How to Check Your Green Card Application Status


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


Blank visa application


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”).

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.

IMPORTANT: 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, the National Visa Center (NVC) will take over processing your application 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 first step of the process. 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.


Boundless currently helps couples apply for a marriage-based green card. For a flat rate of $750, Boundless helps you complete your entire green card application — including all required forms and supporting documents, independent attorney review, and customer support — from the moment you file until you receive a decision from the U.S. government. Learn more, or check your eligibility for free.


Not sure if you qualify for a marriage-based green card?
Start by checking your eligibility.


How to Check Green Card Status Online


Checking online is by far the easiest way to track the status of your green card application. But the right place to look depends on whether you applied from within or outside the United States.

IMPORTANT: 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

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

Applying outside the United States

  1. Find your “Immigrant Visa Case Number.” (See “Case Numbers” below.)
  2. Visit the NVC’s “Consular Electronic Application Center” (CEAC).
  3. Click “Check My Visa Application Status.”
  4. In the first field, select “IMMIGRANT VISA (IV)” as the “Visa Application Type.”
  5. In the next field, enter your “Immigrant Visa Case Number.”
  6. 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).
  7. Click “Submit.”

About green card tracking numbers

Receipt Numbers

For each form you submit to USCIS, you will receive a unique code called a “Receipt 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.

IMPORTANT: 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, 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.


Boundless stays with you until the green card finish line, helping you keep on top of interview preparation, follow-on forms, and every other important milestone along your immigration journey. Learn more, or check your eligibility for a marriage-based green card.


How to Check Green Card Status by Mail


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 name and contact information of the “agent” whom you wish to represent you to the NVC)

IMPORTANT: Has your physical address or mailing address changed since you applied for a 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.


How to change your address

Applying within the United States Applying outside the United States
Update your address online through USCIS

OR

Refer to USCIS guidelines for submitting an address change by mail

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)

Boundless takes the hassle out of shipping your green card application — your complete application package arrives at your doorstep, ready for you to sign and drop back in the mail to the correct government address. We even provide the envelope and cover the shipping fee. Learn more, or start your application today.


How to Check Green Card Status by Email


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:


With Boundless, you get an independent immigration attorney who will answer all of your legal questions and review your entire marriage-based green card application. Learn more, or check your eligibility for a marriage-based green card.


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.


Applying within the United States

You can schedule an in-person “InfoPass” appointment at a USCIS field office — at least until the end of this fiscal year (September 30, 2019), unless your USCIS field office has already stopped accepting self-scheduled InfoPass appointments.

It’s usually much easier, however, to inquire by phone or to use the USCIS online case status tracker if all you want is an update. In-person appointments are usually only worthwhile if you have specific questions about your pending green card application, as well.


How to self-schedule an InfoPass appointment at a domestic USCIS field office

  1. Visit the USCIS InfoPass page.
  2. Click the button labeled “Inside the U.S.”
  3. Enter your ZIP code, and click “Search.”
  4. Select the USCIS field office you’d like to visit (there may be only one field office near you).
  5. Click “See Available Appointments.” (If no appointments are available, check back the next day. If the field office no longer accepts self-scheduled InfoPass appointments, that information will be displayed under “Important office information.”)
  6. Choose an available appointment date and time slot. (If you can’t find a good date and time, check back the next day.)
  7. Enter your information, including your:
    • Name
    • Birthdate
    • Email address (optional)
    • Phone number
    • USCIS Receipt Number
    • A-Number (if any)
    • Number of people (including yourself) who will attend the appointment

Print your appointment notice, and bring it to your appointment. (If you can’t print it, write down the “Confirmation Number” and “PIN Number” to print the notice another time.)


How to self-schedule an InfoPass appointment at an international USCIS field office

IMPORTANT: 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). All international USCIS field offices will also shut down by the end of this fiscal year, September 30, 2019.

  1. Follow steps 1 and 2 above, but instead choose the button labeled “Outside the U.S.”
  2. Select your country.
  3. Click “See Available Appointments.”
  4. Select the reason why you need an appointment (if a status check for the I-485 form is not available, try one of the other methods covered in this guide).
  5. Follow steps 6–8 above.

How to check on your green card status in person after September 30, 2019 (or if your local USCIS office has stopped accepting self-scheduled appointments)

  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.

With Boundless, you get the confidence of an independent immigration attorney who will review all of your application materials and answer any questions you have — for no additional fee. Learn more about what you get with Boundless, or check your eligibility for a marriage-based green card.


How to Check Green Card Status by Phone


Applying 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:

  • Your USCIS Receipt Number
  • Your A-Number, or “Alien Registration Number” (if any)
  • Your Name
  • Your birthdate

Applying 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:


With a secure Boundless account, you can keep all of your information securely in one place. Plus, you get full customer support throughout the marriage-based green card process. Your own Customer Success Advocate will send helpful reminders at every step so you never have to worry about missing important milestones. Learn more, or check your eligibility for free.


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

For 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.

For 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 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
  • Other relative
  • A friend
  • Your attorney
  • An immigration professional
  • Other 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.)

Information you’ll need:

  • 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 marriage-based green card process. Boundless will guide you through to the end. Learn more, or check if you qualify for a marriage-based green card.


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

  1. Go to this USCIS webpage.
  2. Select “Case outside normal processing time.”
  3. Fill out the form below “Case Information.”
  4. Check the box indicating whether you or your spouse (if any) are a current or former member of the military (if applicable).
  5. 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 (that is, 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

  1. 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.)
  2. If you need to submit anything that’s missing, carefully follow these instructions.
  3. 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:

If all of this sounds confusing, don’t worry! With Boundless, you get the peace of mind that comes with having an independent immigration attorney who answers your confidential questions and reviews your entire marriage-based green card application — for no additional fee. And we’ll stay with you until you get your green card. Ready to start? Learn more about what you get with Boundless, or check your eligibility now.