Waiting for updates on a pending immigration application or case can make an already uncertain situation feel even more stressful.
If it seems like your case is stuck in the system, keep in mind that in general, the immigration process takes months, even years for some applicants. If you tire of playing the waiting game, you have several options to satisfy your curiosity.
Here’s how to check your immigration status when you haven’t heard anything from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office that’s processing your case.
Before you begin your status check, make sure you have your receipt. We’ll talk about that before we move on to the different options for checking your status.
Don’t Lose Your Receipt
After you submit an application or petition to USCIS, you should receive a printed receipt. It may take a few days, or even several weeks to arrive.
Whether you check your status online, by telephone, or in person, you’ll need the receipt. Specifically, you’ll need your receipt number, which is a 13-digit number preceded by 3 letters. The letters identify the USCIS office handling your case.
Speaking of receipts, did you send your application or petition by certified mail? If so, keep that receipt handy as well. It’s proof that you sent it and you may need it if you end up making an appointment for an in-person meeting.
Next, determine if you should set up an account with USCIS.
USCIS Online Account
One way you can streamline your case status inquiries is by signing up for an online account with USCIS.
The online account allows applicants and petitioners access to real-time information about their case(s). Here’s what you can do through an online account:
Track case status.
Send messages to the USCIS Contact Center.
Receive answers to your secure inbox.
You may also use the online account to reach out for help if you can’t get into your account or need other technical assistance. At this time, you can access the online account system on a computer, tablet, or cell phone.
Check Your Status Online
The easiest way you can check the status of an immigration case or application is through the online case status tool. You’ll need your case number, which you’ll find on the receipt we mentioned earlier. Without your case number, you won’t be able to check your status online.
USCIS makes it convenient by allowing you to check only one case, or list each of your immigration cases in your online portfolio.
Why not set up an automatic update in your account? Then, you’ll receive an email letting alerting you about actions taken on your case.
Be aware that the online status tool doesn’t provide every detail on your case. For example, you won’t get any security check status information with this tool.
USCIS also makes an online messaging system available for the following situations:
- Longer than normal processing times.
- The card or other document didn’t come in the mail.
- The card or document contains an error.
USCIS refers to the messaging system as its e-request tool.
Here’s How to Check Your Immigration Status with Emma
Emma is a virtual assistant. If you’re not familiar with virtual assistants, they work remotely, handling a wide range of administrative tasks.
In this case, Emma, the virtual assistant to USCIS customers, is not a real person. Instead, Emma uses artificial intelligence (AI) to answer your questions.
Emma is easy to use and easy to find. Anytime you visit the website for USCIS, Emma appears in the corner of your screen. To check the status of your case, type in the question and Emma will give you the link to the answer.
Need help? Ask Emma.
Make a Phone Call
If you don’t have access to a computer, tablet, or cell phone with internet service, you can always call the USCIS service center at 800-375-5283. This is their national customer service number. Like many other organizations, you’ll have a list of options to choose from when you call.
If you listen carefully to the options and select the right one, you should get connected with the service center responsible for processing your case.
Should your call transfer over to a general customer service representative, just explain (briefly) about your situation and let the representative know you’re calling to check your status.
When you call the service center you don’t need your receipt number. They can use other identifying information. Also, be aware of hold times—you may wait 2 minutes, but if they’re busy, you may be on hold for up to two hours.
Remember, although customer service representatives have a signification amount of information about your case, they won’t be able to discuss things like detention, detention hearings, or immigration bonds.
Check Your Status By Mail
While not the most convenient way of checking status, sending an inquiry mail does work. Mail inquiries work best when you’ve filed your application with a local USCIS Field Office. You will write that office directly for your update.
In your status check letter make sure you include as much information as possible. In addition to you name, address, and date of birth, you’ll need the date and place where you filed the application or petition. You’ll also need:
- Receipt Number
- Alien Number (A-Number)
Don’t forget to include a copy of the most recent communication sent to you by the USCIS.
Need More Help with Your Immigration Case?
Now that we’ve shared our tips on here’s how to check your immigration status, we hope we’ve answered your most pressing questions.
Sometimes, people need help navigating the system after they’ve been detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Did you know that Texas, California, Arizona, Georgia, and Louisiana are the top 5 states with the largest number of people detained by ICE? We provide immigration bond services for these states and every other state in the U.S.
Contact us today for more information on immigration bonds. Let us put our years of experience to work helping you or your loved one.