What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Received” Mean for My Sibling Green Card Application?

In a Nutshell

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 sibling green card application. This is just the start of USCIS processing your case. It hasn’t yet reviewed your application materials or determined your eligibility. Once you see this status, 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 Attorney Curtis Lee
Written November 29, 2022

My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Received.” What Does That Mean for My Sibling Green Card Application?

It means USCIS received your sibling green card application. USCIS will now begin reviewing your submission to decide if your sibling can get a green card. You might see a slight variation in the wording of this case status update, such as “Case Was Received At My Local Office” or something along those lines. 

Regardless of the exact wording, the case received status update serves as a confirmation of receipt of the green card application, not its approval.

You’ll likely receive this notification in at least one, but possibly two ways. The first way is by using your receipt number to look up your case status using the online case tracking tool from USCIS. You can use this online case tracker throughout the green card application process to check updates from the agency. The second way you’ll get this notification is via Form I-797C: Notice of Action in the mail. This notification gets mailed whether or not you decide to use the online case status tracker.

Does “Case Received” Mean the Same Thing as “Case Approved”?

No. These two statuses are different. Both updates are a positive sign for your case, but seeing that USCIS received your application documents just means that it will begin the green card review process, which could take a while. On the other hand, “Case Approved” is even better. It indicates USCIS believes your sibling qualifies to be a lawful permanent resident and that your sibling will receive a green card.

What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Was Received”?

You can do a few things after confirming USCIS got the sibling green card application. First, if you haven’t gotten it already, look for Form I-797C in the mail. After you receive that form, make a copy of it (taking a picture of it with your smartphone works), then put the physical copy of the form in a safe place. Any time you need to refer to Form I-797C, you can pull up the picture you took on your phone.

Second, make note of your receipt number from Form I-797C and use it to regularly check the status of your sibling green card with the USCIS online case status checker. This is a good habit to have as you’ll find out as soon as possible if there’s anything you need to do for your application, like provide additional evidence to USCIS.

How Long Will It Take To Process My Application?

When you do check your sibling green card case status, one thing to keep in mind is that you need to be patient, as processing times can be long. The length of the wait depends on several factors that are outside your control. These factors include the amount of funding USCIS gets, the outcome of immigration court decisions, and your and your sibling’s current immigration status. So don’t be surprised if the processing time amounts to several years.

That being said, when you do check for case updates, check USCIS’ current processing times also. You’ll need to enter the form number and service center that is processing your application. USCIS will give you an estimate of how long it’s currently taking them to process sibling green card cases.

By knowing roughly how long processing should take, you can tell if an extended period of time between status updates means you need to be more patient or if you should contact USCIS or an immigration attorney. To better understand the waiting period estimate, USCIS offers additional information on how it calculates processing times.

Where in the Sibling Green Card Application Process Will I See the “Case Was Received” Status?

The “Case Was Received” status update usually comes soon after you’ve submitted something to USCIS. For the typical sibling green card application, this means you’ll get this notification after you send in Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative and Form I-485: Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. USCIS sends the case received confirmation within 10 days of receiving the submission. But don’t be surprised if it takes the agency two to three weeks.

You could also see a case received status update in other contexts, such as after requesting a work permit, asking USCIS to expedite your application, submitting documents in response to a request for additional evidence, or sending in a document or form that contains a cover letter. Below are some potential wordings for these case received notifications:

  •  Response to USCIS’ Request for Evidence Was Received

  • Expedite Request Received

  • Document and Letter Received

  • Correspondence Was Received and USCIS Is Reviewing It

How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?

The primary method for keeping track of USCIS status updates is with the USCIS online tracker. It only requires you to input your receipt number and press “Check Status.”

The alternative method involves checking your mail for USCIS case notices. These take longer to receive, but when you do receive them, there will usually be additional information explaining the status change. For example, the mailed notice for a request for additional evidence also has information relating to why USCIS needs more information, what specific documents they need, and by what date USCIS must have them.