What Does USCIS Case Status “Case Was Denied” Mean for My Child Green Card Application?

In a Nutshell

If you see “Case Was Denied” as your USCIS case status online, it means that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has received and reviewed your child’s green card application and decided not to grant your child a green card. If USCIS denies your child green card case, it’ll send you a denial notice explaining why. It can be disheartening to go through months of processing for a green card only to have your case denied. If this happens, you may want to get legal advice about the next steps. If you decide to appeal your case, you’ll want to have a good immigration attorney at your side.

Written by Attorney Curtis Lee
Written November 1, 2022

My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Was Denied.” What Does That Mean for My Child’s Green Card Application?

If U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) denies your child green card case, it means the agency reviewed your child’s application and decided they don’t qualify to receive a green card. It indicates that USCIS found one or more reasons to deny your child’s request to become a lawful permanent resident.

If you get a case denial for your child’s green card application, USCIS will mail you a denial notice that includes the explanation for the denial. However, you don’t get your filing fees refunded.

Getting a case denied can be frustrating and disheartening, especially because you had to spend a lot of time, money, and effort to complete the process. If you still wish to find a way to have your child immigrate to the United States, you can speak with an immigration attorneyarn about your other options, including filing an appeal.

Where in the Child Green Card Application Process Might I See “Case Denied” as My Status?

You may get a denial at several points during the green card application process. But no matter what point you get the case denial, it’ll occur after USCIS receives, processes, and reviews your child’s application. This means that with a child green card case, a denial would most likely come after USCIS or the National Visa Center (NVC) makes a decision concerning one of the following forms:

  • Form-130: Petition for Alien Relative

  • Form I-485: Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

  • DS-260: Immigrant Visa Electronic Application 

There are other, optional forms, where you might receive a “case denied” letter or status from USCIS. These include:

  • Form I-131: Application for Travel Document, which allows your child to travel while waiting for a green card through Advance Parole

  • Form I-765: Application for Employment Authorization, which is a work permit if your child wants to work

What USCIS Case Statuses Will I See Before My Case Is Denied?

If you have the misfortune of seeing “case denied” as your status, you’ll likely be familiar with other USCIS case statuses. If you’re worried about a case denial, keep in mind you’ll get many status updates from USCIS before this happens. Here are a few statuses most applicants will see during processing: 

  • Case Was Received: You’ll see this as confirmation that USCIS received your application. USCIS mails Form I-797C: Notice of Action to officially confirm receipt. This doesn’t mean your child’s green card was approved, just that USCIS received it. Form I-797C also contains your receipt number. You can use this number to check the status of your case online.

  • Case Was Rejected: If you make a mistake when you file your application, USCIS will reject your case and return your forms and filing fees. See more on this below.

  • Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent: USCIS will issue this status if it has begun reviewing your application, but decides it needs more information to make a decision. This could include providing additional evidence or documents to verify the facts of your child’s green card application.

  • Case Was Transferred: You may see this if USCIS transfers the case from one service center to another. They might do this to send cases from a busy service center to a less busy one. 

Does the Case Status “Case Was Denied” Mean the Same Thing as “Case Was Rejected”? 

No, it doesn’t. If USCIS rejects your case, it means you made a mistake with your application or filing fees. This can be annoying since it extends the overall processing for your child’s green card, but it’s fixable. If your case gets rejected, USCIS will send an official notice explaining why. With the information from this notice, you can fix and resubmit your application without penalty.

A USCIS case denial is worse than a rejection. If USCIS denies your child green card case, it means the agency determined that your child doesn’t qualify to get a green card. Generally speaking, it’s not something you can easily fix. 

What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Denied” for My Child’s Green Card Case? 

Your next step depends on why USCIS decided to deny your child’s green card. Regardless of the reason USCIS provides, it’s usually a good idea to hire an immigration attorney. They can review your case and explain in more detail what went wrong and if there’s something you can do to fix the problem.

For example, your individual circumstances could mean an appeal is likely to be successful. If this is a viable option, your attorney can help you through the complex appeals process.

If you’re lucky, you might have the option of filing another green card application for your child. This may be a possibility if their eligibility has changed. If you reapply, you’ll have to start the application process all over again, including completing new forms and providing new filing fees.

If you completed the original green card application for your child without an attorney, you can probably reapply without the help of an attorney. But it’s still a good idea to have your attorney help when reapplying. This is because they can double-check your second application to make sure you didn’t miss anything.

When Should I Contact an Immigration Attorney About My Child’s Green Card Case?

Many people can complete the green card application process successfully without having to hire a lawyer, but a case denial changes everything. The reasons for the denial and the process of appealing it (or finding an alternative route to getting your child to the United States) may be more complicated than completing the basic green card forms.