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 I-539 application. This is just the start of USCIS processing your case. The agency 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 Kassandra Kuehl.
Written December 15, 2022
My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Was Received.” What Does That Mean for My Form I-539 Application?
If your case status says “Case Was Received,” USCIS is confirming it has your Form I-539 application in hand. This status doesn’t mean that your change in immigration status or requested extension has been approved. Neither do similar status adjustments, such as “Case Was Received at Local Office.” This status is simply an acknowledgment that USCIS has received your case.
Shortly after USCIS receives your Form I-539, the agency will send you an official notice — called a receipt notice or Form I-797C — in the mail. This notice contains a unique receipt number. Don’t lose this document! As soon as you receive it, take a picture to store this information digitally and then put the original in a safe space. You’ll use the receipt number from this document to check your case status online as USCIS processes your case.
Does “Case Received” Mean the Same Thing As “Case Approved”?
No. Though “received” and “approved” sound similar, these terms have very different meanings in the USCIS application process.
“Case Received,” just means USCIS has your case in hand at one of its service centers. This happens early in the application process.
“Case Approved” appears after USCIS has evaluated your application and decided to grant you the immigration status adjustment or extension you’ve requested. Application processing can take many months, so it may be several months before you see an approval status. You can check current USCIS processing times online.
What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Was Received”?
After your case has been received, your primary job is to monitor your case status online using your receipt number. You should also look for formal notices in the mail. If USCIS requires additional information to process your form, it will change your case status to reflect that. Monitoring your case status regularly also allows you to see how your case is progressing. When the agency does something related to your application, it often changes the case status to reflect that.
Keep in mind that processing times can be quite long. In the past five years, the average USCIS processing time for Form I-539 was 5.8 months. current processing times vary based on your Form I-539 request type. Processing time for your application will depend on the change or extension you’re requesting and which USCIS service center is processing your case.
Because processing times can be long, don’t be surprised if your case status doesn’t change for weeks. Just keep checking your case status regularly and respond to status adjustments as they occur.
If your case status falls outside of USCIS’s current processing times for Form I-539 consider contacting USCIS for more information. If you don’t get the answers you need, you can get legal help through our Ask an Attorney program, which lets you speak with an independent attorney for $24/month.
Where in the Form I-539 Application Process Will I See the “Case Was Received” Status?
USCIS issues the “Case Was Received” status under two circumstances. First, when initial form documents are filed with the agency, you’ll see this status as an acknowledgment that your application was received. Second, if you are required to submit additional evidence to support your application, you may see this or a similar status to let you know USCIS has received the information from you. Similarly phrased acknowledgments may include:
Expedite Request Received: You may see this if you requested to expedite your application.
Document and Letter Received: You may see this if you submitted additional information that included a cover lever to USCIS.
Correspondence Was Received and USCIS Is Reviewing It
Most of the time, the “Case Was Received” status will initially appear on the USCIS case status tool within 10 days of the agency physically receiving your Form I-539. But delays may cause this status to appear 2–3 weeks after USCIS receives your application.
How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?
USCIS alerts applicants to major developments in their case review processes via shifts in their case status. By monitoring your case status regularly, you’ll be aware of any filing mistakes that you need to correct, any requests for additional information or verification, and whether your case has been transferred to a new service center.
To track changes in your USCIS case status, locate the receipt number on your original USCIS receipt notice. Put this number into the agency’s online case status tool and click “Check Status.” Although USCIS provides case status adjustment information by mail, checking for adjustments online is the fastest way to see what’s happening with your application.
If you’re confused about your case status or not sure how to respond to a change in your case status you can speak with an independent attorney for $24/month with our Ask an Attorney program. You don’t have to navigate these challenges alone!