What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Rejected” Mean for My Parent 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 will 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 case 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
Written October 26, 2022

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

Helping your parent apply for a green card can be a challenging task, and mistakes happen. If you make a mistake on your application, USCIS can reject your case. If this happens, USCIS will return your application and filing fee and explain what error (or errors) led to the case rejection. A case rejection doesn’t mean USCIS made its decision on the merits of the green card application. Instead, it rejected the application without reviewing it. 

If a case gets rejected, you have the opportunity to fix the error and resubmit the application. Common mistakes that lead to green card case rejections include:

  • 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 or Case Rejected for Incorrect Fee

In some cases, you’ll see two of these statuses combined if multiple errors led to USCIS rejecting your case. Here are a few examples:

  • 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, it doesn’t. When a case gets denied, it means USCIS made its decision on the merits of the parent green card application. In other words, USCIS believes there’s a reason your parent isn’t eligible to get a green card. If this happens, you won’t get your filing fee back.

In contrast, if your case is rejected, then you made a mistake when filing your application, so USCIS is returning your green card application and fee. This can be annoying to deal with, especially because it means waiting even longer to get your parent’s green card. But it’s a problem that’s usually easily addressed. A case rejection has no bearing on whether your parent is allowed to get a green card.

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

Your next step depends on the reason or reasons USCIS rejected your parent green card application. The good news is that you can readily address most reasons for green card case rejections and then refile the petition and/or change of status application. 

Case Was Rejected Because It Was Improperly Filed

If you see this status, it means you sent your application or petition to the wrong address. The address you need to send your forms to will depend on where you live, your parent’s eligibility category, and if a form requires a special address. For example, Form I-130: Petition for Alien Relative and Form I-485: Application to Registered Permanent Residence or Adjust Status both need to be sent to a special address.

Check with USCIS to find the special mailing address you need to send Form I-130 and Form I-485. Keep in mind that Form I-130 can be filed online.

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

USCIS occasionally updates its forms and asks that applicants use the most recent version. If you use an out-of-date form, USCIS can reject your parent green card application. Before refiling, confirm that you’re using the most recent green card form. You can find the most recent version of the form by searching the form number on the USCIS website, then scrolling down to the “Edition Date” drop-down menu.

Case Was Rejected Because I Did Not Sign My Form

This is a simple and common mistake, especially given how many forms you must sign and file to apply for a green card. If this is the reason your parent green card case was rejected, find the form that’s missing your signature, sign it, then resubmit your entire application packet to USCIS.

Petitioner/Application Was Rejected for Insufficient Funds

This might occur if USCIS cashes a check or charges your debit card when there isn’t enough money in the bank account. If you intend to pay for your parent green card application with a check or debit card, make sure you have the filing fee amount in the associated bank account. If you don’t, then the green card application could get rejected for insufficient funds.

To help avoid this problem when refilling, consider using a credit card, cashier’s check, or money order to pay the filing fee. If you must use a check or debit card, make sure there’s enough money in your bank account at all times and no temporary authorizations that might tie up some of the money in the account. If having enough money to pay the necessary filing fees is a problem, you can look into applying for a fee waiver or employ some strategies to help pay USCIS filing fees.

Case Was Rejected Because I Sent an Incorrect Fee

You must submit the exact amount (not more, not less) of the required filing fee for each form. You can find out how much the filing fee is for each form by looking at the form’s instructions or checking the USCIS Fee Schedule. If you’re still unsure about the filing fee amount required, you can always confirm the amount with an immigration lawyer.

Case Was Rejected for Two or More Reasons 

Your parent green card case rejection could be the result of several of the reasons listed above. For instance, getting your green card application returned to you could involve:

  • 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

If you see one of these case statuses, reference the related statuses above to see how to resolve both of them.

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

You’ll probably see the “case rejected” status soon after filing one of the necessary forms. The first two forms you need to file are Form I-130 and Form I-864: Affidavit of Support. The forms you need to file next depend on where your parents are located and the need for optional forms.

If your parent is already in the United States, they’ll file Form I-485. If they’re overseas, they’ll go through consular processing. In this case, you’ll need to file Forms DS-260 and DS-261 with the National Visa Center (NVC). Your parent won’t usually start completing these forms until a visa number becomes available, which often results in lengthy wait times.

There are also optional forms your parents might want to complete, such as Form I-131 (used to apply for Advance Parole to travel outside the U.S.) or Form I-765 (used to apply for a work permit). Generally speaking, a case rejection is most likely to occur after filing forms:

  • I-130

  • I-485

  • I-765

  • I-131

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

Many of the reasons USCIS rejects parent green card applications are straightforward to fix. It just requires a bit of additional time, but it’s something you can do yourself, such as signing a form or writing a check for the filing fee in the correct amount.

How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?

The most convenient way to check for case status chances is to use the USCIS case status online tool. Before you use it, you’ll need to have your receipt number. You should get your receipt number when USCIS sends a receipt notice — the official notice that it received your application or petition.

The USCIS case status tool is helpful when refiling an application or petition because it shows when USCIS receives the correct application and begins processing it. When that happens, you’ll know you’ve fixed the mistake that led to the case getting rejected. The USCIS online status tool also lets you know when to take care of other tasks, like attending the biometrics appointment or providing additional information, such as a request for evidence.

In addition to getting case status updates from the USCIS online tool, you’ll also get update notices in the mail. In situations involving a case rejection, these notices sent by mail will often contain more details about why USCIS rejected your case.