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What is USCIS Online Account Number? How to find? F1, N400, I765?

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is the federal agency that handles various aspects of legal immigration in the US. As per USCIS report,  they processed 7.7 million receipts in FY 2020 that included welcoming 625,000 new citizens, processing about 2 million employment authorization document (EAD) applications. USCIS provides both paper-based filing and online filing options for the majority of the forms. As part of filing these forms, you may be asked to fill out the USCIS Online Account Number as shown in below screenshot. In this article, we will review what is that number, how to find it, how it differs from receipt number, and other common FAQs for F1 students filing OPT, N400, others.

Before we get into details, we need to understand how this number originated in the first place. Let’s look at that first.  

Background – USCIS Electronic Immigration System (ELIS)

USCIS launched Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) in May 2012. USCIS ELIS system was the first online immigration system that was introduced by USCIS to give option for applicants to file forms online. USCIS ELIS system allowed applicants to file forms online. Also, it was used by the internal USCIS officers for case management and adjudication.  The concept of USCIS online number originated with USCIS ELIS system. USCIS has phased out ELIS as to be only used for internal electronic case management system.  ELIS is no longer available for external users and MyUSCIS account experience is the primary external facing system for applicants to file forms online.

What is USCIS Online Account Number?

USCIS Online Account number(OAN) is a unique number that is assigned by the USCIS system for certain online form filings and some paper-based form filings. This number is also called as USCIS Electronic Immigration System (ELIS) Number or USCIS ELIS Number. An applicant can get this number assigned to them in two ways as described below:

  • USCIS ELIS System: If an applicant has used USCIS ELIS System in the past to file an application, petition, or any benefit, then they would have been issued an online account number by the ELIS system. That number issued by USCIS ELIS system is called ‘USCIS Online Account Number’.
  • USCIS Lockbox Filing: If an applicant has filed certain applications, petitions or any requests using paper based forms at an USCIS Lockbox facility, then they may have received an USCIS Online Account Access Notice that has USCIS Online Account Number.

How to find USCIS Online Account Number ? Where ?

Depending on how your USCIS Online Account number was issued, you can find the same in relevant location as described below:

  • USCIS ELIS System: If you had an account in USCIS ELIS System and filed any form, application or benefit online, then you find it by logging into the ELIS System using that account credentials and going to the profile page. 
  • USCIS Lockbox filing: If you received an USCIS Online Account Access Notice after filing an application, benefit or petition with a USCIS Lock box facility, then you can find it on the top of that notice that you receive from USCIS.

Below is the guidance that is given by USCIS online system when you are trying to fill out any online forms

USCIS Online Account Number - OAN Description on USCIS website
USCIS Online Account Number (OAN) Description on USCIS website

Sample USCIS Form that asks for USCIS Online Account Number

USCIS asks for the ‘USCIS Online Account Number‘ as part of the ‘Other information’ where you complete Address details. Below is screenshot of how it looks on a sample I-765 form that is used to file EAD Application with USCIS. It pretty much looks the same for other forms as well. But, if you are filing the form Online, it looks like in above screenshot ( also under other information)

USCIS form I-765 asking for USCIS Online Account Number
USCIS form I-765 asking for USCIS Online Account Number

Does creating an account on my.USCIS.gov give USCIS OAN ?

No, it does not.  The current online system for filing applications, petitions or any benefits is my.USCIS.gov. You are not assigned any “USCIS Online Account Number” when you create an account at my.USCIS.gov. You will not find the option called ‘Profile’ to even look for that number.  The previous USCIS ELIS system used to issue this number for applicants who filed applications online. As discussed in background section, the previous ELIS System is now transitioned to MyUSCIS experience for all external facing applicants who use USCIS system to file forms online.

Is USCIS Online Account Number the same as USCIS Receipt Number?

No, they are not the same. USCIS Receipt number is a 13 digit number that is typically assigned to most of the application, petition or benefit that is filed with USCIS.  It usually starts with 3 alphabets like EAC, WAC, LIN, NBC, SRC or others followed by 10 numbers. The 3 alphabets indicate the Service center where the application or benefit is being processed. You can track USCIS Case Status Online using this receipt number.

USCIS Online receipt number is only assigned to some cases, where an online filing was done in the past using USCIS ELIS System or some other Green Card related forms were filed at USCIS Lock box facility. You cannot use the USCIS Online receipt number to track the status of the case. It is only for USCIS internal systems to make sure the applicant’s profile is pulled properly and has unified view.

USCIS Online Account Number for F1 OPT Application (I-765 Form)

Most of the F1 Visa students, when applying for OPT or STEM OPT application Online (I-765 form) or filing the paper-based I-765 application, they will come across the question that asks for “USCIS Online Account Number(OAN)(if any)”.  In most cases, F1 OPT students would not have this USCIS OAN, unless they used the ELIS system in past or filed anything with USCIS Lockbox for green card related forms.  So, F1 students applying for  OPT/STEM application can leave the the field related to this blank or put in ‘N/A’.

 What is USCIS Online Account Number for N-400 form ?

 When someone is filling out form N-400, which is Application for Naturalization, to become US Citizen, they would come across the question to fill out USCIS Online Account Number(OAN). Similar to above, you would have this only, if you filed anything online in the old USCIS ELIS system or you received a USCIS Online Account Access Notice after filing an application with the USCIS Lockbox facility. If you did not do either of these, you would not have an USCIS OAN. You can leave it blank, if you do not have the number issued by USCIS. If you are not sure, then you can just leave this field blank. Leaving it blank does not hurt your chances of getting US Citizenship.

Common FAQs

Is it mandatory to fill USCIS Online Account number on forms filed with USCIS ?

No, it is not mandatory to fill it out. Most of the times, many may not have the USCIS Online Account number, if they have not filed anything online in ELIS System or submitted anything to Lockbox facility and got the notice with that number.

Is A-Number same as USCIS Online Account Number?

No, they are not the same. A-Number or Alien Registration Number is a unique number that is given by USCIS for certain applicants, when they apply for EAD, Green Card, etc. It is anywhere from seven to nine digits. Many refer to A-Number as “USCIS Number” or ‘USCIS #’, but it is not the USCIS Online Account Number. It can be confusing when you see USCIS number and A-Number are called as same, the keyword you need to look out for is “online”.

Can I use my previous USCIS receipt number for my case for USCIS Online Account number ?

No, you cannot do that. USCIS Receipt number is tied to a specific case and not same as USCIS Online Account number.

Can I leave the USCIS Online Account number field blank, if I don’t have it or don’t know ?

Yes, you can absolutely leave that field blank, if you either do not have it or do not know where to even find it. Your application will not be rejected because you left it blank.

Does leaving the USCIS Online Account number blank, impact the decision of application ?

No, leaving it blank will not affect the decision of the application like your N-400, OPT, STEM OPT, other I-765 EAD forms, any other forms that asks for the same number.  If you know and have that number assigned to you or your account, then you should fill it. If not, then leave it blank.

What has been your experience with this number? Did you had one? Share your thoughts in comments.


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