What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Was Denied” Mean for My Form I-539 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 (USCIS) has received and reviewed your Form I-539 application and decided not to grant you a change or extension of your nonimmigration status. If USCIS denies your Form I-539 case, it will send you a denial notice explaining why. It can be disheartening to go through months of processing for a change or extension of your nonimmigrant status only to have your case denied. If this happens, you may want to get legal advice about the next steps.

Written by Kassandra Kuehl
Written December 15, 2022

My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Was Denied.” What Does That Mean for My Form I-539 Application?

If you’ve logged in to check on the status of your Form I-539 and your application is listed as “Case Denied,” then USCIS has decided you are not eligible for a change or extension of your status. Unfortunately, you will not receive your filing fee back.

USCIS will send you an official notice in the mail that explains the reasons for the denial. It is understandably frustrating to work so hard to secure an adjustment to your immigration status only to have your efforts denied. But you can have an immigration attorney review your denial notice and advise you about the best way to move forward.

If you’ve had a change in your circumstances that now makes you eligible, you may be able to submit a new Form I-539 and reapply for your desired change or extension of status. Or, you may be in a position to appeal your case. If you decide to file an appeal, it’s best to hire an experienced immigration attorney to help you.

Where in the Form I-539 Application Process Might I See “Case Denied” as My Status?

You’ll see “Case Denied” as your status at the very end of the process. You won’t be denied until after USCIS reviews your Form I-539. If a USCIS agent reviews your case and determines that you’re ineligible for a change or extension in your immigration status, they may issue a denial.

Before you get a denial, you will see several other case status updates in your USCIS account. “Case Was Received” means that your Form I-539 arrived at the USCIS service center and will soon be reviewed. This step is when the agency sends you a receipt notice with your receipt number. You use your receipt number to check your case status online. Here are a few more statuses you may see:

  • Case Rejected”: If you see this status, you made a filing error with your application. If USCIS rejects your application, you can fix the mistake and resubmit.

  • Request for Additional Evidence Was Sent”: USCIS needs additional documentation from you to verify an aspect of your case.

  • “Case Was Transferred”: USCIS transferred your case to a different service center based on a clerical decision. This status doesn’t require you to take any action. Your case will continue to be processed.

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

No, rejected and denied don’t mean the same thing in this context. “Case Denied” means that your case has been fully reviewed and USCIS has determined that you are not eligible for the change or extension in your status. 

“Case Rejected” means that you’ve made a filing error of some kind and USCIS has returned your paperwork and filing fee. If you see this status, you need to fix your mistake and refile your Form I-539, so USCIS can properly process your application. You should act quickly, and this can usually be completed on your own without needing to hire an attorney.

If USCIS denied your application but you believe that you are eligible for the benefit you applied for, you can speak with an attorney about appealing the denial of your request or seeing if you have other immigration options.

What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Denied” for My Form I-539 Green Card Case?

If your Form I-539 application has been denied, you’re likely frustrated. This is understandable since you’ve worked hard and waited a long time to change or extend your immigration status. But you do still have some options. If you believe that you are eligible and that USCIS made a mistake, you can speak with an attorney about the possibility of appealing the denial. 

If your circumstances have fundamentally changed in some way that makes you now eligible, you can reapply and submit another Form I-539 with another filing fee. Even if you didn’t use an attorney to help you apply the first time, you should consult an attorney before applying again, since there are complex laws about eligibility. 

When Should I Contact an Immigration Attorney About My Form I-539 Green Card Case?

Many people initially file Form I-539 without the help of an attorney. But you should contact an attorney if you still want to explore other options after a case denial. An immigration attorney can tell you if an appeal is a good idea for your circumstances. They can also help you refile your application if something changes in your fact pattern or eligibility. There may be other paths that will allow you to continue living in the U.S. for the foreseeable future.