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

In a Nutshell

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) case status “Case Was Transferred And A New Office Has Jurisdiction” means that USCIS moved your case to a different service center or field office. The new office will continue processing your case from there. USCIS may choose to transfer your sibling green card case for several reasons, including staffing shortages or processing delays. Cases may also get transferred if you move and are now in a new jurisdiction. If USCIS transfers your case, it’ll notify you via your online account and mail you a transfer notice. You don’t need to do anything, but take note that any future additional documentation for your case and any questions you have about your case will need to be directed to the new office.

Written by Attorney Curtis Lee
Written December 22, 2022

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

Despite what you might be initially feeling, seeing a “Case Transferred” update isn’t something you need to worry about. It just means that USCIS has sent your sibling green card application to a different service center or field office for processing. USCIS may transfer your case for several reasons, but it doesn’t indicate that you made a mistake on your sibling green card application or that anything major will change.

For instance, you’ll still use the same receipt number to check the case status of your sibling's green card application. Also, any potential delay will be minimal. Even though it’s uncommon, there’s a chance that your case could get processed faster compared to its original processing location. But transfers are typically more about avoiding a more significant processing delay.

You’ll probably first learn about your sibling green card application transfer through your USCIS Account. If you don’t have an online account with USCIS or don’t like using it, that’s okay. You’ll also receive an official notice from USCIS in the mail. The mailed notice will contain more information about the reason for the case transfer.

Why Did USCIS Transfer My Sibling Green Card Application?

USCIS may decide to transfer your sibling green card case for several reasons. Below are some of the more common ones.

Staffing Shortages or Backlog Issues

USCIS processes about 3,700 applications each day. Though not all of these get sent to the same location. This means that a service center may have a backlog of applications to process. This can happen when an unexpectedly large amount of applications are sent to a single location or when that location is short-staffed.

To deal with these processing bottlenecks, USCIS will sometimes redistribute the workload to less busy processing centers. This doesn’t always happen, though, and if your application is at a center that’s a bit behind, it may stay there.

You Moved

If you’re the applicant seeking a sibling green card, you need to notify USCIS or the National Visa Center (NVC) (if applicable) of your new address if you move. This is so the agencies can continue mailing important information and notifications about your case — and your green card when it’s ready. Your address change may require USCIS to transfer your case to a service center that matches the jurisdiction where you’re now located.

You Need to Complete an Interview

Having your case transferred for an interview is good news. It means your sibling green card is moving along. Because these interviews must occur in person, USCIS may transfer your case to a field office near you. To learn more about what the green card interview entails, please see our green card interview guide.

You Sent Your Application to the Wrong Direct Filing Address

Where you file your sibling green card application varies based on your location. USCIS keeps an updated list of direct mailing addresses for many of its forms, like Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative and Form I-485: Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. Before mailing your green card petition or application, double-check that you’re using the correct mailing address.

If you use the wrong address, USCIS will sometimes transfer it to the correct location as a courtesy. But USCIS doesn’t have to do this and might reject it instead. If your case gets rejected, don’t panic. It’s mostly an inconvenience because it delays your green card application decision. Read our article on sibling green card case rejections to learn more.

Can I Request a Case Transfer From USCIS?

No. After checking the processing times for your green card submission, you might feel that your application could get processed faster if it was sent to a different processing center. Unfortunately, you can’t ask USCIS to transfer your case.

If your sibling green card application is taking longer than the normal processing time, you have two options. One is to contact USCIS, and the other is to talk  with an immigration lawyer to see if there’s something wrong with your case.

What Should I Do if My Sibling Green Card Case Gets Transferred to a New Office?

There’s not much you can or should do besides await the transfer notice that gets sent by mail. This can be a relief in that there’s nothing wrong with your case. But it’s also frustrating in that you want to do everything you can to move your application along. The only thing you can do is to continue monitoring your case status online and be on the lookout for any other case status updates that require your attention, like responding to a request for additional evidence. If you’re struggling to understand what your current case status means, check out our articles on USCIS case statuses.

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

A “Case Transferred” case status update can appear at any point during the sibling green card process after you get a receipt notice. And you can expect a receipt notice within 30 days of submitting your green card application to USCIS.

If you’re the applicant and you’re living outside the United States, USCIS will transfer your case to the NVC for further processing. This is part of the normal process, and there’s nothing to be concerned about.

If you’re the applicant and you’re already living in the United States, you may not ever get a “Case Transferred" status update. If you do, it may be because USCIS sent your sibling green card application to a field office that’s closer to you for an upcoming interview. If this is the reason for the case transfer, you should also expect a case status update regarding interview scheduling.

How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?

You can keep up with your sibling green card application by simply watching your mailbox for notifications from USCIS. However, this isn’t the most effective method given the time delays in mailing notifications and the notification could require you to take action. This is why the best way to track case status changes is to do it online.

The best online source for case status updates is the USCIS Case Status Online tracker tool. It’s simple to use. All you need to do is provide your receipt number and click the “CHECK STATUS” button. 

A case transfer update shouldn’t be a problem, but if you think it could signal an issue with your sibling green card application an experienced immigration attorney can review your case, explain what’s going on, and help you figure out what you can do next.