What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Was Received” Mean for My Employment Green Card?

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, you’ll want to 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 Immigration Help Team
Written December 4, 2022


My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Was Received.” What Does That Mean for My Employment Green Card?

You may see several case statuses when applying for an employment-based green card. When your case status appears as “Case Was Received,” USCIS is confirming that it has received your application. Your status may have slightly different wording. For example, some people will see “Case Was Received at My Local Office.” 

This status is good news. It means USCIS hasn’t rejected your employment green card application, so it will start processing your case. But since this happens at the very beginning of the application process, you probably have many months of processing ahead of you.

You will know that USCIS has received your application when it updates your status on your USCIS account online or when you receive a receipt notice in the mail. The receipt notice is officially called Form I-797C. Hang on to this notice! It contains your receipt number. This 13-character identifier allows you to check for case status updates as your application progresses.

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

Some USCIS case statuses sound similar but mean different things, so it’s easy to get them confused. Applicants often wonder if “case received” means the same thing as “case approved.” It does not.

The “Case Received” status will occur at the beginning of the application review process. You will not see a “Case Approved” status until you are near the end of the process. This can be many months later depending on how long your immigration application takes.

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

If you receive a notice that USCIS has received your case, your first step should be to put your receipt notice somewhere safe. It’s also a good idea to take a photo of this document or make a copy. As mentioned, your receipt notice contains your receipt number. That’s the 13-character identifier you will need to track subsequent status updates online.  

The next step is to wait for USCIS to review your application. At some point, the USCIS officer reviewing your case may need more information to determine your eligibility or they may need to alert you of other actions you need to take. These alerts come through case status changes and notices that are mailed to you. 

This is why it’s important to check your case status and your mailbox regularly. The official notices you receive from USCIS will tell you whether you need to take any action and what specific action you should take. 

How Long Will It Take USCIS To Process My Employment Green Card?

Remember, for most employment green card applications, your potential employer starts the employment green card process by filing Form I-140. This is the form to petition on your behalf. After that’s approved, you will file for an adjustment of status through Form I-485 if you are already inside the United States. If you’re outside of the U.S., you’ll use form DS-260 to get a visa through consular processing.

At each stage of your application, USCIS processing times can vary. Some USCIS service centers and field offices process applications faster than others. If there are significant USCIS staffing or budgeting issues, this can cause backlogs that delay application processing.

The good news is that you can check the processing time for your application anytime online. If your case is taking longer than the typical case processing time, you can contact USCIS to see why. If USCIS can’t answer your question, you may want to contact an attorney.

Have immigration questions? Get them answered by independent attorneys for $24/month with our Ask an Attorney program.

Where in the Employment Green Card Application Process Will I See the “Case Received” Status?

You should see a “Case Received” status shortly after mailing your initial application to USCIS. Though USCIS says applicants can expect to receive a receipt notice within 10 days of submitting their application, delays are common and can stretch that to two or three weeks. 

You can file Form G-1145 to request an electronic notification when USCIS accepts your green card application. While you wait, check your account online for updates using your receipt number.

You may see other “received” statuses as your immigration case progresses as well. For example, if you send more documents to USCIS to support your case, you will probably see a status such as Correspondence Was Received and USCIS Is Reviewing It.” Such statuses can bring you peace of mind that the documents you mailed to USCIS have been received at the proper office and will be filed as part of your case.

If you respond to a request for evidence, you’ll likely see a status like “Response to USCIS’ Request for Evidence Was Received.”

If you apply to have your application expedited, you’ll see the “Expedite Request Received” status, which confirms your expedite request is now with USCIS.

How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?

The easiest way to check your case status is by using the tool on USCIS.gov. As mentioned, you’ll need your receipt number to use this tool. Once you type in your receipt number, click “CHECK STATUS” to see your latest status on screen. Remember, USCIS will also send you an official notice via mail. These notices often contain more detailed information than your online status update does.

Why is it important to check your case status? Case status updates keep you informed of important changes in your case. They will also alert you when you are required to take further action. The sooner you know about a status update, the sooner you can take action. This helps avoid processing delays with your application.

Confused about a case status? Our nonprofit can help you understand your status or connect you to an attorney who can answer your questions.


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