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How to Check Your Green Card Application Status

All the possible ways to find out where you are in the green card process

How can I track my green card status?

You can check the status of your green card application in several ways:

Your options depend on whether you’re applying from within the United States using Form I-485 (officially called the “Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status”) or from outside the United States using Form DS-260 (officially called the “Immigrant Visa Electronic Application”). 

Please note, government policies relating to in-person appointments have changed since the pandemic (more on that below).

A sample permanent resident card (green card)

You can also track the progress of your application before filing either of these forms (the green process consists of multiple steps requiring different forms, not just the I-485 and DS-260).

In this guide, you’ll also learn how to register for electronic updates from the U.S. government, as well as how to inquire about a delayed green card application.


The green card process begins with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for everyone. If you’re applying from outside the United States, however, once your Form I-130 (officially called the “Petition for Alien Relative”) or Form I-140 (officially called the “Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers”) has been approved by USCIS, the National Visa Center (NVC) will take over processing your application. If you’d like to check on the status of your I-130 or I-140, follow the steps for those applying from within the United States below until your application has been transferred to the NVC.

Get a tailored visa plan for every step of the green card process, from form filling to application filing, to interview.


How to Check Green Card Status Online

Checking online is by far the easiest way to track the status of your green card application, and it’s the recommended first step according to USCIS. The right place to look depends on whether you applied from within or outside the United States.

Boundless Tip

USCIS uses the phrase “Receipt Number” and Green Card Number interchangeably. However, this sometimes leads to confusion for applicants, because after applying for a green card, you also get a “USCIS Number” (also called an “A#,” Alien Registration Number, or “A-Number.” To add more confusion, for applicants who apply for green cards outside the U.S., your USCIS Form I-130 or Form I-40 are processed and you’re moved to the NVC phase of the process, you’ll also receive an NVC case number (Immigrant Visa Case Number).

Applying within the United States

  • Find your “Receipt Number.” (See “Receipt Numbers” below.)
  • Visit USCIS’ “Case Status Online” tracker.
  • Enter your Receipt Number.
  • Click “Check Status.”

Applying outside the United States

  • Find your “Immigrant Visa Case Number.” (See “Case Numbers” below.)
  • Visit the NVC’s “Consular Electronic Application Center” (CEAC).
  • Click “Check My Visa Application Status.”
  • In the first field, select “IMMIGRANT VISA (IV)” as the “Visa Application Type.”
  • In the next field, enter your “Immigrant Visa Case Number.”
  • In the last field, you should see a computer-generated code. Enter the code you see. (This is used to verify that you’re a human, not a bot).
  • Click “Submit.”

Boundless has helped more than 100,000 people reach their immigration goals. We’ll be your visa planning partner from beginning to end. Learn more about what Boundless can do to help.

Where do I find my tracking numbers?

Receipt numbers

For each form you submit to USCIS, you will receive a unique code called a “Receipt Number,” also known as a green card number that consists of 3 letters and 10 numbers, such as ABC1234567891. Look for it in the notification letter, Form I-797C (officially called the “Notice of Action”), that you received when USCIS accepted your Form I-485.

Boundless Tip

When entering your receipt number, leave out the dashes/hyphens (-) and spaces but do include other characters, such as asterisks (*), if they’re part of your receipt number.

Case numbers

Like USCIS Receipt Numbers, “Case Numbers” also contain 3 letters followed by 10 numbers (e.g., XYZ1234567891) but are issued by the NVC. You can find your Case Number in the notification letter or email you received from the NVC. You usually receive that notification after USCIS has accepted your Form I-130 and forwarded your information to the NVC.

Important: If you live outside the United States

If you live outside the United States, you’ll need to contact NVC at least once per year to avoid having your green card application “terminated.” When that happens, you’ll need to restart the process and pay the government filing fees a second time.

Let Boundless be your immigration go-to. We will guide you through interview preparationfollow-on forms, and every other important milestone along the way. Learn more about what Boundless can do to help.

How to Check Green Card Status by Mail

Applying from within OR outside the United States

To track your green card status by mail, you must first sign up for a Case Status Online account, which will provide you case updates, and your tracking number from the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) tracking number. Additionally, you can register for Informed Delivery through USPS, which allows you to:

  • Set up email and text alerts with the postal service
  • Provide specific instructions for your USPS mail carrier
  • Automatically track any package or mail you’re expecting (including your green card)

Make sure to provide a reliable mailing address and check your physical mailbox regularly. The U.S. government automatically mails all official notifications to the mailing address you provided on either:

  • Form I-130 or Form I-140
  • Form I-485 if you applied from within the United States
  • Form DS-261 (officially called the “Online Choice of Address and Agent”) if you applied from outside the United States (this form is where you entered the name and contact information of the “agent” whom you wish to represent you to the NVC)

Has your physical address changed since you applied for your green card?

If you move to a new address, be sure to update the government within 10 days so you don’t miss any important updates about your green card application:

If you applied from within the United States
Update your address online through USCIS or refer to USCIS guidelines for submitting an address change by mail.

If you applied from outside the United States
Send a message to the NVC with your new address, or call 1-603-334-0700 (expect to wait more than 30 minutes on hold)

What happens if USPS says my green card was delivered, but I didn’t get it?

USCIS mails your green card to the address you provided on your application, so if USPS tracking information shows that it was delivered but you haven’t received it, contact your local post office immediately.

How to Check Green Card Status by Email

Quick tip: get updates automatically

The steps outlined in the table below are for quick status updates only. To learn how to receive more regular updates — including complete application history and next steps — see “How to Get Electronic Updates” below.

Applying within the United States

You do not have the option to inquire about your application via email.

Applying outside the United States

You may submit questions about the status of your application to the NVC using this online form, and they will respond through email.

Information you’ll need:

How to Check Green Card Status in Person

Applying outside the United States

You do not have the option to inquire about your application in person. In-person appointments outside the United States are limited to certain types of services. You therefore may not have the option to schedule an appointment to check on the status of your green card application at a specific location, but that information will be displayed under “Important office information” once you get to the page where you must select a country (see below).

Applying within the United States

In 2019, USCIS began phasing out the online scheduling system “InfoPass” for select field offices and as of 2022, InfoPass is no longer available for scheduling in-person appointments within the U.S. Instead, you can check your case status online and track processing times by field office.


In-person services at domestic USCIS field offices are now reserved for applicants who require services unavailable by phone or email. If the online tools don’t provide the information you’re looking for, you can call USCIS Contact Center and request an appointment. Note that USCIS evaluates in-person appointments on a case-by-case basis for extenuating circumstances, such as emergency travel documents, or if an applicant needs proof of their immigration status to work or travel.

How to check on your green card status in person:

  1. Call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283. (If you’re deaf or hard of hearing or have a speech impairment, call TTY 1-800-767-1833.)
  2. Choose the option to speak with a “Tier 1” representative:
    • If the Tier 1 representative is not able to assist you, you’ll be transferred to a callback service that will put you in line to speak with a “Tier 2” representative who will need to call you later.
    • If the Tier 2 representative is not able to assist you, they will help you schedule an in-person appointment at your nearest USCIS field office.

Boundless can help you avoid common pitfalls in the immigration process with unlimited support from our team of immigration experts and independent analysis of processing times for USCIS every month. Learn more.

How to Check Green Card Status by Phone

Applying from within the United States

Call the USCIS Contact Center: 1-800-375-5283. If you’re deaf or hard of hearing or have a speech impairment, call TTY 1-800-767-1833.

Information you’ll need:

Applying from outside the United States

Call the NVC: +1-603-334-0700. Please check the NVC website for the agency’s most current hours of operation. Be prepared to wait at least 30 minutes on hold, due to high call volumes.

Information you’ll need:

The U.S. Immigration system is constantly changing its policies, which can be complex and confusing. Boundless works with former USCIS officers and immigration attorneys to stay up to date at all times.  Learn more about what Boundless can do to help.

How to Get Electronic Updates

When you apply for a green card, the U.S. government will automatically notify you by mail once they’ve accepted your form. You may also request receipt notifications via email and/or text (if available).

Applying within the United States

Get a one-time update that USCIS accepted your form

Submit Form G-1145 (officially called the “e-Notification of Application/Petition Acceptance”) to USCIS. This will allow you to receive an email and/or text alert.

Get continuous updates and access to your application history and next steps

Create a USCIS Online Account, accept the “Terms and Conditions,” and choose your preferred contact method: email, text, or both.

In addition to receiving automatic updates, you can visit your account dashboard at any time to view your entire application history and current green card status.

Applying outside the United States

For continuous updates about actions from the NVC

Complete Form DS-261 online to designate an “agent” who will receive automatic updates (both via postal mail and email) and may inquire about your application with the NVC. Your agent can be any of the following people:

  • Yourself
  • Your sponsoring relative or employer
  • Another relative
  • A friend
  • Your attorney
  • An immigration professional
  • Another person you trust

Be sure to choose an agent with reliable contact information (including mailing address, email address, and phone number).

For access to your application history and next steps

Log in to CEAC. You’ll be prompted to enter a code (to verify that you’re a human) and your application information. (See below.)

  • NVC Case Number
  • Invoice ID from the bills that the NVC sent you. (Some people do not receive an Invoice ID and will instead be prompted to enter the birthdate of the person seeking the green card.

Filing your application package is only the first step of the family-based and marriage-based green card process. Boundless is your visa planning partner from beginning to end. Get started today!

How to Check on a Delayed Green Card Application

The U.S. government provides wait time estimates for those who apply from within the United States and a Visa Bulletin for those who apply from outside the United States. If your I-485 form has exceeded the processing time at your USCIS field office, or if you haven’t heard from the NVC in more than 2 months since their last update, you can take action:

Applying within the United States

  • Go to this USCIS webpage.
  • Select “Case outside normal processing time.”
  • Fill out the form below “Case Information.”
  • Check the box indicating whether you or your spouse (if any) are a current or former member of the military (if applicable).
  • Click “Submit.”

Information needed from you or your sponsoring relative or employer:

  • Form number and type (family or employment)
  • USCIS Receipt Number
  • Date your form was filed (when it was accepted by USCIS)
  • Name
  • Birthdate
  • A-Number (if any)
  • Mailing address
  • A description of the last update you received from the U.S. government
  • Email address (if you’d like a confirmation of this request

Applying outside the United States

  • Verify that you have paid all fees and submitted all requested financial and civil documents required by the NVC. (The NVC will stop processing your application if you’re missing any requested items.)
  • If you need to submit anything that’s missing, carefully follow these instructions.
  • If you submitted all of the required documents, forms, and fees with your original application and have not received any progress updates, contact the NVC in one of two ways:

No matter how unique or complex your situation might seem, Boundless can help you apply faster, easier, and more confidently. Get started today!

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