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What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Rejected” Mean for My Marriage Green Card Application?

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October 25, 2022

Key Takeaways

The USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) 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 was causing 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 marriage green card  case. 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 Marriage Green Card Application?

If you submit an application for a marriage green card, you can use your receipt number to check your USCIS case status online at USCIS.gov. If your latest status update says “Case Rejected,” it means you made a mistake in the application process, so USCIS is returning your application and filing fee.

USCIS does not review rejected marriage green card cases to determine eligibility. So this doesn’t mean you aren’t eligible for a marriage green card. It means you need to fix the issue with your application and resubmit it to have it reviewed by USCIS to determine your eligibility.

USCIS will give you a reason for rejecting your case. Here are some examples of common rejection case statuses you may see:

  • 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
  • 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

While it can be frustrating to have your case rejected for forgetting to sign a form or submitting the wrong filing fee amount, the upside is that you can usually address whatever issue is causing the rejection fairly easily. After you fix the issue, you can resubmit your application to USCIS.

Is the Case Status “Case Rejected” the Same as “Case Denied”?

No. Having your case rejected is not the same as having it denied. If your case is rejected, you did something incorrectly when filing your marriage green card application. Because of this, USCIS didn’t review your case at all. By contrast, if you see the USCIS case status “Case Denied,” it means USCIS reviewed your case and decided you don’t qualify for a marriage green card for some reason.

Most people can address the issue behind the status “Case Rejected” on their own. But if your case is denied, you may need to get legal help to appeal your case or figure out another pathway to immigration. In either case, USCIS will give you information about the reason behind its decision. If your case is denied, you’ll receive a notice by mail explaining why.

We can help you understand your case status or refer you to an attorney for a free consultation if you need extra help.

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

If USCIS rejects your marriage green card application, you need to take action to address the reason behind the rejection and resubmit your application. The action you need to take depends on the reason your case was rejected.

Let’s look at some of the common reasons for rejection and how to address them.

Case Was Rejected Because It Was Improperly Filed

USCIS has specific rules about how to file your marriage green card forms. Where you live and which forms you’re filing determine which field office or service center you need to send your application to. Your application may be rejected for being “improperly filed” if you send it to the incorrect filing address. You should consult USCIS's Form I-130 direct filing address webpage and Form I-485 direct filing address webpage for more information.

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

USCIS occasionally updates its application forms. If you send in an old form version, USCIS will reject your case. If this happens, you need to find the correct form version, fill it out, and then refile your application. For a marriage green card, you’ll want to check the USCIS pages for Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative and Form I-485 (adjustment of status) to make sure you’re filing the most recent version of each form.

Petition/Application Was Rejected for Insufficient Funds

You must submit a filing fee for USCIS to process your marriage green card application. Each form has its own filing fee. You can find a complete list of filing fees by form number on the USCIS Fee Schedule. If you used a personal check to pay your filing fee and had insufficient funds in your account when USCIS tried to process the payment, your application can be “rejected for insufficient funds.” To remedy this, you may consider submitting your filing fee with a money order or cashier’s check instead of a personal check.

Remember, you can use a debit or credit card to pay the filing fee. If you’re having trouble coming up with the funds to pay all the fees for your marriage green card, you can read our article about tips to afford USCIS filing fees. Finally, keep in mind that some, but not all, forms are eligible for a fee waiver.

Case Rejected Because I Sent An Incorrect Fee

The USCIS Fee Schedule can be confusing. If you misread or misunderstood the fee schedule and sent the wrong fee amount with your marriage green card application, USCIS will reject your case. You can fix this by resubmitting your application with the correct fee amount. If you aren’t able to figure out the right amount to pay or need some reassurance before you resubmit, we can refer you to an immigration attorney for a free consultation.

Case Was Rejected Because I Did Not Sign My Form

If you forget to sign any form you submit as part of your marriage green card application, USICS will reject your application. Most USCIS form instructions include the statement “Don’t forget to sign your form. We will reject any unsigned form.” However, there are many details to keep track of when submitting a green card application. If you forgot to sign one or more of your forms, you need to add your signature and resubmit the forms to USCIS with a new filing fee.

Rejection Case Statuses for Multiple Issues

Sometimes, you’ll see a combination of two or more of the case statuses above. For example, if you forgot to sign your form and you submitted the wrong fee, USCIS may flag both of these issues when they reject your case. Here are three common statuses with multiple issues:

  • 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

See each category above for how to address each issue before submitting your application.

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

USCIS provides notifications for each case status update it makes. If you submit a marriage green card application, you’ll likely first get a receipt notice telling you that your forms were received by the service center. After a USCIS officer reviews your initial forms, you may see the “case rejected” status.

If you’re filing your marriage green card application concurrently, you may see the “case rejected” status for any of the reasons listed above after you file your initial application, which includes the required forms Form I-130 and Form I-485. If you’re filing nonconcurrently, you could see this status after you file any form for your marriage green card.

If you want to work while waiting for your green card, you may also submit an employment authorization or work permit application with Form I-765. If you want to leave the U.S. to travel while waiting for your green card, you need to submit an application for advance parole with Form I-131. You can submit both of these as part of your filing packet or later in the application process. If any of these are filed incorrectly, you could see “case rejected” as your USCIS case status.

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

Filing an immigration case with USCIS can be very stressful. There are a lot of rules to follow and case processing times can be long. But the good news is that many people can file their marriage green card applications successfully without hiring a lawyer. That said, if you want some extra help or your case was rejected and you don’t understand why, you may want to consult with an attorney. We can help you find an experienced immigration attorney for a free consultation if you’d like help understanding your case status or next steps.

How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?

The easiest way to track your case status is by using USCIS’s case status online tool. When you check your case status — whether online or by phone or mail — you’ll need to include your receipt number. If you’re using the case status tool online, simply enter your 13-character receipt number then click “Check Status.”

If you correct the reason for your case rejection and resubmit your application, you’ll want to check your case status to make sure it was received and continues to be processed. Checking your case status also allows you to see if USCIS needs anything from you, like more information (request for evidence). It’ll also tell you when it schedules your interviews or biometrics appointment, if necessary for your case.

USCIS will also send you notices by mail. These notices often contain more information than the status you’ll see online.

Conclusion

Getting a marriage green card and understanding the U.S. immigration system can be complicated, but help is available. If your marriage green card case is rejected by USCIS, stay calm. Remember that you can fix the issue and resubmit your application. We can help you understand your case status and figure out your next steps in the application process. And if you need extra help, we can connect you with an attorney for a free consultation.

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