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 ImmigrationHelp Team.
Written December 4, 2022
My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Received.” What Does That Mean for My EB-5 Application?
If you discover that USCIS has updated your case status to “Case Was Received,” it means that the agency has received your EB-5 application. This is the very start of your application process. You may also see a status like “Case Was Received at My Local Office” or some other general variation.
You will be notified of the change in your case status in two ways. First, USCIS will send you an official notice (Form I-797C) called a receipt notice. This notice contains your receipt number. Keep this notice somewhere safe as you’ll need to use your receipt number to check for updates in your case as USCIS continues to process your EB-5 application. It’s also a good idea to take a photo with your phone or make a copy of this document in case you misplace the original.
As the application process continues, you will see many more status updates in your case.
Does “Case Received” Mean the Same Thing As “Case Approved”?
It’s easy to be confused by the different case statuses USCIS uses. Many statuses sound similar. While “Case Received” sounds similar to “Case Approved,” the two have very different meanings.
When USCIS confirms that it has received your EB-5 application, it is just starting the process of reviewing your application. You’re at the beginning of what can be a long process waiting for EB-5 approval. When USCIS approves your case, you’re near the end of the process! Depending on current USCIS processing times, there could be many months between these two status updates.
What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Was Received”?
Seeing the “Case Received” status update is a great start. It means USCIS hasn’t rejected your application, so it will start processing your case. However, it also means you probably have to wait a while for USCIS to review your Form I-526: Immigrant Petition by Alien Entreprenuer.
You can use your receipt number to check for status updates online while your application is being processed. You can check current USCIS processing times for Form I-526 on USCIS.gov. If your application is taking longer than the normal processing time, you can contact USCIS.
To give you a sense of how long it can take USCIS to process EB-5 forms, here are the historical USCIS processing times for Form I-526 between 2018–2022.
|FY 2018||FY 2019||FY 2020||FY 2021||FY 2022|
|Form I-526 processing time||19.9 months||19.0 months||31.1 months||32.5 months||44.2 months|
The five-year average processing time is 29 months or about 2.4 years. Note that current processing times (as of December 2022) are higher, especially for immigrant investors applying for EB-5 green cards from mainland China.
Where in the EB-5 Application Process Will I See the “Case Received” Status?
You should see a “Case Received” status soon after sending Form I-526 to USCIS. According to USCIS, it takes the agency about 10 days to send out your receipt notice after it receives your application. However, delays are common, so it may be two to three weeks before you receive your receipt notice. If you want to receive an electronic notification when your application is accepted, you can submit Form G-1145.
You see similar statuses later in the process as USCIS continues to process your application. Here are a few examples:
Correspondence Was Received and USCIS Is Reviewing It: This confirms that USCIS has received and is reviewing documents you sent related to your case.
Document and Letter Received: This is similar to the previous status. USCIS uses it to confirm it has received correspondence from you along with a cover letter.
Response to USCIS’ Request for Evidence Was Received: USCIS uses this case status when you respond to a Request for Evidence (RFE).
Expedite Request Received: If you apply to expedite your application processing USCIS will use this status to let you know it’s received your request.
How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?
After USCIS receives your EB-5 green card application, it will start processing your case. Since this is just the start of what can be a very long process, you’ll want to check for case status updates regularly. These updates contain important information about your case. Some of these updates will require you to take action within a limited time. For example, there is a deadline to respond to a Request for Evidence (RFE). If you receive an RFE or any other notice about an issue delaying your case, USCIS will tell explain what you need to do to address it.
USCIS provides an online tool for checking your case status. ImmigrationHelp.org can also help you understand case status updates or connect you with an immigration attorney who can answer your questions through our $24/month Ask an Attorney program.