What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Was Approved” Mean for My Form N-400?

In a Nutshell

If your USCIS case status says “Case Was Approved,” congratulations! This means USCIS has reviewed your naturalization application, determined your eligibility, and decided to grant you citizenship. You’ll often see several statuses prior to approval as your case progresses, and it can take a long time for USCIS to process and approve your application. It takes an average of 8–12 months for USCIS to process and approve Form N-400. This article explains the case approval process with USCIS and what happens after your case is approved.

Written by ImmigrationHelp Team
Written December 19, 2022

My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Approved.” What Does That Mean for My Form N-400?

When you begin the naturalization process, you’ll need to file a Form N-400 application. Form N-400 officially brings your case to USCIS’ attention. Once USCIS receives your Form N-400, it can “accept” your case for processing. At this point, it can begin to evaluate your petition for citizenship. 

Depending on your background and green card status, your actual wait times for approval can vary between 8–12 months. Throughout the application process, you should be able to access your most recent case status updates through your USCIS account online. USCIS will also notify you about updates by mailing you an official notice called Form I-797: Notice of Receipt.

Between your initial application submission and approval, you may see the following statuses:

  • Case Was Received: USCIS has received your application.

  • Request for Initial or Additional Evidence Sent: Sometimes, USCIS sends a Request for Evidence (RFE) if it feels your application was incomplete or inaccurately filed. In these cases, be sure to address USCIS’s concerns quickly so that it can fully consider your application.

  • Expedite Request Received: If you requested expedited processing of your application, you may see this status.

  • Fingerprint and Biometrics Appointment Was Scheduled OR Case Was Updated To Show Fingerprints Were Taken: If USCIS requires you to complete a biometrics appointment for your citizenship application, you may see this status.

  • Case Is Ready to be Scheduled for an Interview OR Interview Was Scheduled OR Interview Was Completed and My Case Must Be Reviewed: USCIS is ready to or already has scheduled a citizenship interview for you with one of its immigration officers.

During this waiting period, USCIS will require you to complete a few of the above steps in the citizenship application process. Before receiving Form N-400 approval, you’ll typically need to complete a biometrics appointment and attend an interview with an immigration official. Note that at your interview, you’ll be expected to pass the English language exam and the U.S. civics exam. If you successfully pass the interview, USCIS should find you eligible for U.S. citizenship.

If you don’t have a complicated case, you should expect your USCIS interviewer to let you know their decision at the end of your interview. You can also check your status online if you didn’t receive an immediate decision. When your case status says “Case Approved,” it means that USCIS has officially approved your Form N-400. You are nearing the end of the naturalization process and will soon become a U.S. citizen.

Does “Case Approved” Mean the Same Thing as “Case Received”?

The case statuses “Case Approved” and “Case Received” mean two very different things. USCIS must first “receive” a case before it can make a decision on it and “approve” it. When USCIS “receives” your case, it has your application and is ready to begin processing it. As it processes your case, it will review your application materials and decide whether to approve, deny, or reject your application.

Initial acceptance does not guarantee approval. If USCIS does approve your application, it will do so several months after first accepting your case for review. Once approved, USCIS has determined that, based on your application materials and interview, you are eligible to receive U.S. citizenship.

My Form N-400 Case Was Approved by USCIS. Now What?

USCIS may either approve, deny, or continue your naturalization application at the end of your interview. If USCIS approves your application, you should be able to proceed with the Oath of Allegiance ceremony. This ceremony is a required part of the citizenship application process. At this ceremony, you’ll swear allegiance to the United States and officially become a citizen. When USCIS approves your case right after your interview, it can schedule your oath ceremony on the very same day as your interview and exam.

If USCIS does not immediately approve your application, it may continue processing your case. If it later decides to grant you citizenship, it may schedule your ceremony for around two to six weeks later. Be sure that USCIS has the correct mailing address on file for you so that you can complete this last step. 

USCIS will send you Form N-455, the Notice of Naturalization Oath Ceremony. This form contains scheduling information for your ceremony, including the date, place, and time of the next available ceremony appointment. If you cannot attend the earliest ceremony, you’ll need to return your Form N-445 notice to your local USCIS field office and write to request a new ceremony date. Note that missing more than one date can cause USCIS to revoke its decision. It is very important that you attend your ceremony and do not miss it.

At your ceremony, an official will grant you your certificate of naturalization. You will now be a U.S. citizen and have the right to vote in U.S. elections, as well as other rights exclusive to being a citizen.

How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?

Throughout the process, you’ll want to stay updated on your case status. USCIS will send you notices by mail when it has updates on your case status through Form I-797: Notice of Receipt. However, you can always access the most recent updates to your application online with the USCIS Case Status Tracker. To use the status tracker, you’ll need to input the 13-character receipt number that USCIS gives all applicants in its Form I-797 notice.

Once you’ve received the “Case Was Approved” status update, you are nearly at the end of the application process. However, you’ll still want to keep an eye out for any additional updates or requirements. If USCIS did not immediately approve your case after the interview, you’ll want to keep an eye on its notices to make sure you know when the next available oath ceremony will take place.

Do I Need an Immigration Attorney To Get My Form N-400 Approved?

If you haven’t yet received your approval notice and you’re worried about how long it’s taking USCIS to process your application, you may wish to reach out to USCIS’s Contact Center for support. 

If USCIS has already sent you an approved case status, you’re in a very good position to receive citizenship. At this point, you should only need an immigration attorney in very unique circumstances. For example, if you’ve missed more than one oath ceremony and are now facing a revocation of your approval. 

Similarly, some applicants may have expected approval but didn’t receive it. If you think you had a strong case for citizenship, you may want to speak with an immigration law expert to learn more about what went wrong.