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Does USCIS receipt # mean that application is valid?

San Jose, CA |

Hi all,

I sent out an application sponsoring my mother's green card (I am a US citizen) for concurrent filing of I-485 and I-130 (as she is in USA on Visitor visa). USCIS sent me an email of acceptance with a receipt number which can track the progress on USCIS web site.

1. Does this receipt number mean that application was valid with all forms were filled in as appropriate?
2. My mother can now stay in the USA till we receive the outcome of the above application?

Thanks folks in advance,

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Best answer

    It's important to read everything USCIS provides you. The receipt is simply that- a receipt, notice that USCIS has the application and that the application itself is not so incomplete that they need to send it back for the initial required evidence. The fee was accepted, forms signed and completed etc. The application will now be adjudicated. The receipt notice doesn't mean that you will not have to submit additional evidence in the future.

    In the most typical situation someone with a pending application can remain in the country but there is no guarantee of that- as each case is entirely fact specific. Overstaying her visa isn't a problem generally if you are filing for her as an immediate relative- but technically anhyone is subject to removal when their authorized stay ends. But in practice she would not likely be ordered removed (which can only happen in an immigration court) where she has a pathway to attain relief from removal based on what you are filing for her. But if someone for example crossed the border without inspection, while you may be a citizen entitled to file a visa petition for her- that person would still be barred, despite that filing, and be subject to removal- absent a host of other exceptions. One being out of status and one being able to attain relief via adjustment of status or other viable forms of relief are two different things.

    So it all really depends and no one can answer your question fully unless they know the actual present status of your mother. What is clear is that in real world practice typically/generally speaking---with proof that one has a pending filing for lawful permanent resident status- despite overstaying a visa or being otherwise out of status and removable- that pending application is generally acceptable to an immigration court to not hastily order someone removed. In short they give you time to sort your case out. Also the pending application evidenced by the receipt can also make ICE be a little less likely to order someone to appear before an immigration judge- which would initiate a removal proceeding. This happening in the event that she had the bad luck to run into ICE while awaiting her final determination. So in most cases--- there shouldn't be a problem for someone in your mother's situation. And certainly if her visa is not expired -then it's even less likely that she'd have a problem- despite technically violating the terms of the non-immigrant visitor visa by deciding to remain permanently in the US. In a very literal sense-- no one in the US with a pending application for a 'green card' can have a valid visitor visa because -technically speaking- the act of filing to remain here permanently violates the intent of her visitor visa at the moment she signed the I 485. In practice though - none of that is actually too important ...and (way too) long story short- someone in her position should be fine.

    One final thing--- the receipt itself has absolutely no bearing on the final determination of the petition and application as filed. They will be adjudicated on their merits-- proof of relationship to you (I 130) and determination of your mother's overall 'admissibility' (I 485)- which again is entirely fact specific. Good luck.

    This answer should not be construed as being legal advice....


  2. The receipt is an indication that the application was received by USCIS, that the fee or fee waiver was included, and that it is now in the queue for examination.

    Legal disclaimer: The statement above is provided by CC Abbott is based on general assistance and not intended to be a legal opinion because not all the facts are provided. The person requesting information and all others reading the answer should retain an attorney who is permitted by the state bar within the jurisdiction who can examine the complete facts and provide a legal opinion on your case. All information provided in the above answer and other information provided by CC Abbott does not create an attorney/client relationship within any state of Federal law.


  3. The receipt merely confirms acceptance for filing. You will receive a Request for Additional information if the Immigration Service needs additional information to adjudicate the case. Your mother should have no problems staying if she was in status at the time of filing her application and if so, should actually stay at least until she received a travel document for which you should have applied.


  4. Good question. A receipt means the application meets all basic technical requirements but does not mean it will be approved. The applicant can remain generally unless there is a prior removal order or some criminal offense.

    Good luck!

    (408) 457-1549 Legal disclaimer: The statement above is general in nature and should not be deemed legal counsel, as not all factual issues are known. Participants should retain an immigration defense lawyer to review their own legal matter. The information provided does not create an attorney/client relationship.

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