to complete the assessment of an application. \tEAC or VSC: Vermont Service Center - 13 months on average \tLIN or NSC: Nebraska Service Center - 6 months on average \tSRC or TSC: Texas Service Center - 11 months on average \tWAC or CSC: California Service Center - 8 months on average \tNBC: National Benefits Center - 9 months on average \tYSC: Potomac Service Center - 11 months on average Among all field centers, the fastest one is usually the Nebraska Center, but the wait times change all the time, and it perhaps will not be the fastest one when you make your application. How Accurate is the USCIS Processing Times? The processing times on the USCIS website are updated with 1-month-old or 2 months old data, depending on the type of application. Considering this, you can be certain that the data is relatively accurate for most applications. However, in recent years USCIS has received some criticism about its estimation of processing times. Generally, people are not convinced that the estimated times that are shown are accurate, with many applications taking much longer. This is usually the case with problematic applications or applications that are submitted during the busy season. USCIS Processing Centers and Services They Offer Below is the list of current USCIS processing centers and the forms each one processes. USCIS Processing Centers and Forms There are numerous forms that USCIS requires applicants to submit for various immigration streams. However, not every processing center processes every form, and especially some centers don't process certain types of forms. We have summarized all of the relevant information and you can find the exact list of USCIS processing centers and forms below: USCIS Processing Centers and I-129 Forms There are various types of I-129 forms, and not every processing center processes every type of that form. Below is a complete list of which centers process which types of I-129 forms: 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: \tEAC or VSC: Vermont Service Center \tLIN or NSC: Nebraska Service Center \tSRC or TSC: Texas Service Center \tWAC or CSC: California Service Center \tNBC: National Benefits Center \tMSC: Missouri Service Center \tIOE: USCIS Electronic Immigration System \tYSC: 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. Find out more about K-1 Finacé Visa Processing Times. The two digits after the three letters dictate the fiscal year USCIS opened your case. In our example, we opened our case in the 2023 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. 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 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: \tCase taking more than the normal processing time \tDid not receive a notice by mail \tDid not receive a card by mail \tDid 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.