US Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) application processing times can be several months, but the expected wait can vary from office to office. Fortunately, you can check the status of your citizenship application online or by phone.
If you don’t get the information you need, you can request a case update online, or even make an appointment to meet in person with a USCIS representative at the field office nearest you. An immigration lawyer may be able to help you get a delayed application moving again.
USCIS has a list of estimated processing times, updated approximately every month, for different offices and applications.
Click the “Field Office” drop-down menu to select the office that is processing your application. If you don’t know which office is processing your application, see “What’s the status of my case?” below.
The field office status page will normally show you the length of time it takes to process a form once the office has received it—for example, “5 months.” If the office is running behind schedule, you’ll see the date of the most recent case it processed when the office updated the status page.
You can check the status of your specific case by entering your application receipt number. The processing office will mail you the receipt within 30 days of receiving your application. The receipt also tells you which field office is processing your application. Note that the processing office is different than the address you mailed your application to.
You can also call USCIS’ National Customer Service Center to get a case status on an application you filed electronically, or for which you have already received a receipt number.
The receipt number is 10 digits, preceded by a 3-letter prefix. Enter the complete 13-character code, letters and then numbers, with no hyphens.
If any other symbol, such as an asterisk, appears in your receipt number, you may include the symbols.
When you sign up for an account on the USCIS website, from the same page on which you can check case status, you can get case updates by e-mail or text message. Just click “Sign Up” to get started.
If your case should have been processed already, according to the estimated processing times on the USCIS website, but you haven’t heard anything, you can request an update here. You can also report not receiving mail from USCIS, such as a notice or document you expected to receive.
Don’t file for a case update unless the estimated processing time has passed, and:
InfoPass appointments are for applicants who cannot find the information they need about their pending application on the USCIS website or through the National Customer Service Center. Make an InfoPass appointment at the field office nearest you.
If USCIS takes an extraordinarily long time to process your case, you have responded fully to all requests for additional information, and an InfoPass appointment does not get the case moving, you may want to consult an immigration lawyer.
Lawyers can help you communicate clearly with USCIS and even file what’s called a writ of mandamus lawsuit if the delays are unusual and unwarranted.