What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Was Received” Mean for My Child Green Card Application?

In a Nutshell

When you see the case status “Case Was Received” from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), it means USCIS is acknowledging that it received your immigration application packet. This is just the start of USCIS processing your application. It hasn’t yet reviewed your application materials or determined your eligibility. Once you see this status, you’ll want to keep an eye on future status changes and respond to anything that requires your attention, such as a request for evidence. This article explains the “Case Received” USCIS status and what to do when your application is in this status.

Written by Attorney Curtis Lee
Written November 21, 2022

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

When you see “Case Was Received,” it means that USCIS has received your child green card application. Note that this isn’t the same as USCIS approving the application. In some situations, you might see a similar case status that’s worded differently, such as “Case Was Received at Local Office” or something along those lines.

You are most likely to see this status when you check your child’s green card application status using USCIS’ online case tracking tool. To use this tool, you’ll need to have your receipt number. You’ll get this receipt number when USCIS sends you Form I-797C: Notice of Action after the agency receives your application. 

Because this contains your receipt number, I-797C is sometimes called a receipt notice. You’ll use this receipt number to confirm USCIS received the green card application and to see any future updates to the application.

Does “Case Received” Mean the Same Thing as “Case Approved”?

No, it doesn’t. As mentioned earlier, “Case Received” indicates USCIS received an application. This is a positive case update to see, as it shows USCIS will begin processing your green card application. But it’s not the same as “Case Approved,” which indicates USCIS has decided to grant the child green card. Keep in mind that even after your application is approved, there may still be more you need to do before your child officially becomes a lawful permanent resident and has their green card.

What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Was Received”?

Besides waiting, there’s nothing you need to do. Depending on the application, federal funding, and legal issues pending in court, it could take many months or even years for USICS to process your child’s green card application

In the last five years (2018–2022), the median USCIS processing time was  9 months for Form I-130 for immediate relatives and 10.8 months for Form I-485 for a total of almost 20 months. This doesn’t include waiting to receive notices in the mail or other aspects of the process such as a request for evidence.

It’s also a good idea to find a safe place to store Form I-797C and to make a copy of it. A quick and easy way to do this is to take a picture of it with your smartphone.

While you wait, you can use your receipt number to check for any case updates using the case status online tool. You can also check on USCIS processing times and read more about how it calculates processing times. If you don’t see a change or update in your child’s green card application for an extended period of time, you can contact USCIS to see what might be going on. If you still have questions, read our guide to tracking your USCIS application status

Also, keep in mind that because processing can take many months, only contact USCIS if your case processing time is outside the normal range. For instance, let’s say you haven’t seen a case status update in six months. If the normal case processing time for your particular application from its service center is nine months, then you don’t need to contact USCIS. However, if it’s been a year with no case status update, then contacting USCIS or an immigration attorney for a consultation might be helpful.

Where in the Child Green Card Application Process Will I See the “Case Was Received” Status?

You will see the “Case Was Received” status update soon after you send your application to USCIS. According to USCIS, your case received update should arrive within 10 days of the agency receiving your application. But delays are common, so don’t be surprised if the case status doesn’t arrive for two to three weeks after USCIS receives your application.

In general, USCIS provides some sort of confirmation after you send in any immigration document or application. Depending on what you send in, you may also see the following statuses:

  • Correspondence Was Received and USCIS Is Reviewing It 

  • Expedite Request Received

  • Document and Letter Received 

This last one usually comes up after sending in a cover letter. Some of these are informational, requiring you to do nothing to respond. Others, like the request for additional evidence, require you to submit additional information by a specific deadline. Each will be accompanied by an official notice in the mail, which will explain the status update and what you need to do in depth.

How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?

The fastest and most convenient way to track USCIS case status changes is via its case status online tracking tool. To use it, you’ll need to provide your receipt number, then press the “Check Status” button.

Another way to keep track of your child green card application status is to check your regular mail. USCIS should always mail official notices of case status updates to you. Although slower, mailed notices will often contain additional information. For example, when USCIS updates your status online to “Request for Evidence Sent,” you may not see all the details online. But the mailed notice will further explain what’s going on and what you need to do so USCIS can continue processing your child’s green card application.

Whichever method you use, getting a case received status update is just the beginning of the process. If you need extra assistance understanding your child’s green card application case status, an immigration attorney may be helpful.