checking uscis case status and processing time cover photo

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 the 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.

How to Check USCIS 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

How to Check USCIS Case Status Graphic

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.

How to Check USCIS Case Status Graphic 2 Showing Result

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.

How to Check USCIS Case Status Graphic 3 Where to Find Receipt Number on I-797

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.

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 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 over 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.

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.

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

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 for form I-130 at the California Service Center Example 1 Selection the Form

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 for form I-130 at the California Service Center Example 2 Selection Menu

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 for form I-130 at the California Service Center Example 3 Final Result

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 December 2022, the processing time for a green card holder sponsoring a spouse or a child under 21 years is 25.5 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.

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.

  • I-129 for H-1B applicants – California Processing Center: 2.5 months
  • I-129f for K-1 applicants – Nebraska Service Center: 4 months
  • I-130 for green card holders sponsoring foreign spouses – Texas Service Center: 20 months
  • I-131 for advance parole applications – National Benefits Center: 11.5 months
  • I-140 for extraordinary ability foreign workers – Texas Processing Center: 22 months
  • I-485 for family-based adjustment of status – Vermont Processing Center: 20 months
  • I-601 for applications for waiver on ground of inadmissibility – Nebraska Processing Center: 27.5 months
  • I-765 for applications for employment authorization for H-1B spouses (H4) – California Processing Center: 6 months
  • N-400 for applications for naturalization – Texas Processing Center: 20 months
  • N-600 for applications for certificate of citizenship – Vermont Processing Center: 15 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.

  • EAC or VSC: Vermont Service Center – 13 months on average
  • LIN or NSC: Nebraska Service Center – 6 months on average
  • SRC or TSC: Texas Service Center – 11 months on average
  • WAC or CSC: California Service Center – 8 months on average
  • NBC: National Benefits Center – 9 months on average
  • YSC: 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:

Form

California

Nebraska

Potomac

Texas

Vermont

I-90

Accepted 

I-102

Accepted

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-129F (K-1/K2)

Accepted 

Accepted 

(AWA only) 

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

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-129

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-130

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-131

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-140

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-192

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-212

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-290B

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-360

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-485

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-539

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-601

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-601A

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-612

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-730

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-751

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-765

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-765V

Accepted 

I-817

Accepted 

I-821

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-821D

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-824

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-907

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-914

Accepted 

I-918

Accepted 

Accepted 

I-929

Accepted 

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:

Form

California

Nebraska

Potomac

Texas

Vermont

I-129 CW

Accepted

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

Accepted

I-129 (E-3)

Accepted

I-129 (H-1B)

Accepted

Accepted

Accepted

I-129 (H-1B status change)

Accepted

Accepted

Accepted

Accepted

I-129 (H-1B extension)

Accepted

Accepted

Accepted

Accepted

I-129 (H-2A)

Accepted

I-129 (H-2B)

Accepted

Accepted

I-129 (H-3)

Accepted

Accepted

I-129S (Blanket L)

Accepted

Accepted

I-129 (L)

Accepted

Accepted

I-129 (O)

Accepted

Accepted

I-129 (P)

Accepted

Accepted

I-129 (Q)

Accepted

Accepted

I-129 (Religious occupation)

Accepted

I-129 (TN)

I-129 (H-1B1)

Accepted

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:

  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.

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.