USCIS accepts various kinds of forms related to US immigration benefits or applications. Processing such applications or petitions can take time and is subject to many hurdles. The processing times of these cases filed with USCIS can vary based on the location, type of the form, etc., and are subject to delays. Keeping an eye on the processing of your case is critical to keep yourself informed and not panic. In this article, we provide you with all details on how to check or track your USCIS Case status online, various case statuses, including options to subscribe for case status updates. Also, we will cover many FAQs.
Before we get into details on how to track the USCIS case status, it is good to understand some basics on what is case receipt notice is and how you can find the case number to track your application submitted with USCIS.
What is USCIS Case Receipt Notice ? Case Receipt Number ?
USCIS Receipt Notice: After you submit an application or petition with USCIS, they will send you a receipt notice using physical mail that indicates that your application or petition was received by them and they are processing the same. But, for some forms like I-765 for F1 OPT, where you can submit the application online, the receipt notice is generated immediately after submission. USCIS also sends a physical receipt notice for any online forms submissions as well.
USCIS Case Receipt Number: When the receipt notice is generated by USCIS, they assign a Receipt Number, which is also referred to as a USCIS Case number. The USCIS Receipt Number is a 13 digit number and typically starts with three alphabets like WAC or EAC based on where it was filed. You can use this 13 digit Receipt Number that appears on the Receipt receipt notice ( which is Form I-797C) to track Case Status online using the USCIS website.
USCIS Receipt Notice is officially called form I-797C, Notice of Action. The same I-797C form is used to communicate other case-related updates like rejections, case transfers, USCIS appointments, and others. Below is a screenshot of Sample form I-797C, where you would find the Receipt Number or Case Number.
Who can check their USCIS Case Status Online ?
Anyone, who submitted a petition, application, or benefit request with USCIS and where they generate a Receipt Notice with Receipt number on it can check their case status online. Below are the most common types of USCIS applications that you can check the case status online.
- Work visa petitions like H1B, L1, O-1, other using Form I-129
- Employment Authorization Document (EAD) applications using form I-765
- Adjustment of Status applications using form I-485
- Advance parole travel document applications using form I-131
- Application for Naturalization using form N-400
- Green card petition (immigrant visa) for workers using form I-140
Who cannot check USCIS Case Status Online?
You cannot check a USCIS Case Status online if there is no ‘Receipt Number’ on the receipt notice or the confirmation notice for the submission. For example, there is no Receipt number given by USCIS during H1B Visa Registration selection. In this situation, you cannot check the USCIS case status online for the H1B Registration selection. See the below screenshot, it does not have the receipt number, rather only has the beneficiary confirmation number.
Now that we understand, what is USCIS Receipt Notice and Receipt Number is, let’s look at how to check the USCIS case status online.
Step by Step Guide to Check USCIS Case Status Online
USCIS website is the official online location to check and track your USCIS Case Status for any application or benefit that was filed with them. It is very straightforward to check or track your case status online. Below is a step-by-step guide with screenshots on the same.
- Step 1 – Find your USCIS Case Receipt Number: Before you proceed to check case status, you need to first locate your USCIS case receipt number. As shown in above screenshot, the case number appears on the top left hand side in the box that says ‘Receipt Number’. It will be a 13-digit number and start with EAC, WAC, LIN, SRC, NBC, MSC or IOE. After the 3 letter, the receipt number will be followed by 10 numbers.
- Step 2 – Go to USCIS.gov Case Status Webpage : Visit USCIS.gov Case Status Page
- Step 3 – Enter Receipt number: You will need to enter the 13-digit USCIS Case number in the enter a receipt number box. You should not enter any dashes(-) when you enter the case receipt number in the box. If there are any other letters or characters like ‘*’, then you should enter them as well. See below screenshot on where to enter the USCIS case receipt number.
- Step 4 – Click on Check Status: You need to click on the check status button. After you do that, you will get the USCIS case status displayed online. See below example of case status for an application that was approved and filed as premium processing for H1B Visa Petition.
How to Track USCIS Case Status with History, Get Alerts
It would be always nice to have the entire history of anything, rather than just current status. Thankfully USCIS provides such an option for users to track their entire case history and even alerts. To check the entire history and get alerts related to your case, first, you need to create a free account on the USCIS.gov website. All you need to do is signup for an account using USCIS.gov signup account link
Once you create a free account on USCIS website, you can add your ‘Receipt Number’ from the Case Receipt notice (I-797C, Notice of Action). Below is a sample screenshot of how USCIS account login looks like after you add a case. You can add multiple cases and track their status as well. To get alerts, you need to click on “Email Alerts On”. You can also get mobile alerts by clicking on “Mobile Alerts On”. You can choose to have them disabled by clicking on the “Email Alerts Off” or “Mobile Alerts Off”. See the below screenshot for how it looks.
Below is a sample screenshot of how the entire USCIS case history is tracked and displayed to the user. You can see the Case History Section as highlighted below on the bottom left. You can also see the next steps section on the right to know what is the next step.
In the current era, most of us have access to the internet either using a smartphone or with the internet provider at home. But, there are still some people who are outside of the US or even in remote areas in the US, who may or may not have access to the internet and do not know how to check the Case Status online. In such cases, USCIS provides few more options like calling USCIS Contact Center or visiting a USCIS Field office. let’s look at them now.
Check Case Status using USCIS Contact Center by Phone
USCIS recommends using its online website for case status checking. But, for some reason, if you do not have access to a computer for any reason, you can call USCIS Contact Center. USCIS says that you would get the same case status that you see online when you call them on phone. Below is the process
- If you are in US, you can call phone number 1-800-375-5283
- If you are deaf, hard to hear, speech disability : TTY 800-767-1833
- If you are calling from outside US, call 212-620-3418
Timings to Call USCIS
You can call USCIS anytime Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 8 PM EST ( New York Time). The helpline is closed on federal holidays and weekends.
Visit In-person to USCIS Field Office to Check Status
If you cannot use any of the above listed two options, then you can plan to visit the USCIS field office or in-person services. They do not encourage this practice for case status checks but may consider if there are issues with your case. You cannot do a walk-in to the USCIS field office. You need to book an appointment. You cannot book appoint online, you need to book an appointment by calling details listed at USCIS Contact Center.
Discontinued Options to Check USCIS Case Status
Below are some of the options that used to be available for everyone, but they have been discontinued now as of the year 2021 due to modernization of USCIS processes and availability of digital channels to check status.
USCIS Email option to Check case status
In the past, USCIS provided an option to send emails to their service centers to check the status of your pending USCIS petition or application. Starting from Jan 21, 2019, they have discontinued the Case Assistance by Service Center by email. You should NOT email to any of the below email addresses, you will not get a response. USCIS recommends that you check case status online as explained above or call them.
The USCIS service center e-mail addresses that are discontinued are listed below:
- California Service Center: email@example.com
- Vermont Service Center: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Nebraska Service Center: NSCFollowup.NCSC@uscis.dhs.gov
- Potomac Service Center: email@example.com
- Texas Service Center: firstname.lastname@example.org
Online Appointment Booking, if in US
USCIS has discontinued in-person appointment booking for anyone living in the US. You cannot use their online appointment booking system anymore. You can only use that option, if you are outside the US and meet specific criteria.
Direct Mail option for case status
USCIS has discontinued the option to send physical Direct Mail to their Service Centers. In the past, they had an option where you would send your details like Name, date of birth, date your application was filed, receipt number and copy of the receipt notice, the location where it was filed to the USCIS address. USCIS would respond to your request after that in 15 to 30 days. With digital options now, they have discontinued this option for general case inquiry.
USCIS Case Status – Understand Processing Times Trend
The USCIS processing time for a case depends on various factors like the application or petition type filed, the service center filed, and the current estimated processing times. You should check USCIS.gov for current processing times to get an idea of how long it can take. You need to select the form type and Field office or service center on that page to get an idea of the processing times for the forms you filed with USCIS.
You can check USCIS Historical Processing times to get an idea of how long it took in the last few years and what is the average processing time for each of the forms.
No, you cannot really check your USCIS Case status without having the Case Number that is on the Receipt Notice sent by USCIS. You need to wait for the receipt notice to arrive so that you can use the case number on it check USCIS Case Status online.
The USCIS Case Number is on the Receipt Notice that is sent by USCIS. It is a 13 digit number that starts with 3 letters such as EAC, WAC, LIN, NBC, MSC, etc followed by 10 digits. Below is an example of the same.
No, they both are different. The Receipt number is for tracking the status of any application filed with USCIS, whereas the USCIS Online Number is a number given by the USCIS system for certain online or paper-based forms. Read more at What is USCIS Online Number
In general, after you file the petition or application with USCIS and they received the package, they issue the receipt notice within 30 days. Usually, USCIS receipt notice can take anywhere from 15 to 30 days. Sometimes, if there are delays at the Service center, there are cases, where it can take few months. In such cases, you should reach out to USCIS to get to know more.
No, they are different. USCIS receipt number is a 13 digit number and appears on the USCIS receipt notice. It is assigned to most of the Case Receipts issued by USCIS. Unlike, Alien Registration Number or A-Number is a seven or eight-digit number. It can also be 9 digits sometimes. A-Number is not given for all the individuals getting a receipt notice, only a selected subset of individuals would get A-Number.