If you have ever dreamed of calling the United States home, you will understand the significance of having a green card. This document gives immigrants the legal right to live and work permanently in the U.S. Once you have submitted your application, it’s easy to track the status online or by telephone.
What Information Do I Need?
Once the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has received your application, they will send you Form I-797C, Notice of Action, in the mail. This is your receipt form. The receipt will have a 13-character reference on it comprised of letters, numbers and characters. You will need this receipt number to track the status of your green card application.
Check Your Case Status Online
Navigate to the USCIS webpage Case Status Online. If you already have an account, log on. If you do not have an account, click the Create an Account tab and follow the on-screen instructions. Creating an account is free and it’s the quickest and easiest way to track your case status for all of the petitions you have filed with USCIS. You can also record any address changes so you don’t miss important notifications about your case.
Once registered, enter your 13-digit reference number but without any dashes, but write all the other special characters such as asterisks. From there, click on the Check Status button to review the current status of your application. The information is also available in Spanish; click the Español link located in the upper-right corner of the page.
Can I Check the Status by Telephone?
Yes, if you are in the United States or a U.S. territory, you can check the status of your green card application by calling the USCIS National Customer Service Center at 800-375-5283. Representatives are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST. Outside these hours, you can get access to automated information which may contain details of current processing times.
What Are the Stages of a Green Card Application?
Once you have filed your application and received your receipt, a few things will happen:
- You’ll receive notice for your biometrics services appointment in the mail. This notice tells you where to go to provide your fingerprints, photograph and signature.
- You’ll be invited to attend an interview if USCIS officials determine that one is necessary. You’ll receive notice of the date, time and location of the interview in the mail, and you will need to bring your documents, such as passport, travel documents, proof of legal entry into the U.S. with you when you attend.
- You may be asked to submit additional documents if the USCIS needs more information to determine your eligibility. You will receive a notice telling you what information is needed and the deadline for providing your documents. If you do not respond by the deadline, your application may be denied.
- Case workers will review your application and accept or deny it. You will receive notice of the decision in the mail.
The information you access on your Case Account will show how far your application has traveled along this timeline so you can get an idea of what's going to happen next.
How Long Will It Take to Get My Green Card?
The short answer is, it depends on when and where you filed your application. Each USCIS office has its own processing times – you can check this online at the USCIS Processing Times webpage. From the drop down list, click the type of application you submitted (for example, I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence). Then select your field office. Texas, for example, has recently been taking anywhere from 14 to 48 months to process green card applications.
Read More: How Long Does it Take to Get a Green Card?
- During the green card process applicants must update changes to their personal information by calling USCIS or using the agency's website.
Jayne Thompson earned an LL.B. in Law and Business Administration from the University of Birmingham and an LL.M. in International Law from the University of East London. She practiced in various “Big Law” firms before launching a career as a commercial writer. Her work has appeared on numerous legal blogs including Quittance, Upcounsel and Medical Negligence Experts.