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

In a Nutshell

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) case status “Case Rejected” means that you didn’t file your immigration paperwork correctly, so USCIS didn’t review your case. If USCIS rejects your case, it’ll also 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 Attorney Curtis Lee
Written October 31, 2022

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

If you made a mistake when filing your sibling green card application, USCIS will send it back to you, along with the filing fee. This is what the case status “case rejected” means. If your case gets rejected, USCIS has not reviewed it. This means it hasn’t assessed whether your sibling is entitled to receive a green card.

If USCIS rejects your case, it will explain why in an official notice sent via mail. This means you or your sibling have a chance to fix the problem and refile the application. The most common reasons for a sibling green card application case rejection are:

  • 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

If you made multiple errors, you may see them both addressed in your case status. Below are a few examples:

  • Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee And Form Not Signed or Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee

  • Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee And Incorrect Form Version 

  • Case Rejected For Form Not Signed And Incorrect Form Version

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

No. “Case Rejected” means there was a procedural or technical problem with your sibling green card application. USCIS didn’t even review your case to see if your sibling is eligible for status. In contrast, the status “Case Denied” means USCIS processed the application and determined that your sibling wasn’t eligible to get a green card.

A case rejection can usually be fixed easily. Once you address the error, you can refile the form with USCIS. 

Having your case rejected is frustrating, but usually the only thing lost is time. But if your case is denied, USCIS has concluded that your sibling shouldn’t get a green card. You won’t get your filing fee back, and you may want to look into getting legal assistance if you plan to appeal or want to find a different way for your sibling to immigrate to the United States. If your case was denied and you believe it shouldn’t have been, you should seek legal help from an experienced immigration lawyer.

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

As frustrating as it is to have a sibling green card case rejected, the good news is that you can fix the problem and refile the application or petition. The solution will depend on the reason USCIS rejected your case.

Case Was Rejected Because it Was Improperly Filed

This typically means you sent your application to the wrong mailing address.

The filing address for your forms will depend on where you live and your sibling’s eligibility category. For example, Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative has a specific mailing address, which you can find on USCIS’s direct filing address page for that form. However, Form I-130 can also be filed online. Form I-485: Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status also has a direct filing address you must send it to.

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

USCIS occasionally updates its forms. Applicants must complete the most recent version of all forms. If your case is rejected for using an old form, you should search the USCIS website for the form number that was rejected. Then double-check the “Edition Date” drop-down box to make sure you’re using the latest form. On the same page, you’ll find a PDF of all required forms that you can print out to resubmit.

Case Was Rejected Because I Did Not Sign My Form

Forgetting to sign your forms is a simple but common mistake. Luckily, it’s easy to fix. After you get the application back from USCIS, provide the missing signature(s), then resubmit the form(s) to continue your sibling’s green card application process.

Case Was Rejected Because I Sent an Incorrect Fee

Sending too little (or too much) money for the filing fee can result in a case rejection. You can find the correct filing fee amount in two ways. The first involves looking at the USCIS Fee Schedule. If you find the Fee Schedule confusing, you can also look at the USCIS form instructions for the correct filing fee amount.

Petition/Application Was Rejected for Insufficient Funds

If you pay your filing fee with a debit card or personal check, your case can be rejected for insufficient funds if there isn’t enough money in your account to pay the filing fee. This can also happen if there’s a temporary authorization that ties up some of the money in the account.

To avoid this, you can use a credit card, money order, or cashier’s check to pay the filing fee when you refile your case. If you aren’t sure if you’ll have enough funds in your bank account to pay the filing fee, there are ways to make it easier to pay the USCIS filing fees, including requesting a fee waiver.

Case Was Rejected for Two or More Reasons 

Occasionally, a sibling green card petition or application gets rejected for multiple reasons. A few of the more common instances where cases get rejected for multiple reasons include:

  • 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

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

You’ll most likely see the “case rejected” status after filing one of the forms in the green card application process. Getting a green card for a sibling involves first completing Form I-130 and Form I-864. What happens next depends on where your sibling is. 

If they’re in the United States, they’ll complete Form I-485 once their priority date comes current. If they’re in another country, they’ll use consular processing and work with the National Visa Center (NVC). Consular processing doesn’t usually begin until after a visa number becomes available, which can take a long time.

In some cases, your sibling might want to work in or travel outside of the United States during the green card application process. In these situations, they’ll need to complete Form I-131 (advance parole) and Form I-765 (work permit). If the USCIS rejects the sibling green card application, it’ll most likely occur after filing:

  • Form I-130

  • Form I-485

  • Form I-765

  • Form I-131

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

If USCIS rejects your case, you or your sibling can often fix the issue. This is especially true when the case rejection is because of a basic mistake, such as someone forgetting to sign a form. But in situations where you don’t understand why USCIS felt there was a mistake (or the case got denied and not rejected), it might be time to connect with an immigration attorney.

How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?

You can use the USCIS’s online case status toolou’ll need your receipt number to check your status online. You can find your receipt number on the official notice USCIS sent via mail to confirm receipt of your application. 

The USCIS online case tracker will also tell you when you need to complete something to move forward with your application, like attending a biometrics appointment or responding to a request for evidence. If you refile your case, you can also use the online case status tool to see when your application arrives and USCIS begins processing it. This will confirm that you’ve remedied whatever mistake led to the case rejection.

If during the green card process you get a notification about your sibling green card case and you don’t understand what it means or what you need to do next, look into getting some legal help.