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

In a Nutshell

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 employment-based 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 about 15 months for USCIS to process and approve employment-based Form I-140 applications. However, current USCIS processing times vary from 10 to 22 months depending on which type of employment green card you’ve applied for. This article explains the case approval process with USCIS and what happens after your case is approved.

Written by Peter Fargo
Written December 26, 2022

My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Approved.” What Does That Mean for My Form I-140 Application?

If your case status has changed to “Case Approved,” USCIS has decided that you are eligible for an employment-based green card. This is the moment you’ve been waiting for. When USCIS approves your application, it will update your online account with a “Case Was Approved” status and mail you an official Notice of Action. USCIS sends Form I-797 to communicate its receipt or approval of an application or petition. Form I-797B is issued for approval of a noncitizen worker petition.

You won’t see an approval case status until the end of the application process. After you’re approved, continue to check your account for status updates so you know when USCIS mails your green card. 

It can take USCIS a long time to process employment-based green card applications. As the process unfolds and you await approval, you will see many different case statuses. If you are also applying for a green card on behalf of a family member like a parent, child, or spouse, you’ll see similar case statuses.

What Case Statuses Will I See Prior to Approval?

USCIS uses case statuses to inform you where your application is in processing. Here are some of the common statuses applicants see during case processing:

  • Case Was Received: USCIS issues this receipt status to confirm it has received your application or petition.

  • Request for Initial or Additional Evidence Sent: Not every applicant will receive a request for evidence (RFE). If you see this status, it means USCIS needs you to provide more information so it can determine your green card eligibility.

  • Expedite Request Received: If you apply to expedite your case, you’ll see this status update when USCIS receives your request. USCIS only expedites applications in limited circumstances.

For appointments and interviews, you may see: 

  • “Fingerprint and Biometrics Appointment Was Scheduled” 

  • “Case Was Updated To Show Fingerprints Were Taken” 

  • “Case is Ready to Be Scheduled for An Interview” 

  • “Interview Was Scheduled” or “Interview Was Completed And My Case Must Be Reviewed” 

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

As a green card applicant, you’ll see lots of case statuses, and it’s easy to get them confused. When USCIS receives your employment-based green card application you will see the case status “Case Was Received.” This is good news since it means your application process is underway. But it does not mean that USCIS has approved your application or that you qualify for a green card.

If you've correctly submitted your employment-based green card application and all the evidence necessary to process your application, your case status will show that USCIS has accepted your case. USCIS uses the “Case Was Received” case status to show that it is starting the process of reviewing your case. 

USCIS Approved My Employment-Based Green Card. Now What?

You’ll find out online or via a notice in the mail when USCIS approves your application. The next step is to wait for USCIS to send your green card by mail. It can take up to two months for USCIS to process your approved application. If you experience any unusual delays, you may want to consider contacting an attorney. 

Don’t forget to update your address on the USCIS website if you move at any time during the application process. This will ensure that you receive future USCIS correspondence, including your green card, and other important notices.

If you see any of the following statuses, it means that USCIS doesn’t have your correct address. As a result, the U.S. Postal Service cannot deliver your green card and will return it to USCIS.

  • 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

How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?

Changes to your case status keep you informed about where you are in the application process. A “Case Was Approved” status tells you that the process was successful and is almost complete. Once you are approved, you still want to continue to track your online USCIS account for status updates that let you know when you’ll receive your green card. 

After approval, you may receive the following case status updates about the arrival of your green card, which USCIS will also mail to you in a notice:

  • 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 Employment Green Card Approved?

If USCIS approves your employment-based green card application, you should not need an attorney. However, if you don’t understand your case status or your application is denied or significantly delayed, you may want to consider talking to an immigration attorney.

If you’re wondering why your application is taking so long, you can contact USCIS first to see if you can get answers.