New USCIS.GOV Website Review – Check Case Status

USCIS has now unveiled the much anticipated case status checking system. Although it is noticeably better than its predecessor, it fell short of expectations.

From the DHS leadership journal and various speeches made by government officials, people had the impression that the new online status system would achieve two major objectives:

  1. Identify the current processing step of an immigration case, i.e. let a customer know what has been done, what is being worked on and what is coming next on their application; and,
  2. Provide an estimated waiting time before a case can be adjudicated, i.e. let a customer know “how many people are waiting in line or how long it may be before USCIS can process and approve his application.”

USCIS has done a fairly good job for No. 1 (case status), but not nearly enough for No. 2 (waiting time).

The case status tool now displays seven steps: Acceptance, Initial Review, Request for Evidence (RFE), Testing and Interview, Decision, Post Decision Activity, and Document Production or Oath Ceremony. Below is an example of the RFE step (see more examples here):


The benefit of this format is that all processing steps are displayed in one window – people who are not familiar with the immigration process  are now able to figure out what steps have been completed and what is likely to come next. For others, especially high-tech workers under employment based categories, this change is far less appealing because most of them understand the green card work flow quite well already.

As it stands now, a new status update will replace the old one, and if a case has reached the next step, previous ones will be grayed out. A better way would be to keep all status updates in the system until at least some time after the case has been adjudicated. This way it also acts as a personal journal for the applicant. The data are stored in the USCIS database anyway, why not make them  useful?

The new alert function via text messaging is nice and geeky, but doesn’t deserve so much spotlight in my opinion.

Regardless of how case status is presented, what is critical to immigrants is that the information in the system is complete and up to date. For example:

  • Does the system reflect a RFE that has been responded to?
  • Is background check information included in the report?
  • Does a rescheduled appointment or interview get updated?
  • If a case is at a certain stage, does it mean all previous steps have been completed? In another word, does RFE mean FBI name check is cleared? If an interview is scheduled, does it mean all RFE’s have been processed?

The waiting time report, implemented as National Volume and Trends on the new website, is far from what everyone expected. We will discuss it in a separate post.

It is worth mentioning that USCIS redesigned the website in a hurry, and completed the bulk of new development in roughly three months. So it is probably unrealistic to expect a complete overhaul. It is an excellent start, however, and USCIS deserves credit for that. But we certainly hope that the efforts don’t stop here. is one of the most popular government websites (6 million visitors monthly), so hopefully the agency will have the support to continue to make it better.

Update: USCIS has started releasing pending I-485 inventory since September, 2009. Although it doesn’t provide an estimate of wait time, it does tell you how many green card applicants are still waiting ahead of you. More information can be found in this post, or you can check out the inventory directly using our green card tracker.

70 thoughts on “New USCIS.GOV Website Review – Check Case Status

  • with due respict my case number xxx[deleted by IR-Blog] F4 my prority date may 2003 how much year my case will be approved and who year my visa will done

  • Hi,
    with respect to my case number past 1 year it appears as Post decision activity. When can i expect
    the decision they are going to make on my case?
    Appreciate your reply


  • Post decision activity is usually coming pretty fast, although it depends on your case type and what the decision actually was. I’d say that if USCIS hasn’t notified you the expected wait time, you might want to contact them if you haven’t heard anything after 30 – 60 days.

  • Hey you seem to know the system pretty well. I was just wondering how significant the first step, Acceptance, is for the whole process and perhaps how much time may be left for the next step. It’s an Immigrant Petition for Relative filed in 1997

    Thankjs for all your Help!!

  • “Acceptance” establishes Priority Date (PD) or Received Date (RD), depending on the case type, so it is very important in terms of determining your position in line. For family-based immigration, it can take quite a while for the other steps as shown by the Visa Bulletin.

  • i was just wondering if there are certain penalties if you applyed for citizenship on the day before or the day of your permanent residence expired..due to money issues this would be the case.

  • A green card has expiration date, but permanent residence status doesn’t. Assuming you meant green card, you most likely will need to renew it before you are able to apply for citizenship.

  • sir my recipet number wac 0319952414 my case lintial revew my prority date june 25 2003 how much take time my case will post decision i am frome pakistan

  • My wife visa was denied because they thought the marriage never happened but I was in my former country and present the day of marriage.Since august 20th,2009,my case appears as post decision activity.when can I expect the decision will change?
    I have proof to show that it wasn’t about marriage but because I protested the way the TOGO consular local officer stepped in our private life insulting my wife ‘B” word. Despite I sent inquiries to USCIS and NVC before the application was sent to USCIS.
    2/When a son who is not following his mother to US DNA testing is required for a visa interview?

  • The above prtition have been approved. we have sent the oriinal visa petition to the department of state NATIONAL visa Center NVC 32 Rochester Avenue portsmouth NH 03801 2909. nvc processes all approved immigrant visa petition that need consular action.

  • My wife denied visa just consular suspects fake mar rage.At the moment,she is pregnant expecting a baby in April i inform uscis but got answer long ?

  • I am the IV Visa applicant in USA from Bangladesh.My case in DHS for revocation because i had not substitute sponsor. Now I am ready to replace a new substitute
    sponsor to continue proses my case.

    please help me which department will help me to proses
    my case.

    with best

    Shahadat Hossain

  • I am the IV Visa applicant in USA from Bangladesh.My case in DHS for revocation because i had no substitute sponsor that time. Now I am ready to replace a new substitute sponsor to continue proses my case.

    please help me which department will help me to proses my case.

    with best

    Shahadat Hossain

  • hi im from brother apply me and my family in visa category F4
    my case number is SKO2009xxxxx[deleted by IR] my priority date is 31 march 2008
    i want to know how long does it take to go in usa

  • hi, i am from Pakistan, my priority date, 30 JULY 2002 with Preference Category F4, and case number is xxx[deleted by IRB], i want to know about my status.


  • Hey Guys on my post decision activity it says (On March 15, 2010, we mailed a notice to you reaffirming the approval of this case and returned the case to the Department of State for visa processing. For more information, please contact them directly.) and i recently recieved a letter saying my case has been recently complete and send to the embassy/cosnlutae but my priority date 2005 already 6 years so what does this mean when does the date become current nd how long will it take from here on to get my visa?

  • I tried to put in my receipt number but it says that my case doesnt exist??? i put in everything except the (-) but still nothing. do i call or am i too early. i got it about a week ago.

  • Hi Dennis, I have the same emailed from USCIS that:

    On July 23, 2009, we mailed you a notice that we have approved this I130 IMMIGRANT PETITION FOR RELATIVE, FIANCE(E), OR ORPHAN.

    We received letter from NVC there is Case number: MNL******* something on it. our priority date is 2007 and its like 3 years. When I check my case status its post-decision activity. I have the same question with dennis.

  • Dennis/Cathy,

    Your cases are now with the Department of State (embassy/consulate), thus their status will not show up in the USCIS system.

    If your priority date is current (check the visa bulletin), you should hear from the consulate where your immigrant visa application is being processed.

  • lorena perez
    You don’t need an update green card to apply to become a citizen, my wife apply and her green card expired 7 years ago. Good luck!

  • hi im from brother apply me and my family in visa category F4
    my priority date is 31 march 2008
    i want to know how long does it take to go in usa

  • Please, I will like to know about my children’s status case, because I sent all the paper that you request, and I don’t receive any answer yet.
    Thank you, and I wait for your answer.
    Santos Toribio

  • My brother in law filled a family petition for my wife and our family back to 2001. The application was approved back to 2005. Her status online is post activity. Do you know for how many more years we have to wait?

    Thank you and your response is greatly appreciate.


  • nvc case number ISL […] RECEIPT NUMBER WAC […] my sister filled a family petition june 25 2003 july 22 2009 APPROVAL NOTICE SECTION SISTER OR BROTHER OF US CITIZEN 4 INA

  • Make it simple for reviewers to give feedback and approve designs.
    Manage all your current proofs and their status at a glance.
    Better collaboration by sharing and discussing comments online.
    Group multiple versions of a proof for easy comparison and checking.
    Deliver greater value and improved time to market for demanding clients.

  • Hi, maby someone will know how long does it take to finalize sponsoring of the parent from initial review? I received letter from that says they received payment of $ 355. It was on April, now it’s August and I nothings going on. Is it always takes that long? Thanks…

  • I got an approval notice on April 2010 re my initial I130 application which stated my application was approved. I then follow up with a call in September to find out when my file would be sent to the NVC. I got an email from the USCIS stating that they have requested my documents from the National Records Division and upon receipt it will be sent to the NVC. On Oct 5 I got another email stating my documents are in the Acceptance status and is at the California service center. I am so confused as to what exactly is going on right now. Can your approval be taken away and you place in the back of the line again. Is this possible? I called the California service center and the agent told me to call the NVC……worried.

  • If the case status of sister filing for brother, is changed to initial review from acceptance about august 2010, how much time it takes to go to final interview date?
    what does september 1st, 2006 indicate in the USCIS visa processing time for F4 category? how is it different from the dates on current visa bulletin?

  • I am a Mexican citizen married to a U.S. citizen that filed an I-130 & a waiver. My appointment was in Ciudad Juarez in December 2009, where i presented these forms & paid for them, I was told that due to my deportation, they would have to review the FBI files, & that would take around 15 months. I have yet to receive a response as we are still under the time frame, but I am unable to view the status of my case on the website, does this mean anything? Or should I just keep waiting?

  • I mailed the I-130 application package on Oct. 25, 2010. I got the receipt number one week later. One month later, I tried to input my receipt # at the case tracking system. It still says that my case doesn’t exist.

  • for whom case doesn’t exist

    please write the case number letter by letter don’t take it by copy paste


  • Hi There,
    How long does it take for a decision to be made when additional documents (evidence) have been submitted. The additional documents were requested after two interviews. The case in question is adjustment of Status to permanent residence.
    Thank you in advance for your quick reply. Happy holidays

  • hey there!

    Can anyone can help me out with my case ?

    Question is,

    How can I check my case status of my ISL Number, Im not asking about
    wac Number ?

    I do know about this website is by U.S.C.I.S

    On this Website i can search only my WAC Number
    but My Case is update & processed & approved.
    Now Im searching for the website to get updates.

    Please if anyone can help me to search your Case Status by ISL Case Number.

    Then Please Please E-mail me on [email address deleted by IR]

  • dear sir/madam

    i like if the uscis can send my case back to the nvc ,and to the us embassy in amman by dhl or usp post for faster servise thanks alot,that in case if the approved,i dont mind to pay any extra fees for that

  • i would like to know if the uscis approve my case,if the consular at the us embassy authorized to send back for thirs review.

    note ; my case at the uscis for third rview now

  • I am a honest peaceable Congolese who granted normally the asylum status since April 2003. I had to work hard to bring my six kids in 2005 and when it was possible to pay the fees, after assisting first my two oldest daughter to get their green cards, for my wife and myself, we applied for green card in June 2009 for me and September 2009 for my wife […deleted by IR]. In June 2010 we submitted the prove of evidence requested to proceed our cases. We had to wait for 60 days to get the decision. We are tending to almost 2 years now. This January our first daughter already permanent resident went back home to be married, we didn’t go with her. Next month our second daughter […deleted by IR] will be married in Congo, please we need our green cards to celebrate that event with her. It’s very sad and painful as parent when we cannot be with our daughter the best day of her life.
    Best regards.
    […deleted by IR]

  • As you change the procedure to check my status I’m unable to see where are we now with this cases. Can you please help us?

  • hi! my stataus online at uscis website is on a post decision activity and it says like this :On February 7, 2011, we mailed you a notice that we have approved this I129F PETITION FOR FIANCE(E). Please follow any instructions on the notice. If you move before you receive the notice, call customer service at 1-800-375-5283

    i would like to know that how long would it take get a visa from there?

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