What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Was Denied” Mean for My DACA 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 (USCIS) has received and reviewed your DACA application and decided not to grant you DACA status. If USCIS denies your DACA renewal case, it will send you a denial notice explaining why. It can be disheartening to go through months of processing for DACA status only to have your case denied. If this happens, you may want to get legal advice about the next steps.

Written by Amy Lane Carst
Written December 15, 2022

My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Was Denied.” What Does That Mean for My DACA Renewal Application?

If you received a “Case Was Denied” status update on your DACA application, it means that USCIS has received and reviewed your case and determined that you do not qualify for DACA status. When this occurs, you will not receive DACA status and your application fees will not be returned to you. Although this is certainly not the outcome you desired, all hope is not lost.  

If your DACA status is denied, you may rightly feel frustrated, sad, and even scared, but it is important to try to remain calm. USCIS can make mistakes, and you may still be able to resolve this matter and obtain DACA status by appealing your case or through other channels.

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

A status update of “Case Denied” will not come until the very end of your application process. USCIS must first receive and review your case to determine your eligibility. If you haven’t gotten a recent status update from USCIS and you’re worried about where your case stands, you can check the current processing times for DACA applications.

If your application is taking longer than the normal processing times, this doesn’t mean you are any more likely to be denied. But it can be stressful not to know where you stand. In this case, you can contact USCIS for more information or use your 13-character receipt number from your receipt notice to check your case status on USCIS.gov.

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

Although receiving a “Case Was Rejected” status update can be scary, it is not the same thing as a denial. If USCIS rejects your case, it simply means you made an error in your application or how you filed it. USCIS will mail you an official notice that explains why your case was rejected. Luckily, you can fix the error and resubmit your case.

Receiving a “Case Denied” status update means that USCIS reviewed your application for DACA status and determined that you are not eligible. Though this is difficult to hear, remember that you do still have options.

What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Denied” for My DACA Application?

If USCIS denies your DACA application, you can appeal the decision. However, appealing without legal help can be extremely difficult. An attorney can help you decide if you have grounds for appealing your case or any other viable immigration options. For an appeal to be successful, USCIS must have either made a mistake in issuing its denial, or something about your situation must have changed since the denial was issued. 

When Should I Contact an Immigration Attorney About My DACA Case?

Applying for DACA benefits can be costly. The filing fees for DACA renewal are $495, and you don’t get those fees back if your case is denied. As such, if you are unsure of how to file, you should consult with an immigration attorney. You can also get a step-by-step guide through the renewal process and learn more about the required forms by checking out our DACA Renewal Guide.

Although plenty of people file DACA applications successfully without legal help, resubmitting an application after a denial is a different story. Generally speaking, you will want to at least consult with an immigration lawyer before proceeding to determine next steps after a denial. This is particularly true if your circumstances are complex, such as if you are facing inadmissibility issues due to criminal charges or other situations. In these cases, it is definitely in your best interest to work with an immigration attorney.