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What Does the USCIS Case Status “Case Was Received” Mean for My Form I-765 Application?

In a Nutshell

When you see the case status “Case Was Received” from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), USCIS is acknowledging that it received your immigration application packet. This is just the start of USCIS processing your application. USCIS 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 Immigration Help Team
Written December 13, 2022


My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Was Received.” What Does That Mean for My Employment Authorization Application?

If your USCIS case status says “Case Was Received,” you can breathe a sigh of relief. This means that your Form I-765 was received by USCIS and that the agency will begin reviewing your request soon.

Confirming that your Form I-765 has been received doesn’t mean that your employment authorization application has been approved. A “Case Received” status simply acknowledges that your paperwork has been received by USCIS. Some applicants will see a similar status, such as “Case Received At Local Office.” This means the same thing.

Now that your case has been received, check your postal mailbox regularly for a Form I-797C notice. This is USCIS’s official notice that it received your Form I-765. Don’t throw this receipt notice away. It contains a receipt number that you’ll use to check the status of your case online moving forward.

Does “Case Received” Mean the Same Thing as “Case Approved”?

A case received status doesn’t mean that your work permit application has been approved. It only means that your application paperwork has arrived safely at a USCIS service center. If and when your case status shifts to “Case Approved,” this means USCIS thoroughly evaluated your application and determined you’re eligible for a work permit. The agency will then send you a formal notice in the mail that your application has been approved.

“Case Received” is reserved for the start of the application process, and “Case Approved” comes at the end of the process. Getting your work authorization approved can be a take several months depending on the agency’s workload and other factors.

What Should I Do if My USCIS Case Status Says “Case Was Received”?

There isn’t much you can do once your case has been received. You should monitor your case status regularly in case you need to send in additional evidence or correct an error.

Because you’ll need to repeatedly reference the receipt number provided on the Form I-797C you received, make sure to keep this notice document in a safe place. You’ll use this receipt number to monitor your case status moving forward. Be proactive and take a photograph of the document and store it in a safe digital space in case the physical document is ever misplaced.

Processing Times for Form I-765 Applications

Don’t be surprised if your case status remains as “Case Received” for weeks or even months at a time. USCIS can take a long time to process your application and make a final decision. Luckily, the USCIS website lists each service center’s current processing times. You can check the current processing time for the service center that is reviewing your Form I-765. Current processing times range from 8–16 months for general I-765 applicants. These times may be longer for individuals submitting Form I-765 as part of an asylum or other humanitarian benefit application.

If your application is taking longer than the current processing time, you can contact USCIS directly and ask for more information. If you still have questions, you can use our Ask an Attorney Program to speak with an independent attorney for just $24/month.

Where in the Form I-765 Application Process Will I See the “Case Was Received” Status?

Your application status should shift to “Case Was Received” within 10 days or so of USCIS receiving your paperwork. It may not appear until 2–3 weeks later due to delays, though. Although this status appears at the start of the application process, you may see it again if you respond to a request for additional evidence or submit additional documentation to USCIS for whatever reason.

Alternatively, you may see the following statuses if you send in additional case documents:

How Can I Track USCIS Case Status Changes?

It’s important to monitor your case online so that you’re aware of any shifts in your case status. If USCIS needs you to fix a mistake or provide additional information, acting quickly will prevent unnecessary delays. USCIS sends official case status adjustment notifications by mail, but regularly checking your status on USCIS.gov can help speed the review process along. Additionally, you’ll better ensure that you remain informed if your official notice from USCIS gets lost in the mail. To check your status, simply enter your receipt number in the Case Status Online tracking tool and click “Check Status.”

If you have questions about your case status, ImmigrationHelp.org can help. If your application process is particularly complex, we can connect you with an experienced immigration lawyer. You don’t have to weather the ups and downs of the immigration application process alone.


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