If your USCIS case status says “Case Was Approved,” congratulations! This means USCIS has reviewed your application, determined your eligibility, and decided to grant your EB-5 green card. 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 six months for USCIS to process and approve EB-5 cases. This article explains the case approval process with USCIS and what happens after your case is approved.
Written by Peter Fargo.
Written December 29, 2022
My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Approved.” What Does That Mean for My EB-5 Application?
If you see the “Case Was Approved” status update in your online account, you have reason to celebrate. USCIS has confirmed that you are eligible to receive an EB-5 green card! Approval of an EB-5 application typically occurs when USCIS has finished reviewing your case and reached the end of the application process.
USCIS will also notify you by mail of an approval status with an official Notice of Action. USCIS issues Form I-797 to inform you that it has received or approved an EB-5 application. USCIS issues Form I-797B to notify you that it has approved a noncitizen worker petition.
Continue to track your case online to learn when USCIS will mail your green card. If family members have also applied for green cards as beneficiaries, you’ll also want to continue checking the status of their applications.
Some Case Statuses Explained
It can take USCIS a lot of time to review your EB-5 application. In the last five years, it’s taken an average of 29 months for USCIS to process Form I-526. That doesn’t include processing time for Form I-485 to adjust your status or other forms you may submit to travel with advance parole or to get a work permit.
As the months progress, USCIS will update your case status as it takes action on your case. You’re probably already familiar with several of these statuses such as:
Case Was Received: USCIS sends when it gets your initial application materials
Expedite Request Received: This only applies to individuals who’ve filed to have their case review expedited
Fingerprint and Biometrics Appointment Was Scheduled or Interview Was Scheduled: These and similar statuses are used later in the application process to inform you of required biometrics or interview appointments.
Does “Case Approved” Mean the Same Thing as “Case Received”?
USCIS case statuses used for EB-5 green card cases can be confusing. Some applicants see a “Case Was Received” status and think that means their case has been approved. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. The good news is that it does not mean that your application was denied.
You’ll see the “Case Was Received” status at the beginning of the application process. At this time, USCIS is starting to review your EB-5 application. By contrast, you’ll see a “Case Was Approved” status at the end of the application process. It happens when USCIS has finished reviewing your application and decided that you qualify for an EB-5 green card.
My EB-5 Case Was Approved by USCIS. Now What?
After USCIS makes its decision to approve your EB-5 application, you’re now waiting to get your green card. After you receive a notice of approval, your green card should arrive in 30 to 60 days.
If you have moved since your case was approved, make sure that you change your address online or call the USCIS Contact Center. Certain case statuses are fairly reliable indications that USCIS does not have your correct address. If you see any of the following statuses, it means that the address attached to your online USCIS account is not current:
Card Is Being Returned to USCIS by Post Office
Card Was Determined As Undeliverable By The Post Office
Card (or Document) Was Returned to USCIS
You should also reach out to the USCIS Contact Center in two other situations. First, if you believe there's an error on the USCIS approval notice or any other document that USCIS has sent you. Second, if your online case status says that USCIS mailed you an approval notice or document more than 30 days ago but you have not received it.
How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?
As you await the decision of USCIS, case status updates give you an idea of where you are in the application process. If you see “Case Was Approved,” it means that your application was successful.
After you receive notice that your “Case Was Approved,” you’ll want to continue to track your case online to learn when your green card will arrive in the mail. USCIS will also mail you any updates about your green card.
At this time, you may see the following changes to your case status:
Card Was Delivered To Me By The Post Office
Card Was Picked Up By The United States Postal Service
Card Was Mailed To Me
New Card Is Producing
Do I Need an Immigration Attorney To Get My EB-5 Application Approved?
Once you receive a status update that USCIS has approved your EB-5 application, it is unlikely that you will need the help of an immigration attorney for anything else. All you’ll need to do is wait for USCIS to send your green card to you in the mail.
If you’ve waited beyond your expected processing time, you may want to contact an attorney. However, before you do so, contact USCIS to see if you can resolve the issues with your application that are delaying the review process.
If you expected USCIS to approve your case but it has denied your application, you will probably want to speak with an attorney.