Waiting for USCIS to decide on your case can be frustrating and stressful. While waiting, USCIS has a few tools that allow you to track the status of your case and anticipate how long the process might take.
Checking your Case Status Online
You have filed your application with USCIS and paid the required government fees. Now it is waiting for USCIS to process your application. Since Covid 19 pandemic, USCIS's processing times have become lengthy, which can be frustrating. While you wait, you can check your case status on USCIS's portal. To check your case status online, you will need to log in to USCIS's portal at: https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do
Finding and Using the Receipt Number
Once you are logged in, you will need to enter your receipt number. The receipt number is on the top left of the notice you received from USCIS after you filed your application. Each form has a different number. If you filed an I-485 Application for Adjustment of Status and a Form I-765 Request for Work Authorization, you would have two receipts. Each one will have its unique receipt number that you can use to check the request's status.
The first three letters of the receipt number represent the service center where the case is being processed ("LIN," "EAC," "IOE," "WAC," "MSC," "NBC," or "SRC"). When you enter the number, make sure not to leave any spaces. Once you press the Check Status button, you will receive the requested information. Many times it will state that your case is being reviewed. Sometimes you will see an approval notice or indication that USCIS sent you a critical notice in the mail. Sadly, sometimes the information is not up to date.
How to Check USCIS's Processing Times
If your case is still being processed by immigration, you can also get some indication of how long it might take by using USCIS's processing time portal. This allows you to check the current processing times for the different application categories. You will need to log in to: https://egov.uscis.gov/processing-times/
After you log in to the portal, you will need to choose the correct form number and the right field office or service center. For example, below is an inquiry for the processing time of Form I-485 Application to Register Lawful Permanent Residence under the Family-Based category at the San Jose field office:
After you press the Get Processing Time button, you will receive the result, which in this example, at the time this article was written, was 29 months.
How to File an Online Inquiry with USCIS
If your case is still pending with USCIS beyond the normal processing time, you might want to file an online inquiry to get information on what is holding the adjudication back. You can log on to: https://egov.uscis.gov/e-request/Intro.do. There you can choose the Outside of Normal Processing Time option. You will need to fill up the inquiry form and provide your information and information regarding the last action taken on the case. It is advisable to ask your immigration attorney to help you with this inquiry to make sure you provide accurate information.
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*This article has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, may not be current, and is subject to change. Readers should contact their attorneys to obtain guidance concerning any particular legal matter.
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