USCIS Case Processing – A guide to service centers

27 March 2023

What are USCIS service centers?

USCIS service centers are the locations that are responsible for handling your case, from receipt through adjudication (i.e. decision). As of March 2023, there are currently 5 different service centers: the California Service Center, Nebraska Service Center, Potomac Service Center, Texas Service Center, and Vermont Service Center.

How does USCIS decide which service center will handle my case?

When assigning a service center to handle your case, there are two important factors:

  1. Your form type: each service center handles certain form types, so your case can only be handled by a service center that processes that form type. You can find a table that shows which service centers process each case type at the USCIS Service Center Forms Processing website. These are subject to change depending upon workload. It is also possible that your case will be transferred due to workload. This is outlined at the USCIS Workload Transfer Updates website. If your case is transferred due to workload, you will receive notification informing you of the transfer, to which service center your case has been transferred and what you need to do as a result of the transfer.
  • Your location: each service center has different states over which it has jurisdiction. Geographic proximity does not necessarily indicate which service center has jurisdiction over your state’s cases. TheUSCIS Filing Guidance websiteprovides instructions for filing your case that reflect jurisdiction.

Which service center will handle my case?

When filing your case, always refer to the USCIS Filing Guidance website for instructions for how to properly file your case. Specific instructions for how and where to file your case are included for each form type, and it’s vitally important that you follow these instructions to ensure your case will be handled properly.

If I’ve already filed my case, how do I know which service center is handling my case?

The simplest way to determine which service center is processing your case is to refer to your I-797. You will typically receive a form I-797 from USCIS about 4-6 weeks after your case has been submitted notifying you of the receipt of your case. Near the bottom of the form, you can find the details of your service center.

Example form I-797 (redacted):

If you are unable to locate your form I-797, you can call USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 and speak to a USCIS representative, who can help you retrieve this information.

Are there differences in case processing times between the service centers?

Other than the aforementioned differences in form types and state jurisdiction, as well as physical location, USCIS service centers also tend to differ in the processing time of the case. USCIS provides both Historical Processing Times data and current estimates for processing times at the Check Case Processing Times website. For a more detailed description of case processing times, visit USCIS Case Processing – Understanding Processing Times, and for a historical analysis of case processing trends visit 2021 Processing Time Trends. For additional guidance on case processing times, Case TrueTime, a mobile app available on both the App Store and Google Play store, provides up-to-date case processing time predictions with the most accurate predictions available based on the largest repository of USCIS case data available.

interested? QUESTIONS?

Contact Us