What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Was Denied” Mean for My EB-5 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 has received and reviewed your EB-5 application and decided not to grant you a green card. If USCIS denies your EB-5 case, it will send you a denial notice explaining why. It can be disheartening to go through months of processing for an EB-5 green card only to have your case denied. If this happens, you may want to get legal advice about the next steps. If you decide to appeal your case, you’ll want to have a good immigration attorney at your side.

Written by ImmigrationHelp Team
Written November 15, 2022

My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Was Denied.” What Does That Mean for My EB-5 Application?

The EB-5 program allows alien investors, their spouses, and their unmarried children under 21 to apply for a green card and obtain permanent residence in the United States if they:

  • Make the necessary investment in a commercial enterprise in the United States, and

  • Plan to create or preserve 10 permanent full-time jobs for qualified U.S. workers. 

If USCIS denies your EB-5 green card application, it means that a USCIS officer reviewed your application but decided that you are not eligible to be a EB-5 green card holder. USCIS will send you a notice explaining the reason it denied your application. If your application is denied, USCIS will not return your filing fees. 

Having your EB-5 application denied after several months of waiting can feel like a major setback. It is especially disappointing because of all the time and effort you took to complete the application. But don’t give up hope if your application is denied. First, read the official notice explaining why USCIS denied your application. Then, if you feel USCIS has made an error, you can contact an attorney to help you determine what to do next. 

You may be able to successfully appeal your case with the help of an immigration attorney. Appeals are complicated because they are based on case law, which is why you’ll need to consult an attorney.

Where in the EB-5 Application Process Might I See “Case Denied” as My Status?

You may see notice that your case is denied at a few steps in the application process. You could see it after USCIS processes Form I-526: Immigrant Petition by Standalone Investor and/or Form I-485: Application to Register Permanent Resident Status or Adjust Status (also known as an adjustment of status application).

You may also file additional forms depending on your various circumstances. Here are a few examples: 

  • Form DS-260: If you are not presently living in the United States and apply for an immigrant visa through consular processing, you must file DS-260 with the U.S. Department of State. 

  • Form I-829: This form is used if you are a conditional permanent resident who obtained status through a qualifying investment and want to remove the conditions placed on your current residence.

  • Form I-130: When filing an EB-5 application, you will also file Form I-130 if you are also seeking a family-based green card for a family member, including a parent, child, spouse, fiancé(e), or sibling.

What Other Case Statuses Might I See During My EB-5 Application Process?

You’ll see several statuses throughout the application process. USCIS will only deny your application after it completes the process of reviewing your application. USCIS processing times differ depending on the type of immigration application you submit and the service center processing your application. After submitting the necessary forms, you may see the following statuses: 

  • Case Was Received: Upon the receipt of an EB-5 application, USCIS updates your status as case received and sends you a receipt notice with a receipt number. You can use this to track the status of your case as USCIS processes it. 

  • Case Was Rejected: If you incorrectly submitted your form by forgetting to sign it or using an outdated version of the form, USCIS will send you a rejection notice. This does not mean it has denied your immigration benefit. Typically, this is an easy problem to solve. 

  • Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent: USCIS will send you a request for additional evidence (RFE) if it needs more information before it can make a decision on your employment-based green card. 

  • Case Was Transferred: If a service center’s workload is excessive, USCIS may transfer your case to another service center with more capacity.

  • Notice of Intent to Deny: If you get a request for additional evidence and don’t reply in by the deadline, USICS may decide you have abandoned your case. If so, you may receive an intent to deny notice. This is what it sounds like. USCIS hasn’t yet denied your case, but it is telling you it intends to. At this point you can file a motion to reopen your case if you meet eligibility criteria.

Remember, you will see one of these statuses before seeing a denial, and a denial only occurs after USCIS processes your application in full.

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

No. Having a case rejected is less severe than having a case denied.

Although it can feel disappointing to see that your application was rejected, your only real loss here is time because you can correct the mistake that led to a rejection. USCIS will tell you why it rejected your application — most rejections are the result of applicant errors in filling out or filing required forms or paying fees. You can correct the problem that caused USCIS to reject it and resubmit your application without penalty. 

However, if USCIS sends you a notice that it has denied your application, it is informing you that it has reviewed your case and determined that you don’t qualify for an EB-5 green card. USCIS keeps your fees to pay processing costs, and you won’t receive a green card. To move forward, you may need to hire an attorney to help with your immigration case. This is especially true if you want to continue to seek a green card and permanent residence.

What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Denied” for My EB-5 Green Card Case?

If USCIS denies your EB-5 green card application, consider your alternate options for receiving a green card. An immigration attorney can help you understand your options.

An attorney will also review any possible grounds for appealing your EB-5 case. Appeals are technical and usually require legal help. You’ll have to file Form I-290B with the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) to begin your appeal and reopen your case. 

You can also reapply if your circumstances have changed in a way that affects your green card eligibility. You’ll have to submit a new application and pay another filing fee.

When Should I Contact an Immigration Attorney About My EB-5 Green Card Case?

It’s possible to file an EB-5 application successfully without an attorney’s help. However, if your case was denied, you will likely need an experienced immigration attorney to help you get a green card or become a lawful permanent resident.