If you have filed an application for your U.S. citizenship, you will probably want to check your immigration case status from time to time. Thankfully, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has upgraded their technological services over the past few years. As an immigrant, you can check your case status online very easily. You can also track your submission by cell phone or text message too.
Using the Online System
To use the online site, you will need the application’s receipt number. This 13-character number is used on any correspondence sent to you from USCIS. These receipt numbers always start with a three letter combination like “EAC” or “SRC” followed by a dash. You must ignore the dashes when putting the receipt number in the boxes on the website. All additional characters, including the asterisks, need to be included if they are on the notice and are considered part of the receipt number. If you don’t have this number, you can call the Customer Service center for help. They are available at 1-800-375-5283.
Creating an Online Account
It’s significant for anyone who wants consistent updates from USCIS to create an account with the agency. This will ensure you get up-to-the-minute case status information. Once more, the registration is accessible to USCIS customers and their council. Another new feature that USCIS is offering is the e-Request. E-Request is an internet tool that allows you to place an inquiry with the agency. You can create a review on selected forms that are outside of their posted processing times. An inquiry can also be created for a notice you received from the center that had a typographical error.
The Nine Steps of the Application Process
If you are wondering what USCIS means, it is an acronym that stands for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. When processing an application, this government agency utilizes nine steps. All applications go through each of these steps as part of the approval/denial process. Not every petition will take a great deal of time to go through the nine steps. However, the steps are as follows:
•Acceptance of Initial Applications
•Review of Application
•Request for Additional Evidence
•Review Evidence Received from Response
•Testing and Interview Phase
•Agency Makes a Decision
•Post Decision Activity
•Taking Oath at Ceremony
•Card and Documentation Production
When utilizing the online application system to check your immigration case status, you can see how far your petition has progressed in the system. The system will indicate how many steps are left before you reach the final goal. The system gives you the option of registering and receiving automatic case status updates through your email provider.
Signing Up for Text Messages
If you prefer to be notified by text, you need to sign up for text message delivery. Even your lawyer can register for this service to get updates on your petition. The texts will only be sent to a U.S. based cellular phone, and standard messaging rates will apply.
Going to a Local Office
If you need to provide additional documentation or want to check the status of your application in person, you need to go to a local office. Before going to an office, you need to know what kind of immigration office you need. USCIS handles many different services for immigrants, thus, they have about six different types of offices. They have field offices, international offices, administrative appeals offices, and application support centers.
A field office handles interviews. They can help with some customer service related questions, but largely they can only offer what is already online or can be obtained by phone. These offices are not much help in providing detailed information.
The international offices are run in numerous countries across the world. This is very helpful for those who are outside the country when they file.
The administrative appeals office reviews all decisions made by the agency. They look for accuracy as well as for any issues. They double-check the immigration laws, policies, and regulations. They ensure compliance with current legal standards.
The application support center is responsible for collecting biometric information. Mostly, they do fingerprint services and have nothing to do with direct applications.
The National Benefits Center is a branch that supports the USCIS field office. They prepare applications for adjudication and also conduct interviews. They mostly file forms I-485 and N-400. They deal with both green card and citizenship applications. They were created in 2001 and the first office was in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. They help to keep cases moving and prevent backlog.
Becoming a U.S. Citizen
There is nothing more nerve-wracking than facing the immigration board for approval to become a citizen. With recent tightening of U.S. borders, immigration is subject to change. If you already have an application with the agency and want to check your immigration case status, there are many ways to follow your case. It may seem like a long process, but it is worth the wait.