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 marriage green card application. 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 can take anywhere from 10–38 months for USCIS to process and approve marriage green card applications. This article explains the case approval process with USCIS and what happens after your case is approved.
Written by Attorney Curtis Lee.
Updated April 6, 2023
My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Approved.” What Does That Mean for My Marriage Green Card Application?
This is great news! Seeing this case status update means U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is done processing your marriage green card application. Soon, your spouse will receive a green card and become a lawful permanent resident.
Getting a “Case Was Approved” case status appears toward the end of the green card application process, just before USCIS mails the marriage green card. Because it can take as long as 38 months to get this much-anticipated case status update, you’ll see other case status notifications before getting your marriage green card application approved.
Here are some common statuses you’ll see along the way:
Case Was Received: This means USCIS now has your marriage green card application and will start processing it.
Case Was Rejected: If you file your application incorrectly in the beginning, USCIS may have rejected your marriage green card application.
Request for Initial or Additional Evidence Sent: USCIS will sometimes need additional information to continue processing the marriage green card application.
Expedite Request Received: This indicates USCIS has received your request to expedite your case.
Fingerprint and Biometric Appointment Was Scheduled: This notification comes up when your fingerprint and biometrics appointment is set.
Case is Ready to be Scheduled for an Interview: This update lets you know the interview is ready for scheduling.
How Will I See My Case Status?
There are two potential ways to get a case-approved status update. First, you will receive Form I-797: Notice of Action in the mail. Second, USCIS will update the case status through your USCIS account.
Does “Case Approved” Mean the Same Thing as “Case Received”?
No, it doesn’t. There are many case statuses, and it’s easy to get some of them mixed up. Many immigration applicants confuse “case approved” and “case received,” but when coming from USCIS, they mean different things.
If your marriage green card application gets accepted by USCIS, it means the agency received it and will begin processing it. In contrast, having a green card case approved means USCIS is done reviewing your marriage green card case and decided to award a green card. Seeing the “case accepted” status is great because it means USCIS is processing your case, but it also means you still have a ways to go before you get a marriage green card. You can learn more about how long this can take in our Green Card Processing Times article.
My Marriage Green Card Case Was Approved by USCIS. Now What?
Now you wait to receive your approval notice or welcome notice in the mail from USCIS. After you receive the notice, you should get your green card in the mail. Generally speaking, you can expect the welcome notice to arrive 30 days after approval and the green card to arrive 30 days after the welcome notice.
Though you can check your status online, you will receive your green card an all official USCIS notices by mail. So make sure USCIS has your current address on file if you’re the beneficiary (the person seeking the green card). If you move at any point during the green card application process, it’s important to update your address with USCIS.
If USCIS doesn’t have the right mailing address, you may see any of the following case statuses:
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
If you forgot to update your address and see one of the previous statuses, don’t despair. Contact USCIS immediately. You still have time to address the issue.
How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?
If you see the “case approved” status, you’re near the end of the application process! But you should still check for case status updates until you have your marriage green card in hand. After USCIS notifies you that your green card application was approved, you’ll soon see statuses related to your green card being mailed to you. These statuses alert you to when you need to start checking your mailbox.
For example, you may soon see:
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
You can check your case status with the USCIS online case tracking tool. All you need to do to use it is provide your receipt number and click “Check Status.” Another way to keep track of case status changes is to check your mailbox, as USCIS sends important notices by mail.
Do I Need an Immigration Attorney To Get My Marriage Green Card Application Approved?
If USCIS approves your marriage green card, then you likely don’t need an immigration attorney. However, if you expected USCIS to approve your marriage green card request and it didn’t, then your next step is probably to contact an attorney.
If the marriage green card is taking longer to process than expected, or if there’s an unexplained delay in receiving your green card in the mail, reach out to the USCIS Contact Center first. If a USCIS representative can’t answer your questions, you can speak with an attorney.