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What Does USCIS Case Status “Case Rejected” Mean for My Employment-Based Green Card?

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November 1, 2022

Key Takeaways

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.

Table of Contents

My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Rejected.” What Does That Mean for My Employment-Based Green Card Application?

If you’ve applied for an employee-based green card and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has informed you that it has rejected your case, don’t give up hope! It’s not the end of the road.

USCIS may have rejected your application because you made an error or failed to meet the minimum requirements. USCIS will always send an official notice (Form I-797C) via mail that tells you how to correct the error. You can then resubmit the application after revising it. USCIS returns any filing fees when it rejects an application, so you will also have to resubmit these fees.

Once you resubmit your application, USCIS will process your case from the beginning. It will not penalize you for submitting an application it previously rejected.

Why Was My Employment-Based Green Card Application Rejected?

USCIS rejects applications that don’t meet minimum requirements and for other reasons, including but not limited to, the following:

  • 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 or Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee

Your case may also be rejected for making multiple errors. In this situation, you’d see the following types of statuses:

  • Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee And Form Not Signed or Case Rejected For Form Not Signed And Incorrect Form Version
  • Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee And Incorrect Form Version

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

The way USCIS uses the terms “rejection” and “denial” are very different. Each has its own meaning. You may be frustrated if your case is rejected, but it is only a temporary setback. You can usually solve the problem and still apply for your employment-based green card.

When USCIS denies an application, it means that the agency has reviewed your eligibility and decided not to grant you a green card. When USCIS rejects an application, it means USCIS has returned your application without reviewing your case for eligibility.

In both cases, USCIS will inform you why it has rejected or denied your application. USCIS will always give you information about the underlying reasons for their decisions. It is important that you review the reasons why USCIS rejected your application.

What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Rejected” for My Employment-Based Green Card Case?

If USCIS denies your application, you’ll need to action to fix the error and resubmit your case. Here are some of the most common reasons applications are rejected and what you need to do to address them.

Case Was Rejected Because It Was Improperly Filed

If you submit your application to the wrong USCIS field office or service center, your application may be rejected because it was “improperly filed.” Where you live and the forms you file decide where you mail your application. The USCIS provides a page on its website that provides filing guidance, including where to file forms. Some forms have their own webpage that provides more filing information details.

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

USCIS periodically updates its forms. You must use the most current form when you file your case. If you don’t, USCIS can reject your application. The forms for your green card application will depend on what preference category you fall in.

The first three preference categories for employment green cards (EB-1, EB-2, EB-3) require your potential employer to file a Form I-140, which is a petition for your to get an employment green card. The fourth preference (EB-4) requires you to file Form I-360 on your own behalf.

Always use the most current forms as provided on the USCIS website for the form you’re submitting. Look for the drop-down menu that says “Edition Date.”

Case Was Rejected Because I Did Not Sign My Form

If you don’t sign every form in your application, USCIS can reject your application. This is a simple but common error. If your case is rejected for unsigned forms, take the opportunity to review your forms for any other possible errors even if USCIS hasn’t flagged them yet. If there are no other errors present, sign the form and resubmit.

Petition/Application Was Rejected For Insufficient Funds

Most USCIS forms require a filing fee. A complete list of filing fees listed by form number is available on the USCIS Fee Schedule.

If you pay with a personal check or debit card and you don’t have enough money in your account, the payment will be rejected. USCIS will resubmit the payment once. If it is returned as unpayable a second time, USCIS will reject your filing.

If your case is rejected for insufficient funds because you used a personal check, consider using a money order or cashier’s check instead. You may also use a debit card or credit card to pay any filing fees. If you are experiencing difficulties affording any USCIS filing fees, read our article on tips for affording the fees.

Case Rejected Because I Sent An Incorrect Fee

Different forms require different filing fees. If you send in the wrong amount, you’ll have to resubmit the application with the correct fee. If you are unclear about what fee you are required to submit based on the USCIS Fee Schedule, we can refer you to an immigration attorney who can answer your questions about fees or other issues.

Case Rejected for Multiple Issues

If you made more than one mistake when filing your application, USCIS may list them both when it rejects your application. Some of the most common statuses you may see flagging two errors are:

  • 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 any of these statuses, read the information above for each status and be sure to address both issues before you resubmit your application.

Where in the My Employment-Based Green Card Application Process Might I See “Case Rejected” as My Status?

Any time that you file a form or pay a filing fee, you may receive a notice that your case is “rejected.” The forms vary by preference category. There are five employment-based (EB) preference categories.

EB-1 Cards (First Preference)

This preference applies to priority workers who are:

  • Aliens with extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics;
  • Outstanding professors and researchers; or
  • Certain multinational managers and executives.

This classification requires you to file Form I-140: Petition for Alien Worker. The cost of filing Form I-140 is $700. If you are using “extraordinary ability” as grounds for an EB-1 green card, you may apply for yourself by filing a Form I-140. Otherwise, your employer must file Form I-140 as the petitioner of your green card.

EB-2 Cards (Second Preference)

This category applies to you if you are a member of a profession and have an advanced degree or other exceptional ability. This preference requires you to file Form I-140.

EB-3 Cards (Third Preference)

You may be eligible for an EB-3 green card if you are a skilled worker, professional, or other worker. Your employer, as the petitioner, must file Form I-140.

EB-4 Cards (Fourth Preference)

This applies to specific individuals and special immigrants. This preference requires you to file Form I-360 to apply for an employment-based green card. The fee for filing an I-360 is $435.

If you are unsure how you can solve any problem with your application, there is legal help available. We can refer you to an immigration attorney for a free consultation.

When Should I Contact an Immigration Attorney About My Employment Green Card Case?

Whether you want or need to contact an attorney will depend on your case type and the status you’ve received from USCIS. Many cases that are rejected can be fixed with a simple correction. That said, if you have any trouble understanding why your case was rejected or how to fix it, we can help refer you to an attorney for a free consultation.

How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?

Different forms have different processing times. You can use the USCIS case status tracking tool to see your most recent status update. To monitor case status changes online, you’ll need the receipt number from your receipt notice. USCIS will send by mail a notice of any change in your case status. Remember, it is your responsibility to do what is necessary to move your application forward.

Checking your status allows you to find out where you are in the process, whether USCIS needs any more information from you, and/or if you need to take action. For example, going to a scheduled interview or biometrics appointment.

ImmigrationHelp.org can help you understand your case status. If you need further help, we can refer you to an immigration attorney for a free consultation.

Conclusion

Getting an employment-based green card and understanding the U.S. immigration system can be complicated, but help is available. If your employment-based green card case is rejected by USCIS, stay calm. Remember that you can fix the issue and resubmit your application. If you need some extra help understanding your case, we may be able to refer you to an experienced immigration attorney.

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