The case status checking system on the re-designed USCIS.GOV website now displays seven processing steps. Each step contains one or more administrative actions or procedures. Your current status is highlighted in green.
USCIS reviews new applications and petitions, sends out receipt notices for properly filed cases, and rejects applications that are incomplete or filed with incorrect fees.
The acceptance step usually takes a few days. An applicant can expect to receive a written notice along with a receipt number within 30 days.
This step includes mostly security checks, such as FBI fingerprint check, FBI name check, IBIS name check and other background investigations. USCIS must determine whether there are national security concerns or potential fraud.
USCIS may send you a request for evidence when certain required documentation/evidence is missing, or when the adjudication officer needs additional information. RFE may be issued at any stage. RFE must be responded before a deadline.
Sometimes an interview is required, either by regulation or at the discretion of the adjudication officer. Marriage-based green card applicants, for example, usually must go through the interview process. Beneficiary of an employment-based adjustment of status petition may be required to attend an interview as well, but not very often. Testing is referring to English and Civics tests for naturalization applications.
A formal decision (approval/denial) is made during this step and a notice is mailed to the applicant/petitioner.
For certain cases, USCIS may send notification of the approved application/petition to the National Visa Center or the Department of State for further processing. For denied applications/petitions, post-decision activity may include the processing of an appeal, motions to reopen or reconsider and revocations.
During this step a card or document (such as green card, EAD card, travel document, naturalization certificate, etc.) is produced and mailed to the applicant. Naturalization applicants can expect to be scheduled for an oath ceremony, usually within 45 days.