Waiting hopelessly in an immigration backlog is frustrating; not knowing what is going on makes it even worse. ImmigrationRoad has accumulated over the years a list of methods to check on the status of an application or petition. Hopefully one of them will work for you.
If you have a case number, which is located on your USCIS receipt, you can check the case status online. You can check one case at a time, or set up an account and list all your immigration cases in your portfolio. You may also set up an auto update in your account, which will send you an email when there is an action taken on your case. This is a very convenient method, but lacks critical details such as security check information.
gives you an opportunity to talk to an immigration officer directly. It can be very helpful if you have a rather urgent issue or a complicated question that benefits from a face-to-face discussion with a trained USCIS officer. They have access to more information, including FBI name checks and other case details, which are unavailable from the online system or general customer service. However, some officers may be unwilling to show you everything, or anything, so the outcome of your visit really depends on whom you talk to.
You do not have to wait for your case to be outside the processing window to set up an appointment, and you don't need a USCIS notice to go to your local office either. However, if your case is pending security checks, an USCIS officer cannot help speed up the process.
To make an infopass appointment, go to the secure USCIS web site. After typing in your zip code, you will be presented with several options. To check case status select "You need information or other services." Click "Continue" on the next screen, you will then be able to input your personal information such as your Alien Number and Receipt Number. The last steps are selecting a day and time for your appointment, and printing out a confirmation page which you will need to bring to the local office. If you wish to cancel the appointment, you will need the case number printed on the confirmation page.
An alternative to visiting a local USCIS office is to call the service center directly. By calling the national customer service line (800-375-5283), you will hear a long list of options. Choosing the right ones that fit your situation will lead you to the service center that is processing your case.
Note: The entire sequence has now changed since USCIS updated the phone menu on 8/29/2011. We must verify the method still works before posting it again. Stay tuned...
Even if you reach TSC or NSC, your call may be automatically transferred back to general customer service. But if someone picks up the phone, you should explain your situation briefly and ask about your case status. As with the IO's at local offices, they do know a lot of details about your case. Just a friendly reminder: no matter how frustrated you are with the processing delay, please be polite and professional during the conversation. If an officer is unwilling to help, you can always call back at a later time.
Unfortunately, USCIS representatives at (800) 375 - 5283 (TTY: 800-767-1833) don't know much more than the online system. So in many cases this method is not very helpful. However, they should be able to help you if you have a relatively straightforward question, or if you have received a USCIS notice which directs you to call this number.
Automated information is available 24/7. Live assistance is available Monday through Friday, usually 8am to 6pm local time. 8am-5pm for Alaska residents, and 8am-4pm for Hawaii. Click here to see the current USCIS Customer Service Phone Menu (as of 8/29/2011).
If you are outside the US you can call 785-330-1048 to check your case status.
If your case is 30 days outside the current processing dates, you can call customer service ( 800-375-5283) and place an official inquiry. The service center will respond to your inquiry by postal mail, usually in a few weeks, to explain why your case hasn't been adjudicated. For most people, the answer is usually "in process" or "pending security checks."
You may also call Customer Service if you have not received your green card, EAD, AP or other immigration documents two weeks after you received an approval notice. A representative can provide you with the USPS tracking number and delivery status.
USCIS established a new process to contact the service centers to check case status, as described in a August 6, 2009 USCIS Update:
Step 1: Contact USCIS national customer service by phone (1-800-375-5283);
SteP 2: If your issue is not resolved within 30 days, you may email the service center that has jurisdiction over your case:
Step 3: If the issue is still not resolved after 21 more days, email the Office of Service Center Operations: SCOPSSCATA@dhs.gov.
The FBI has clearly stated that congressional inquiries do not expedite processing name checks. In fact, FBI has expressed concerns that too many inquiries would only tie up vital resources, thus further slowing down the process. This is understandable. However, for people who have been waiting for multiple years, contacting their senators and/or house representatives for help does appear to be justified. This is especially true when neither the USCIS nor the FBI offers any information regarding those pending name check cases.
Then write a personalized letter to one or all of them, briefly explaining your case details and asking for their help to inquire about your case status. You may want to enclose a copy of your i485 receipt notice. Not all congressional offices are willing to contact the FBI or USCIS (some will do if your case has been pending for one year or more), but if they do, you can expect a written response in about 3-6 months. The FBI letter will include the date your case was received, and whether it is still in process or has been completed.