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

In a Nutshell

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) case status “Case Rejected” means that you didn’t file your immigration paperwork correctly, so USCIS didn’t review your case. If USCIS rejects your case, it’ll also return your original filing fee. To have your case reviewed, you’ll need to fix the issue that caused the rejection. Common issues that lead to rejection include filing the incorrect form version, paying an incorrect fee amount, and not signing a form. If you see the “Case Rejected” status on your USCIS account, you’ll need to refile your application and pay your filing fee to move forward with your immigration application. If you aren’t sure how to correct the mistake after reading this article, you may want to contact an attorney for help with your case.

Written by Attorney Curtis Lee
Updated December 13, 2022

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

If your child’s green card application gets rejected, it means you made a mistake in the application process. As a result, USCIS did not review your case or determine eligibility. If USCIS rejects your case, it will return your application and filing fee and mail you an official notice explaining why the case got rejected. With this information, you can fix what was wrong and refile the application. 

You may see any of the following common USCIS statuses if your child green card application case is rejected:

  • Case Was Rejected Because It Was Improperly Filed 

  • Case Rejected Because The Version Of The Form I Sent Is No Longer Accepted 

  • Case Was Rejected Because I Did Not Sign My Form 

  • Petition/Application Was Rejected For Insufficient Funds

  • Case Rejected Because I Sent An Incorrect Fee

  • Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee And Form Not Signed

  • Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee And Incorrect Form Version

  • Case Rejected For Form Not Signed And Incorrect Form Version

Does the Case Status “Case Rejected” Mean the Same Thing as “Case Denied”?

No. When USCIS rejects a case, it means the application wasn’t properly filed. This can be frustrating, but it can be fixed. Then you can refile the application. Generally speaking, the only thing you lose with a case rejection is time.

When USCIS denies a case, it means the USCIS reviewed the merits of the child green card application and concluded that your child isn’t eligible to receive a green card. If your case is denied, you don’t get your filing fee back. If this happens to you, it may be a good idea to get legal help in filing an appeal or finding a different approach to achieve your immigration goals.

What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Rejected” for My Child Green Card?

If USCIS rejects your child’s green card application, you’ll have a chance to fix the problem and resubmit the application. What you need to do to address the issue depends on the reason or reasons USCIS rejected your case. Below are some common reasons for a case rejection and how to address them.

Case Was Rejected Because It Was Improperly Filed

“Improperly filed” usually means you mailed your green card application to the wrong location. The address you use to file your forms depends on where you live and what forms you’re filing. If you send your case paperwork to the wrong address, USCIS will sometimes forward it to the correct location, but it is under no obligation to do this and can reject the application instead. 

If your case gets rejected for improper filing, double-check the direct filing address for each form you’re submitting. You can do this by searching for the form number on USCIS.gov. Here are the links to USCIS’s webpages for the Form I-130 direct filing addresses and Form I-485 direct filing addresses.

Case Was Rejected Because the Version of the Form I Sent Is No Longer Accepted

USCIS periodically updates its forms to reflect changes in the law or eligibility. Applicants must use the most current version of the form. The easiest way to find the current form is to search the form number on USCIS.gov. Then look at the drop-down menus for “Forms and Document Downloads” and “Edition Date.” You can down the most recent form in PDF format from that USCIS form webpage.

USCIS form webpage

Case Was Rejected Because I Did Not Sign My Form

This is an easy mistake to make given how many USCIS forms require multiple signatures from multiple people. If USCIS rejects your child’s green card case because you didn’t sign a form, find the form you forgot to sign, sign it, then refile the whole application with the USCIS.

Petitioner/Application Was Rejected for Insufficient Funds

If you pay your USCIS filing fee with a personal check or debit card, you may see this case status if there isn’t enough money in your account to cover the filing fee. 

When you refile your child green card application, be sure you have enough money in your account until you see the filing fee clear. Alternatively, consider using a different payment option, such as a credit card, cashier’s check, or money order. If you must use a personal check or debit card, make sure there’s enough money in the account and that there are no temporary authorizations. 

If you’re having trouble coming up with the necessary funds to pay the filing fees, here are some tips to afford USCIS filing fees. If you qualify, you can also apply for a fee waiver for Form I-485. Unfortunately, Form I-130 isn’t eligible for a fee waiver.

Case Was Rejected Because I Sent an Incorrect Fee

Not sending enough money to cover the fee will cause problems, but so will sending too much. You must send the exact filing fee amount due when you submit your application. If your case is rejected for an incorrect fee, you can refile your application, but first make sure you know the correct filing fee amount. You can check it by looking at either the USCIS Fee Schedule or the specific form’s instructions. 

Case Was Rejected for Two or More Reasons 

If you made multiple errors when submitting your green card application, USCIS may list two or more reasons for rejecting your case. Examples of case statuses you may see for this include:

  • Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee And Form Not Signed

  • Case Rejected For Incorrect Fee And Incorrect Form Version

  • Case Rejected For Form Not Signed And Incorrect Form Version

Fixing the problems often doesn’t take as much effort as you might initially fear. Read the relevant sections above to see how to remedy the problem, and be sure you’ve addressed both issues before resubmitting your application to USCIS.

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

You’ll likely see a “case rejected” status update at any of the following stages of the child green card application process:

  • After filing Form I-130

  • After filing Form I-485

  • After filing Form I-765 (work permit) or Form I-131 (Advance Parole)

The timing of when Form I-485 gets filed depends on your immigration status, your child’s age, and your child’s marital status. Depending on which family preference applies, processing and wait times could mean that Form I-485 gets filed months or years after Form I-130 is filed and approved. If your child is overseas and you’re in the United States, the green card application process will be a bit different in that you’ll make use of consular processing.

Forms I-765 and I-131 are both optional forms. Your child will file Form I-765 if they want to apply for a work permit during the green card process. If your child needs to travel while waiting for their green card, they can apply for Advance Parole with Form I-131.

When Should I Contact an Immigration Attorney About My Child Green Card Case?

For many child green card case rejections, you can fix the issue yourself and refile the necessary forms and documents. For example, forgetting to include the filing fee check or not signing a form are fairly simple fixes. But there could be situations where you don’t understand the reason for the case rejection. 

Maybe the USCIS says you sent the incorrect fee amount, but after reviewing the form’s instructions, you still don’t understand why the amount you sent was incorrect. In this latter situation, it might be worth getting legal help.

How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?

The quickest and easiest way to see if your case status has changed is to use the USCIS case status online tool. To use it, you’ll need your receipt number —the number on your USCIS receipt notice.

If your case gets rejected and you refile it, you can use the case status tool to see when USCIS received your corrected child green card application, has accepted your corrections, and has begun processing the application or petition. The online case status tracker will also let you know if the USCIS needs additional information, such as a request for evidence, or when you need to take additional steps, like attending the biometrics appointment.

One thing to keep in mind is that regardless of whether you check your case’s status with this online tool, the USCIS will also mail all official notices (including the case rejection). In many cases, the notices sent by mail will include additional information and a longer explanation than the online case status tool does.