How to Check Your Immigration Status: A Comprehensive Guide

Navigating U.S. immigration procedures can be complex and overwhelming, especially given the frequent changes in laws and regulations. Whether you’re awaiting a green card, need to confirm your eligibility for certain benefits, or are simply curious about your status, understanding how to check your immigration status is essential.

This detailed guide provides you with step-by-step instructions on various methods to determine your immigration status, ensuring clarity and peace of mind throughout the process.

What is Immigration Status in the US?

Immigration status refers to the designation given to a foreign national regarding their rights and limitations within the U.S. The category of immigration status determines whether individuals can work, study, stay permanently, or must leave the country. Here are the primary categories:

  • Citizen: This includes individuals born in the U.S. or those who have become naturalized after three to five years as permanent residents. Citizens enjoy all rights, including voting and protection from deportation.
  • Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder): These individuals have been granted authorization to live and work in the U.S. on a permanent basis but do not have all the rights of U.S. citizens, such as voting.
  • Temporary Resident: This status applies to individuals who are in the U.S. for a limited period for specific reasons, such as education (student visas) or temporary work (work visas).
  • Undocumented Immigrant: Individuals in this category are in the U.S. without legal authorization, which makes them subject to deportation.

Understanding your specific immigration status can help you navigate your rights and responsibilities effectively within U.S. borders.

Who Can Check Their Immigration Status?

The ability to check immigration status is available to anyone who has filed an application or petition with USCIS, including:

  • Visa applications
  • Visa extensions
  • Change of status applications
  • Green card applications

Specifically, individuals who have filed the following forms can check their status:

  • Form I-140 (Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker)
  • Form I-485 (Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status)
  • Form I-765 (Application for Employment Authorization)

This ability ensures that applicants can stay informed about the progress of their applications and prepare for any additional steps required in the process.

Preparing to Check Your Immigration Status

To check your status, you first need to gather necessary information, most importantly, your receipt number. This number is crucial as it is unique to your application and used by USCIS to track its progress. It consists of 13 characters beginning with three letters (e.g., SRC, LIN, WAC) followed by 10 numbers. You can find this number on any official correspondence from USCIS.

How to Check Your Immigration Status Online

For convenience, USCIS offers an online service to check the status of your application. Here’s how to use it:

  1. Access the tool: Visit the USCIS Case Status Online page.
  2. Enter your receipt number: Carefully input the 13-character receipt number associated with your application.
  3. Review the status: After clicking “Check Status,” the page will display the current status of your application, any steps you need to take, and what to expect next.

How to Check My Green Card Status

To specifically check the status of a green card application, the steps are similar:

  1. Go to the USCIS Case Status Online page.
  2. Input your unique receipt number.
  3. Click “Check Status” to see the latest updates concerning your green card application.

Alternative Methods for Checking Your Immigration Status

By Mail

If you prefer or need to use mail, you can send a status request to the USCIS office that is handling your case. Include your full name, date of birth, receipt number, and any other relevant information to assist USCIS in locating your file. This method is slower, so patience is necessary.

In Person

For those who prefer face-to-face interaction, USCIS offices offer in-person appointments. You can schedule an appointment through the USCIS Contact Center to discuss your case with an officer directly.

By Phone

Alternatively, you can call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 to inquire about your status over the phone. Be prepared with your receipt number and personal information to verify your identity.

The Bottom Line

Checking your immigration status is a critical step in managing your life in the U.S. This guide aims to simplify the process by providing clear, step-by-step instructions on various methods to ascertain your status. Whether online, by mail, in person, or by phone, you can actively monitor and respond to your immigration case. 

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Frequently Asked Questions about immigration status

What questions are asked for immigration?

Officers can ask a vast range of questions, but here are some examples:

  1. How, where, and when did you meet your spouse?
  2. Where did your first date take place?
  3. How long did were you with your spouse before getting married?
  4. When and where were you married?
  5. Did you go on a honeymoon?
  6. What is your spouse’s current job?


What are the steps in the immigration process?

Steps for Consular Processing:

  1. Identify Your Basis to Immigrate: Confirm the reason you qualify for immigration, such as family, employment, or humanitarian protection.
  2. Submit the Immigrant Petition: Lodge the necessary petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
  3. Await Decision on Your Petition: Wait for USCIS to process and decide on your petition.
  4. Receive Notification from the National Visa Center: After your petition is approved, the National Visa Center will contact you with next steps.
  5. Attend Your Scheduled Appointment: Go to the U.S. embassy or consulate for your visa interview.
  6. Inform the National Visa Center of Any Changes: Update the NVC with any changes in your circumstances.
  7. Once Your Visa is Approved: Follow the instructions provided after your visa approval.
  8. Collect Your Green Card: Receive your Green Card upon arrival in the U.S. or after adjusting your status if you are already in the U.S.

What is the final step in the immigration process?

The ultimate step is for the foreign national to either apply for an immigrant visa at a U.S. embassy or consulate if abroad, or to adjust their status to that of a Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) if they are legally in the United States.

What is the period of immigration?

The ‘period of immigration’ is defined as the time frame during which an immigrant initially acquired the status of a landed immigrant or permanent resident.

What is immigration basic?

Immigration fundamentally involves individuals moving into a new country with the intent to settle there permanently.

How do you adjust immigration status?

Steps for Adjustment of Status:

  1. Determine Eligibility for a Green Card: First, check if you qualify to apply for a Green Card.
  2. File an Immigrant Petition: You or someone on your behalf must submit an immigrant petition if needed.
  3. Check Visa Availability: Ensure a visa is available for your category if required.
  4. Submit Form I-485: File Form I-485 to apply for Lawful Permanent Resident status.
  5. Attend Your Application Support Center Appointment: Go to your biometrics appointment as scheduled.
  6. Attend Your Interview: Participate in an interview if it is required as part of your application process.


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