If your USCIS case status says “Case Was Approved,” congratulations! This means USCIS has reviewed your application, determined your eligibility, and decided to grant your child green card. You’ll often see several statuses prior to approval as your case progresses, and it can take a long time for USCIS to process and approve your application. It takes an average of 10 to 38 months for USCIS to process and approve child green card applications. This article explains the case approval process with USCIS and what happens after your case is approved.
Written by Attorney Curtis Lee.
Written December 10, 2022
My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Approved.” What Does That Mean for My Child Green Card Application?
It means that within a few months, your child should be a lawful permanent resident. Congratulations! More precisely, this status means that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has completed its review of your child green card application and concluded they’re eligible for a green card.
It’s been a long year or two (or three) for your child to get a green card, and during that waiting period, you may have seen one or more of the following case status updates:
Case Was Received: USCIS received your child’s green card application.
Request for Initial or Additional Evidence Sent: USCIS sometimes asks for additional information to finish processing a green card application.
Expedite Request Received: This shows up after you’ve submitted a request to expedite your case, but does not mean the request was approved.
Fingerprint and Biometric Appointment Was Scheduled: This case status update indicates that your child’s fingerprint and biometrics appointment are set. This appointment may also be when your child’s picture gets taken for the green card.
Case Is Ready To Be Scheduled for an Interview: Your interview for the green card will soon be scheduled by USCIS.
Case Was Reopened for Consideration: This doesn’t appear often, but when it does, it’s likely after you appealed a USCIS denial of your green card request.
How Will I See My Case Status?
When USCIS approves your child’s green card application, you’ll see the case status in two ways. First, you can look at your USCIS account online, which is usually the quickest way to get this notification. Second, you can check your mailbox for Form I-797: Notice of Action. This is the official notice USCIS mails out after it approves the green card request.
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Does “Case Approved” Mean the Same Thing as “Case Received”?
No, it doesn’t. You will see several case statuses while waiting for USCIS to make a decision. Some of these sound similar, so they’re easy to get mixed up. “Case Approved” and “Case Received” is an example. They sound similar but have different meanings.
When USCIS says it has received your child’s green card application, it only means they have possession of your application and documents and will begin reviewing them. But if your child’s green card case is approved, it means USCIS finished processing the application and decided to issue your child a green card.
My Child Green Card Case Was Approved by USCIS. Now What?
Now the last bit of waiting begins while you await the arrival of your child’s green card in the mail. Before it arrives, you will get a welcome notice within 30 days of seeing your child’s green card case approval. Then, within 30 days after that, the green card should arrive in the mail.
If your green card doesn’t arrive, there could be a problem with the mail service, but USCIS might also have an incorrect mailing address for your child. If you or your child moved during the green card application, you must update your address with USCIS. If USCIS has an incorrect mailing address, you might see some unwelcome case status notifications, such as:
Card Is Being Returned to USCIS by Post Office
Card Was Determined As Undeliverable By The Post Office
Card (or Document) Was Returned to USCIS
If you see any of these statuses, don’t panic. You can still contact USCIS to ensure it has the correct mailing address and fix the issue. This may delay your green card process a bit, but it is a fixable problem.
How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?
While waiting for USCIS to approve your child’s green card, you were probably regularly checking USCIS processing times and your case status. Though you’re close to the finish line now, don’t stop. Keep checking your case status until your green card is delivered. Here are a few statuses you may see:
Card Was Delivered To Me By The Post Office
Card Was Picked Up By The United States Postal Service
Card Was Mailed To Me
New Card Is Producing
You can use your receipt number and the USCIS online case tracker to check for these status changes. If you can’t access your account online, don’t worry. USCIS always sends important notices by mail as well.
Do I Need an Immigration Attorney To Get My Child Green Card Application Approved?
If USCIS has approved your case, then you probably don’t need an immigration attorney for any reason. But if USCIS has denied your child green card application or you received a case status update that you don’t understand, then you may want legal help to know what your options are. With our Ask an Attorney program, you can get your immigration questions answered for $24/month.
If you’re concerned about how long your application is taking, contact the USCIS Contact Center before you hire an attorney. A USCIS representative may be able to explain why your child’s green card has been delayed.