USCIS Case Processing – Understanding Processing Times

03 March 2023

After you submit a case to USCIS for processing, the number one question on your mind is: How long is it going to take to get to a decision? The following are some of the basics to help you make sense of USCIS case processing, the factors that will affect case processing times, and some places you can go to get help if you are concerned with the processing time of your case.

USCIS Case Processing: checking my status

Where can I go to check the latest on my case?

USCIS Case Status online tool:

Form 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. It will provide you with a 13-digit receipt number, which is the unique number USCIS assigns to your case for tracking and making updates. Once you have that, you can check the status of your case at any time at the USCIS Case Status Online tool. Here you will enter the receipt number found on your I-797. Upon entering that and clicking “CHECK STATUS,” the page will display the latest status of your case. You will also find the option here to set up an online account. Signing up for an account will allow you to save all of your receipt numbers and to view your full case history.

While the recommended route is to check your case online, you can also check your status over the phone at 1-800-375-5283. Keep in mind that there are frequently long wait times when contacting USCIS over the phone.

USCIS Case Processing: processing times

How long will it take to process my case?

The time it takes to process a case can vary greatly based on a number of factors, including the type of case, the service center processing the case, the specifics of your situation, and USCIS factors like staffing, existing backlog, and seasonality of the immigration system. USCIS provides both Historical Processing Times data which show the median processing times for each form type from previous years up through the most recently closed month and current estimates for processing times located at the Check Case Processing Times website. Here you can select your Form, Form Category, and Service Center and the website will display the length of time it takes to process 80% of all cases of the same Form, Category and Service Center that were completed within the past six months. It is important to note the differences in methodology between these two resources for case times. The historical data looks at the median processing times (i.e. the length of time it took to process 50% of the cases) and summarizes the data by form type and fiscal year. The Check Cases Processing Times site is more specific in that it allows for you to select Form Category and Service Center, and uses the last six months of data at the time you check the site, regardless of Fiscal Year. For that reason you are likely to find more precise estimates at the Check Case Processing Times website.

What can I do if I think my case is taking too long?

Go to the Check Case Processing Times website and after selecting your Form, Form Category and Service Center, and receiving your estimate in months, below is an option to enter your receipt date. After submitting that date, if your case is outside normal processing times (which USCIS defines as beyond the time to complete 93% of adjudicated cases or beyond 130% of the cycle time), you will be provided a link for submitting an inquiry. At this link, you will be able to input your Form Number, Form Subtype, Receipt Number, Date Filed, along with your personal and contact information, which will then submit an inquiry for USCIS to respond.

Are there additional resources to help me better predict my case processing time?

Yes! If you are working with an immigration attorney, reach out to them with any questions. Additionally there are tools available to help. 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.

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