What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Transferred” Mean for My Form I-539 Application?

In a Nutshell

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) case status “Case Was Transferred And A New Office Has Jurisdiction” means that USCIS moved your case to a different service center or field office. The new office will continue processing your case from there. USCIS may choose to transfer your Form I-539 application for several reasons, including staffing shortages or processing delays. Cases may also be transferred if you, the applicant, move and are now in a new jurisdiction. If USCIS transfers your case, it will notify you via your online account and mail you a transfer notice. You don’t need to do anything, but take note that any future additional documentation for your case and any questions you have about your case will need to be directed to the new office.

Written by ImmigrationHelp Team
Written December 20, 2022

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

Your Form I-539 application: Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status must be processed at a USCIS service center before it is approved. During processing, USCIS may transfer your application from one service center to another. 

If your application is transferred, your case status will appear in your online USCIS account as “Case Transferred” or “Case Was Transferred and a New Office Has Jurisdiction” or something similar. USCIS will also send you an official transfer notice by mail. This notice contains more detailed information about the transfer, such as the reason your case was transferred and which service center is handling your application now. 

A USCIS transfer doesn’t require you to take any action. Your case will continue moving forward at the new service center. And your receipt number — the 13-digit number you use to check your application’s status — will stay the same as before the transfer. However, you should direct any questions or additional documents to the new service center listed in your transfer notice. 

Finally, don’t panic! Having your application transferred is usually nothing to worry about. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s a problem with your application or that your case will be delayed. If your former service center had a large case backlog, the transfer could result in a faster processing time. Of course, there’s no guarantee that a transfer will speed up your case.

Why Did USCIS Transfer My Form I-539 Application?

USCIS can transfer your application, at its discretion, for a variety of reasons. In most cases, a transfer is not a cause for concern. The following are some of the most common reasons for USCIS case transfers:

Your Service Center Is Experiencing Delays

If a service center is facing backlogs, staffing shortages, or longer-than-usual processing times, USCIS may try to balance the workload by transferring some cases to other service centers. That said, USCIS may not choose to transfer cases just because your service center is taking longer than other centers to process I-539 applications. Even if your case is transferred, your processing time still might not be any shorter.

You Mailed Your Application to the Wrong Address

The correct address to submit your I-539 application depends on your visa type, where you live, and other factors. If you filed your application in the wrong place, USCIS may transfer it to the correct service center. If so, consider yourself lucky: USCIS doesn’t have to transfer your case and could choose to reject your application altogether if it’s filed in the wrong place. That’s why it’s important to review the USCIS address instructions very carefully before submitting your Form I-539.

You Moved to a Different Service Area

In some cases, where you live affects which USCIS service center has jurisdiction, or authority, to process your I-539 application. If you move while your application is being processed, USCIS might transfer your case to the service center that processes applications for your new address. If you move but don’t notify USCIS of your new address, your case could be delayed. Even if you only move a short distance, it’s still a good idea to keep your address up to date so you don’t miss any important case documents.

Your Application Has Reached the Interview Stage

Before your I-539 application can be approved, USCIS might require you to appear at an interview. If you’re living in the United States while your application is processing, your interview will take place at the field office that’s closest to your home address. Before scheduling your interview, USCIS typically transfers your case to the appropriate field office. This type of transfer is usually a sign that your application is close to being approved! 

Can I Request a Case Transfer From USCIS?

Waiting for USCIS to process your I-539 application can be frustrating, especially when it appears your case could move faster at a different service center. Unfortunately, there’s no way to request that USCIS transfer your case to a different center. But if your case has been processing for longer than your service center’s usual I-539 processing times, you can request that USCIS investigate the situation to see what’s causing the delay. You can also consult an immigration attorney to help get your case moving.

What Should I Do if My Form I-539 Application Gets Transferred to a New Office?

Most USCIS case transfers are done for purely administrative reasons. In other words, these transfers don’t require you to do anything and shouldn’t be anything to worry about. If your I-539 application status says, “Case Transferred,” just be on the lookout for your next status update. Also, watch for your official transfer notice and other official USCIS notices that will arrive by mail. Follow any instructions in these notices carefully. 

A transfer sometimes means something is getting ready to happen in your case, such as scheduling an interview. Check your status often so you don’t miss any important information.

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

About 2-3 weeks after you submit your I-539 application to USCIS, you should receive a receipt notice that contains your 13-digit receipt number. Once you’ve gotten your receipt notice, a case transfer can happen at any time while your application is processing. 

The timing usually depends on the reason for the transfer. For example, if your case is transferred because it was filed in the wrong place, the transfer is likely to happen very soon after USCIS receives your application. If your case is transferred to a field office so you can appear at an interview, that usually happens closer to the end of your processing time.

How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?

Checking your USCIS case status regularly is the most important thing you can do to avoid delays in processing your Form I-539 application. A “Case Transferred” status doesn’t usually require you to take action, but your next status update could include something that needs your attention, such as a request for additional information or a notice to schedule a biometrics appointment

There are many ways you can check your case status, but the easiest way is to track your status online. If you’ve registered for a myUSCIS account, just log into your account portal with your username and password to view all activity in your case. You can also view your current status by entering your 13-digit receipt number into the USCIS status tracker tool

USCIS usually sends you an official notice by mail when your case status changes. These notices typically contain more detailed information about your new status and may include instructions for what to do next. Tracking your status online lets you see status updates sooner than waiting for the mailed notices to arrive. An online status update also alerts you to watch your mail for USCIS correspondence.