May 5, 2021 | Written By Virginia Jijon-Caamano
Do you have a pending USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) application that you would like to have access to, see the latest pending information on, or download Receipt or Notifications for?
Try going to MyCase to see your case status or try creating an online USCIS personal account and linking your paper application to it! Whether you filed the case on your own or it was filed by an immigration attorney or a credited organization, you can still access details about your case online and in some cases, download notices if you have lost them.
The easiest way to check on the progress of your case is by going to MyCase at Case Status Online - Case Status Search (uscis.gov). All you need is your Receipt Number which you type into the box and press the CHECK STATUS button. Your Receipt Number is found on the top left of any correspondence from USCIS like a Receipt Notice or a Biometrics Appointment Notice:
Anyone can do this, provided they have that Receipt Number. No personal information shows when you check the status, only the latest information about the progress of your case. For example, if your case has been sent and you got a Receipt Notice confirming that the case was accepted, but you haven’t heard from USCIS (or maybe your attorney) for months, you can check to see if any progress has been made, whether an appointment has been set up, or if they need more information. If they are still processing the case, but no appointments or RFEs (Request for Evidence) have been initialed, it will just show this:
On the other hand, if you want to see personal information about your case or you want to be able to download Receipt or Appointment Notices, you may be able to access them if you create a Personal Online USCIS Account.
To create an account, go to the USCIS Online Account signup page: Citizenship and Immigration Services - Sign up for a USCIS Account.
Make sure to use the same email that was entered on your paper application. More details about how to sign up for an account, including a video and step-by-step instructions can be found here: How to Create a USCIS Online Account | USCIS
USCIS takes security seriously. Only you can create an account for your own application. Your attorney or your friend should not have access to your own personal account. Do not give them your password! USCIS makes you go through a 2-step authentication process every time you log in, sending a passcode either through email or a text, so having someone else access your account would be difficult anyway!
Once your account is set up, you can add paper-filed cases to your account. As outlined on Step 13 on the guide mentioned above: “Click on “My Account” and then “Add a paper-filed case” in the drop-down menu. Enter your receipt number, and you can then see your case status and history.”
If you have a paper-filed case and your receipt number begins with “IOE,” you should have received an Online Access Code on a USCIS Account Access Notice when you received on your Receipt Notice. If so, “you can add the case to your account and be able to see case status and history, send secure messages, view notices, upload additional evidence, and respond to Requests for Evidence.”
Many applications can be filed directly from your online USCIS account, or if you have an attorney, they can file the application online and send you a link to your online USCIS account so you can authorize them to file for you and so you can review applications and see your documents and notices. The applications that can currently be filed online include:
USCIS plans on adding more application forms to their online platform, so if you are considering filing for an immigration benefit, you might need an online account in the future!
The advantages of filing online, other than the transparency of being able to log in and see the progress on your case include the security that your case will not be lost or misplaced through the mail, and the added benefit of faster service by USCIS since they receive the application instantaneously and they don’t have to spend time scanning in your information.
Though occasionally glitchy, and somewhat limited in the availability of types of applications, USCIS is modernizing and that is all to the good! Time to join them and encourage them to speed up the effort!
Virginia Jijón-Caamaño is a partner with Parlatore Law Group and practices in the field of immigration law, helping both individual clients, as well as businesses to navigate this constantly evolving area of the law. She assists individual clients in navigating confusing immigration regulations and applications. Her practice entails organizing all types of visa submissions. Virginia works tirelessly to deconstruct complicated immigration options, opportunities, and pitfalls, in order to compile thoroughly documented application packages. She also handles naturalization applications, and DACA work permit renewals. For more about Virginia, click here.
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