What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Was Denied” Mean for My Employment-Based Green Card Application?

In a Nutshell

If you see “Case Was Denied” as your USCIS case status online, it means that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has received and reviewed your employment-based green card case and decided not to grant you a green card. If USCIS denies your employment-based green card, it will send you a denial notice explaining why. It can be disheartening to go through months of processing for an employment-based green card only to have your case denied. If this happens, you may want to get legal advice about the next steps. If you decide to appeal your case, you’ll want to have a good immigration attorney at your side.

Written by ImmigrationHelp Team
Updated February 6, 2023

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

You may receive a notice from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that says it denied your employment-based green card application. If so, it means that a USCIS officer considered your application but decided that you don’t qualify to receive a green card. You may not have met eligibility requirements under immigration law.

USCIS will send you an official notice explaining why it denied your application. But it will not return your fees, and you won’t receive an employment-based green card or lawful permanent resident status. 

Having your green card denied after a long wait may seem like the end of the road, but that’s not always the case. The next step is determining the reason USCIS decided you are ineligible to receive a green card. Once you know the reason, you can decide how to move forward. 

You may consider getting legal assistance to appeal the denial of your employment-based application.

Where in the Employment-Based Green Card Application Process Might I See “Case Denied” as My Status?

USCIS will not deny your application until a USCIS officer has fully processed it. USCIS processing times differ based on the service center, time of year, and the immigration application type. After submitting any of your forms, you may see any of the following statuses: 

  • Case Was Received: When USCIS receives your application, it will update your status and send you a receipt notice. This notice contains your receipt number, which helps you track the status of your case as it proceeds through the application process. 

  • Case Was Rejected: USCIS may reject your application if you made an error on a form or submitted an incorrect filing fee. This does not mean your immigration benefit was denied, and it is often easy to correct. 

  • Request for Additional Evidence (RFE) Was Sent: You will see this status if USCIS needs more evidence to verify the facts of your case. If you do not respond to the RFE by the deadline, you may get a Notice of Intent to Deny your immigration case.

  • Case Was Transferred: For logistical reasons, USCIS will sometimes transfer cases between service centers based on capacity.

  • Notice of Intent to Deny: USCIS may mail a Notice of Intent to Deny before it denies your green card application if you got a request for additional evidence and didn’t reply in by the deadline. In this case, USICS may decide you have abandoned your case. At this point you can file a motion to reopen your case if you meet eligibility criteria. If you do nothing, USCIS will deny your immigration case.

In the employment-based green card application process, here are the common forms used:

You may see a denial status after USCIS reviews any of these forms.

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

No. A denial of your employment-based application is different than a rejection

While receiving a case status that says “Case Was Rejected”  seems daunting, it’s something that you can correct. At worst, it lengthens the time it takes to process your application. USCIS always provides information about the reason(s) for its decision. Once you have that information, you can correct the issue and resubmit your application.

If you see the case status “Case Was Denied,” that means USCIS evaluated your application and decided you were not eligible for an employment green card. Your fees also won’t be returned.

This doesn’t mean you are out of options, but you will likely want to get legal help to understand your options and next steps. An immigration attorney can help you understand if you’re eligible to appeal your case or to reapply if certain circumstances change.

What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Denied” for My Employment-Based Green Card Case?

You have some options if USCIS denies your employment-based green card application. You may consider filing Form I-539: Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status so you can stay in the U.S. past your application’s expiration date. You need a legal basis to extend your time, but an experienced immigration lawyer can help you decide if that’s an option for you. 

You may also be facing deportation (removal proceedings) from the U.S. government after the denial of your employment-based petition. An attorney can help you in this situation, as well as advise you whether you have grounds to appeal your case or other options. 

You may be able to reapply, but keep in mind that for your application to get a better result, something about your eligibility must have changed. Starting over means submitting a new application and paying another filing fee. To ensure success, you may want to hire an attorney for help if you choose to file again.

When Should I Contact an Immigration Attorney About My Employment-Based Green Card Case?

In many cases, you can get an employment-based green card application approved without an attorney. But if your application was denied, it may help to get legal advice from an attorney about your options.

If you face deportation proceedings after your application for an adjustment of status is denied, you should consider legal assistance to help you decide your next course of action.