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

In a Nutshell

When you see the case status “Case Was Received” from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it means USCIS is acknowledging that it received your immigration application packet. This is just the start of USCIS processing your application. It hasn’t yet reviewed your application materials or determined your eligibility. Once you see this status, keep an eye on future status changes and respond to anything that requires your attention, such as a request for evidence. This article explains the “Case Received” USCIS status and what to do when your application is in this status.

Written by Jonathan Petts
Written November 29, 2022

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

If your case status says “Case Was Received,” then USCIS has officially received your citizenship application. At this point, USCIS has not yet approved or even reviewed your application. Now, you’ll need to wait for USCIS to review your application materials and make a final decision on your case. Note that some applicants may see similar case statuses with the same meaning, such as “Case Was Received at My Local Office.”

Throughout the citizenship application process, USCIS will communicate with you about your application’s progress. You can check the status of your case on your USCIS online account. You will also receive an official receipt notice from USCIS, known as Form I-797C: Notice of Receipt, in the mail. This form will provide you with important information on next steps for your application. The form will also contain your USCIS receipt number, which you may later need to use USCIS’ Case Status Tracker.

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

“Case Received” does not mean the same thing as “Case Approved.” When applying for citizenship, you should be careful not to confuse the two status updates. When USCIS approves a case, it has given its decision on your Form N-400 petition. In the case of an approval, USCIS has determined that you are eligible to move forward to the next steps in the citizenship process.

When your case status says “Received,” it simply means that USCIS has received your application materials. However, it has not yet reviewed or read your application package. ”Case Received” is the beginning of what can be a long process. You should expect to receive USCIS’ decision on your Form N-400 application only after receiving USCIS’ receipt notice.

Processing times for citizenship applications can vary based on the agency’s current caseload. USCIS typically sends Form I-797C two to three weeks after you submit your application. USCIS then takes between 8–14 months to approve Form N-400 petitions. After receiving Form N-400 approval, you’ll still have to complete more steps in the application process, like completing a biometrics screening and citizenship exam and attending an interview with an immigration officer. These steps can take several additional months.

What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Was Received”?

If your case status says “Case Was Received,” all you can do at this stage is wait. Be sure to keep your Form I-797C: Notice of Receipt in a safe place. You may want to take a photo of it so that you’ll have a digital record of USCIS’ receipt. It’s very important that you have a record of this receipt. You’ll need the information on this receipt throughout the process to track subsequent updates to your case on USCIS’ website.

USCIS’ processing times will depend on the complexity of your case and other factors, like workloads at specific service centers, employee layoffs at USCIS field offices, or lags in federal funding. To learn more about processing times, you can visit USCIS’ Case Processing Times page for more information. If you aren’t seeing subsequent status updates or movement in your application process, you may contact USCIS

You should reach out to USCIS’ Contact Center if you notice that it’s taking longer on your application than their normal processing timeline shows.

Where in the Form N-400 Application Process Will I See a “Case Received” Status?

You should see the “Case Was Received” status after sending in your initial application to USCIS. USCIS claims that their Form I-797C receipt notice should arrive in the mail within 10 days of filing. However, USCIS often faces delays in processing. Realistically, applicants should expect to receive their receipt notice within two to three weeks of filing. Be sure to record the receipt number on your Form I-797C for later use when checking your case status.

Some applicants see similar case status updates after submitting their applications, such as “Response to USCIS’ Request for Evidence Was Received.” This means that USCIS previously sent you a Request for Evidence (RFE). 

RFEs ask you to clarify information you originally submitted in your application or provide any necessary additional documentation. USCIS will notify you about what it needs and provide you with a deadline for submitting these materials. After sending in your response, USCIS can then officially “receive” your application and consider it.

You may also see receipt statuses related to documents and correspondence you send to USCIS, such as “Correspondence Was Received and USCIS Is Reviewing it.” If you sent in a cover letter with your application, you may also see “Document and Letter Received.” Finally, if you requested to expedite your citizenship application, you may see the “Expedite Request Received” status.

How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?

The “Case Was Received” status comes toward the start of your application process. You will likely see many more status updates throughout the process. Some will require action on your part and have specific deadlines, such as RFEs.

Throughout the application process, you should keep up with your case status. USCIS provides several tools that allow you to check your current status online. You can check your status on your online USCIS account or through USCIS’s Case Status Checker. If you’re using the Case Status Checker, be sure to have your 13-character receipt number on hand. You’ll need to enter it to access your status updates.

Remember that case status updates are also usually accompanied by official notices from USCIS that come by mail and provide you with more detailed information.