What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Rejected” Mean for My Form I-539 Application?

In a Nutshell

The USCIS case status “Case Rejected” means that you didn’t file your immigration paperwork correctly, so USCIS did not review your case. If U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (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.

Written by ImmigrationHelp Team
Written November 8, 2022

My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Rejected.” What Does That Mean for My Form I-539 Application?

If you’re trying to adjust your nonimmigrant status or extend your stay in the U.S., it can be anxiety-inducing to see “Case Rejected” as your status. Thankfully, this case status sounds scarier than it is.

Your application hasn’t been denied. You’ve simply made a mistake when filing your Form I-539 and/or filing fees. Because of this mistake, USCIS hasn’t reviewed your case or confirmed your eligibility to adjust your nonimmigrant status or extend your stay. After you fix your mistake and refile your application, USCIS will review your application and move your Form I-539 application process forward.

Reasons Why Your Form I-539 Application May Have Been Rejected

USCIS regularly rejects applications due to minor filing errors. You should be able to easily identify the mistake(s) you made on your initial application based on the USCIS status(es) assigned to your case. Some of the most common errors that result in a “Case Rejected” status include:

  • Case Was Rejected Because It Was Improperly Filed: You may have sent your application to the wrong address or otherwise failed to follow the form’s instructions in some other way.

  • Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee: USCIS may have increased the filing fee since you last checked the amount owed.

  • Petition/Application Was Rejected For Insufficient Funds: If your check bounced or if you didn’t have enough funds in your credit card account when your fee was processed by USCIS, it may not have been able to process it.

  • Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee And Incorrect Form Version: USCIS regularly updates its forms. If you filed an outdated form, USCIS will reject your application until the newest version and fee amount are submitted.

  • Case Rejected Because I Sent An Incorrect Fee: If you submit the correct version of your application but an incorrect fee amount, this status will be flagged on your case.

  • Case Rejected Because The Version Of The Form I Sent Is No Longer Accepted: If your fee amount is correct but you’ve submitted the wrong version of your I-539 form, this status will be flagged on your case.

  • Case Was Rejected Because I Did Not Sign My Form: If you’ve forgotten to sign your form, your case won’t be reviewed until you sign it and resubmit it.

  • Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee And Form Not Signed: You’ll need to sign your form and resubmit it alongside the updated fee for your case type.

  • Case Rejected For Form Not Signed And Incorrect Form Version: Before USCIS can evaluate your case, you’ll need to submit a signed copy of the current version of Form I-539.

You’ll need to fix whatever mistake you’ve made before refiling your application with USCIS.  

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

If your application has been rejected, your case has not been denied. This is why it’s important not to panic if you see “Case Rejected” as your USCIS case status.

If USCIS reviewed your properly completed application and decided that you don’t qualify for the adjustment of nonimmigration status or the extension to nonimmigration status that you’re seeking, it would have denied your case. You would probably need to turn to a lawyer for help appealing that denial.

Instead, the “Case Rejected” status indicates that you made a mistake when preparing or submitting your application to USCIS. All you need to do is fix whatever mistake is holding up the review of your Form I-539 application and resubmit it.

What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Rejected” for My Form I-539 Case?

Once you address the mistake(s) that USCIS has flagged on your case, you’ll be able to resubmit your Form I-539 application for review. If more than one mistake type has been flagged on your case, address each USCIS concern before resubmitting it or your application will be rejected again.

Incorrect Form Version

USCIS regularly updates the versions of its immigration forms as the information that the agency requests evolves. If you submit an outdated version of Form I-539, your case will be rejected. To fix this mistake, reenter all of the requested information onto the current version of the form and resubmit your application packet. Check the USCIS website for the most current version of Form I-539. 

Not Signed

Signing a form lets USCIS know that you stand behind the information you’ve provided. If you fail to provide a requested signature, USCIS will reject your case until you provide it. This is the easiest application-related mistake you can make and is also the easiest one to fix.

Incorrect Fee

Just as USCIS regularly updates the versions of the forms it uses for immigration purposes, it regularly increases its fees as well. If you submit an incorrect fee amount with your Form I-539 application, your case will be rejected. To fix this mistake, simply submit the correct fee amount. The USCIS website’s Form I-539 page details up-to-date information about filing fees for this application type. 

Insufficient Funds

If your bank account or credit card doesn’t have sufficient funds when USCIS processes your fee, your case will be rejected. To correct this mistake, resubmit the proper fee amount from an account that contains sufficient funds to cover that amount.  

Improper Filing

If your case has been rejected due to an improper filing error, you may need to wait until your postal notice arrives to clarify exactly what’s amiss with your application. For example, you may have sent your Form I-539 application to the wrong USCIS address. There is no single address for USCIS. If you’ve sent your application to the wrong field office, you’ll need to resubmit it to the address listed on the USCIS site that corresponds to your nonimmigrant situation and where you live. 

If you’re not sure if you sent your application to the wrong address, your postal notice should clarify what went wrong and how to fix your mistake.

Where in the Form I-539 Application Process Might I See “Case Rejected” as My Status?

There are several steps in the process where you might see “Case Rejected” as your status. A Form I-539 application is pretty straightforward at first glance. Once the application is properly filled out and all supporting documentation is secured (which is a process that can take some time), an applicant needs to submit it along with the proper filing fee. Eventually, they’ll need to attend a biometrics appointment to get fingerprinted.

However, there may be some additional steps that applicants will need to take, depending upon the kind of nonimmigrant permissions they’re seeking. For example, B-1 or B-2 nonimmigrants who wish to enroll in school in the U.S. must obtain and submit a Form I-20 from the school that has accepted them.

No matter what kind of status change or stay extension you’re seeking, you are most likely to see a “Case Rejected” status change after filing forms or fees with USCIS. Keep in mind that you can always reach out for help if you don’t understand what kind of mistake is holding up the review of your case or how to fix it.

When Should I Contact an Immigration Attorney About My Form I-539 or Form Case?

If your case has been rejected because of a missing signature, incorrect fee, or insufficient funds, you can probably correct these mistakes without an attorney’s help.

You may benefit from speaking with an immigration attorney for assistance if you have questions about your situation, and you’re not sure how to fix your application before resubmitting it. You’re likely frustrated because your error has slowed down the process of adjusting your nonimmigration status or extending your stay. 

How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?

Regularly checking your USCIS case status is important, as doing so will alert you to any issues that may be holding up your case review. Once you resubmit your Form I-539 application, your case could be rejected again for another reason. Also, USCIS may ask for more information from you or ask you to take specific action (like attending an interview) and will alert you to that need by changing your case status. Acting on a shift in your case status quickly will help to ensure that your case keeps moving forward.

USCIS will send an official notice of case status changes by mail. These notices tend to be detailed, helpful resources. But mail delivery can be slow and mail can get lost. By tracking your case status online, you can remain continuously informed about your nonimmigration process without risking a missed update due to lost mail. You can check your case status electronically by using the USCIS online case status tool. Simply enter your 13-character receipt number and click “Check Status.”