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 parent 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 takes an average of 12 to 24 months for USCIS to process and approve parent 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 February 6, 2023
My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Approved.” What Does That Mean for My Parent Green Card Application?
Congratulations! This is the case status update you’ve been waiting for. It means U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is done processing your parent green card application and concluded your parent is eligible to become a lawful permanent resident. Within a few months, your parent should receive a green card in the mail.
It can take up to two years to get a parent green card case approved. You’ll see this case status near the end of the application process and before the green card arrives in the mail. But before you see the “Case Was Approved” notification, you’ll likely see several case updates while you wait for USCIS to process your parent green card application.
Case Was Received: This notification indicates USCIS has your parent green card application and will begin processing it. This is among the first case status updates you’ll see during the green card review process.
Request for Initial or Additional Evidence Sent: To process your parent green card application, USCIS needs a lot of information. If you didn’t provide enough evidence with your green card submission, USCIS will ask for additional evidence and documents. This notice signals that USCIS just made this request.
Expedite Request Received: It takes a long time to get a parent green card, so understandably you might want to ask USCIS to speed up its review of your parent green card application. In some cases, such as when there are compelling humanitarian reasons, USCIS will agree to expedite your case. If you make such a request, you should see this case update.
Fingerprint and Biometrics Appointment Was Scheduled: Before you become a lawful permanent resident, USCIS must confirm your identity and ensure you don’t have a history of violating immigration or criminal laws. To do this, it’ll ask you to provide biometric information. This case status means the fingerprint and biometrics appointment to get this information is now set.
Case Is Ready to Be Scheduled for an Interview: This case status means the interview part of the green card process is ready to take place. The reason for the interview is to confirm your relationship with your parents and ensure the accuracy of the information provided on the parent green card forms.
How Will I See My Case Status?
A case-approved status update can be seen in two ways. You’ll see it when you get Form I-797: Notice of Action in the mail. If you’ve been using your USCIS account, you’ll also see this case status online.
Does “Case Approved” Mean the Same Thing as “Case Accepted”?
No. They sound similar, but these case status notifications mean different things. Having a case approved means that USCIS has decided to award your parent green card. Having a parent green card case accepted only indicates that USCIS has the parent green card request and will start processing it. Cases are accepted early in the green card process, and case approvals happen toward the end.
My Parent Green Card Case Was Approved by USCIS. Now What?
Now begins the final bit of waiting. You should receive a welcome notice from USCIS within 30 days of getting the case approved notice. Then, within 30 days of getting the welcome notice, the green card should arrive in the mail.
Since USCIS mails official notices and documents, such as the welcome notice and green card, you need to ensure it has your correct mailing address on file. If there’s a different address you want USCIS to use because you or your parent moved during the application process, you’ll need to update your address. Without the correct address on file with USCIS, you could see one of the following case status notifications:
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 see one of these statuses, it’s an indication that USCIS doesn’t have your current address on file. Don’t panic. Reach out to USCIS to correct your address or get further information about why the card was returned.
How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?
During the parent green card application process, you want to keep track of case status changes. Whether it’s confirming USCIS receives the green card application or setting the interview or biometrics appointment, getting case status notifications as soon as possible means a shorter wait time for your parent green card. After you see the case approval status, the next notification you see could include:
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
The USCIS online case tracking tool is a great wait to see these case status changes. To use it, you’ll need to enter your receipt number and then click the “CHECK STATUS” button. If you can’t use this tool or don’t want to, remember that you will always get official USCIS notices in the mail as well.
Do I Need an Immigration Attorney To Get My Parent Green Card Application Approved?
You’ll likely only need legal help with your parent green card application if it gets denied or there are special circumstances that complicate the green card approval process.
If you’re concerned about how long the process is taking, you can contact the USCIS Contact Center to get an update on your case.