What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Rejected” Mean for My Citizenship Application?

In a Nutshell

The USCIS case status “Case Rejected” means that you didn’t file your immigration paperwork correctly, so USCIS did not review your case. If USCIS rejects your case, it will return your original filing fee. To have your case reviewed, you’ll need to fix the issue that caused the rejection. Common issues that lead to rejection include filing the incorrect form version, paying an incorrect fee amount, and not signing a form. If you see the “Case Rejected” status on your USCIS account, you’ll need to refile your application and pay your filing fee to move forward with your immigration application. If you aren’t sure how to correct the mistake after reading this article, you may want to contact an attorney for help with your case.

Written by ImmigrationHelp Team
Written December 26, 2022

My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Rejected.” What Does That Mean for My Citizenship Application?

When U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) rejects your citizenship case, it is because you made an error in your application. If USCIS rejects your case, you’ll have a chance to resubmit your materials. Note that a rejection does not mean that USCIS has determined that you’re ineligible for citizenship. The agency was unable to review your application because it was incomplete or filed incorrectly. USCIS will reconsider your application once you send in the right materials.

When USCIS rejects your case, it sends a notice via mail, which will tell you the reason why. It will also return your filing fee. Once you know why it rejected your case, you can prepare your corrections. If you fix your mistakes and refile your application, you can get back on track. USCIS will then take a second look at your application now that everything is corrected.

Typically, USCIS rejects cases for the following common reasons:

  • Case Was Rejected Because It Was Improperly Filed

  • Case Rejected Because The Version Of The Form I Sent Is No Longer Accepted

  • Case Was Rejected Because I Did Not Sign My Form

  • Petition/Application Was Rejected For Insufficient Funds

  • Case Rejected Because I Sent An Incorrect Fee

  • Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee And Form Not Signed

  • Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee And Incorrect Form Version

  • Case Rejected For Form Not Signed And Incorrect Form Version

  • Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee

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

A “rejected” case and a “denied” case are very different. Please note that a rejection doesn’t mean you’re ineligible to become a U.S. citizen. Rejection just means that USCIS needs you to fix an error before it will consider your application. Having your case rejected may feel disheartening. Rejection can also extend the length of your application processing times. However, you still have the opportunity to refile without penalty. USCIS will explain the reason for rejection. As long as you understand the reasoning, you can fix the issue, resubmit, and get back on track.

Denial, however, is a more definite answer. If USCIS “denies” your case, they have determined that you’re ineligible for citizenship. USCIS reviewed your case and decided you don’t qualify for citizenship. If USCIS denies your case, you won’t become a U.S. citizen or receive any of your filing fees back. If USCIS denies your citizenship application but you have a strong case proving your eligibility, you may want to get legal help to appeal your case or figure out another immigration pathway.

What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Rejected” for My Citizenship Case?

If you see that USCIS’s Case Status says “Case Rejected,” you’ll have a few options to address this. Depending on USCIS’s reasoning, you may need to update one or more of your forms, resubmit the correct filing fee, or double-check for any missing information.

Case Was Rejected Because It Was Improperly Filed

You improperly filed if you made an error within your application, sent it to the wrong address, did not submit a required form, or left required spaces on your form incomplete. Be sure to thoroughly review your paperwork, including the address to which you’re sending your application. USCIS lists the correct addresses on its website. Your filing address will depend on your state of residence and military affiliation.

Case Rejected Because The Version Of The Form I Sent Is No Longer Accepted

You submitted an old version of the form. USCIS won’t be able to consider this until you refile with the most recent version. To ensure you’re using the most up-to-date form, scroll to “Edition Date” on the USCIS webpage for Form N-400. As of right now, USCIS has given applicants permission to apply using the now-expired N-400 form with an edition date of 09/17/19. However, this could change at any time when USCIS updates the form, so be sure to check before you mail your application.

Note that you can file citizenship applications online through USCIS, so you’ll only need to double check this if filing by mail.

Case Was Rejected Because I Did Not Sign My Form

You forgot to provide your signature. USCIS’s forms are legal documents and will require your signature. You need to sign off to attest that everything in your application is true.

Petition/Application Was Rejected For Insufficient Funds

Suppose your filing fee payment method required a bank withdrawal or credit card. If you did not have sufficient funds or credit to make the payment, USCIS will reject your application. Resubmit with a valid payment method. If you’re struggling to pay USCIS’s filing fees, you may want to check out our guide to affording these fees.

Case Rejected Because I Sent An Incorrect Fee

If you see this status or a status that says “Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee,” it means you did not pay the right filing fee for this application. You should resubmit with the correct fee. The correct fee for the citizenship form is $640, but you may also face additional fees, like biometrics fees. You can double-check fee information with USCIS’s fee calculator.

Case Rejected for Multiple Issues

Sometimes more than one of the above statuses will apply if you made multiple errors. In that case, you may see any of the following statuses:

  • Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee And Form Not Signed

  • Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee And Incorrect Form Version

  • Case Rejected For Form Not Signed And Incorrect Form Version

If you see one of these statues, make sure you address both issues before you resubmit your citizenship application to USCIS.

Where in the Citizenship Application Process Might I See “Case Rejected” as My Status?

You may see “Case Rejected” at any point you file a form or submit a fee during your application process. For the U.S. citizenship application, you’ll need to file Form N-400: Application for Naturalization and pay a fee of $640. When USCIS has updates on your application, it will notify you about your case status. Be sure to keep yourself updated on any communications from USCIS after filing. The faster you address any missing information, forms, signatures, or fees, the sooner you can proceed with your application.

When Should I Contact an Immigration Attorney About My Citizenship or Form Case?

Whether or not working with an attorney makes sense for you will depend on your specific circumstances, case type, and current case status. If USCIS rejects your application and you can’t figure out how to address any errors on your own, an attorney may be helpful. An attorney can help you ensure that you file the correct documents and answer any of your immigration questions.

You shouldn’t feel like you need to hire an attorney just because USCIS rejected your application. Remember that a rejection is different from a denial. A rejection has nothing to do with the strength of your case or eligibility. In most cases, you can probably file successfully without an attorney.

How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?

It’s a good idea to regularly keep track of your case status. If USCIS rejects your application, your citizenship application will be delayed. The faster you resubmit your materials, the faster you’ll hear back with a final decision. 

Even after you resubmit, USCIS may still need additional information to consider your case. USCIS supplements case statuses with notices by mail that give more information on next steps. They may ask you to respond to a Request for Evidence, schedule an interview, or schedule a biometrics appointment.

Once you’ve resubmitted your application, you can use USCIS’s Case Status Online to see your case status updates. 

Image shows the landing page for USCIS's case status online tracker tool

To use the status checker tool, you’ll need to enter your receipt number. Your receipt number is a 13-character code that you can find on USCIS’s Notice of Receipt. You should receive a receipt notice after filing forms with USCIS.