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IMMIGRATION – USCIS SERVICE CENTERS & CHECKING THE STATUS OF YOUR IMMIGRATION CASE

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Do you have an immigration case pending with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or submitted an immigrant visa petition that is being processed by the U.S. Department of State or National Visa Center (NVC)?  Regardless of whether you have an attorney or not, there are ways for you to find out the status of your case. Yes, that’s right: you can check the status of your own case! Even though I am an attorney, I will be the first to tell you that you do not need an attorney to do this – with some basic information, you can do it yourself! 

Status Check for Cases Pending with USCIS

There are different ways to check the status of your immigration case when it is pending with USCIS.  Let's say you (or your attorney) submitted a green card application, and you want to know what stage your case is currently at. One way to find out is to call the USCIS National Customer Service Center (NCSC) directly at 1-800-375-5283. If you go this route, just listen for the prompts and select accordingly. Be prepared with some basic information such as your full name, case number and any other identifying information that you may be asked. (Note: This number can also be used if you have not received your receipt notice for an extended period of time). For the hearing impaired, NCSC's TDD number is 1-800-767-1833

Another way to check the status of your case (which I actually think is a quicker way), is to visit USCIS' online case status checker at: https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do    Once you are on the “Case Status Online” page, look under "Enter a Receipt Number". In that box, enter the receipt number you received on your I-797C, Notice of Action form. (This is the first notice you should have received after you submitted your application/petition. It is basically the confirmation notice that USCIS has accepted your case for filing). You can generally find your "receipt number" near the top left portion of this document. It will be 13 characters long with the first 3 characters being letters, and the rest in numbers. (Example: MSC1234567890, or WSC0987654321, etc).  Once you enter the receipt number, click "Check Status" and voila! Your case status should be there for you to see.

Check Processing Time for Cases Pending with USCIS

Now, let's say you checked your case and you now know what stage your case is being processed at. But, now what?  How do you know if your case is proceeding normally or if your case is taking a longer time than usual?  Well...then you check the "processing" time of your case. You do that at: https://egov.uscis.gov/cris/processTimesDisplayInit.do or if you followed the directions above for case status, scroll down that same page for "Related Tools". Click on "USCIS Processing Times Information". Once you are on USCIS' website, scroll down to the bottom and enter the appropriate service center or field office handling your case. Now click on the button to the right for your case's "processing time".  Once you do that, you'll be given a processing timeframe for your case. Compare this with your case and you'll know if your case is within the regular timeframe, or if it is outside of the normal processing time and needs attention.

USCIS Service Center Abbreviations and Receipt Numbers

Whenever you file an application or petition, you either mail it directly to a USCIS service center or to a lockbox that eventually forwards your case to the appropriate service center. As previously mentioned, your case receipt number will be start with 3 letters, followed by numbers. The first 3 letters is the abbreviated service center where your case is being processed. The following are abbreviations those USCIS service centers:

California Service Center (CSC): Receipt Numbers that start with “WAC”

Vermont Service Center (VSC): Receipt Numbers that start with “EAC”

Nebraska Service Center (NSC): Receipt Numbers that start with “LIN”

Texas Service Center (TSC): Receipt Numbers that start with “SRC”

FYI: Each center has jurisdiction over a number of states. For example, the California Service Center covers California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, etc.

Status Check for Immigrant Visa Cases Pending with the U.S. Department of State

For those of you who have submitted a visa application, you can check the status of your visa application at the U.S. Department of State's website at: https://ceac.state.gov/CEACStatTracker/Status.aspx   

Under "Visa Application Type", enter whether your case is an Immigrant Visa (long term, permanent) or a Nonimmigrant Visa (short term, temporary). Then in the box underneath that, enter your case number exactly as it appears on your receipt. The last box that asks for you to enter the code is for verification purposes. Enter what you see on the right hand side of that box. Once done, click the red button marked "Submit". That's it. Your case status should be up for you to review.

So, let's recap: You don't need an attorney to find out the status of your case. There are a bunch of ways to find out the status on your own. Of course, if you need one or encounter difficulties, you can always contact me to assist you.  Second, if your case is being adjudicated here in the United States, you can find the location of the USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction over your case by looking at the first 3 letters of your receipt number.

Immigration can be confusing and/or frustrating. We are here to help you. Please do not hesitate to contact me at: (818) 505-4921.  If you have any questions you would like to be answered in future articles, please email me at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or see my website at: WWW.JC4LAW.COM for general information regarding this and many other topics in Immigration, Business, Property and Family Law.

Disclaimer: The information contained herein have been prepared for informational purposes only and are not to be considered legal advice unless otherwise specified. If you have a specific question regarding your personal case, please contact the Law Offices of Joseph Chitmongran for a full consultation.