USCIS Receipt Delays - FAQ
Last Updated: Oct 12, 2007

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) advises customers that, due to a tremendous increase in the number of applications filed, processing of fee payments and entry of cases into our tracking system is behind schedule. As a result, applicants can expect notices of receipt to be delayed. USCIS is working hard to deal with the increased volume and has published the following frequently asked questions in order to provide additional information to applicants.

Q1: What is the cause of the receipt delay?
A1: The receipt delay was caused by a significant workload increase, in part based upon filings by individuals attempting to beat a planned fee increase and a significant influx of applications associated with visa availability in the Department of State's July 2007 Visa bulletin. This resulted in an influx of applications and fees that exceeded USCIS' capacity to timely issue receipts and deposit application fees.

Q2: How does a receipt delay affect my case?
A2: If your case is subject to a receipt delay, this means that USCIS has received your case in its mailroom, but has not yet processed your case. This means that your case information has not been entered into the USCIS case management system and the fee you sent with your application has not yet been deposited. These delays affect USCIS' ability to issue a receipt notice to you. It may also affect the overall time it will take us to make a decision on your application.

Q3: Is this why I haven't received my receipt notice?
A3: Yes, it could be. Typically, customers should receive receipt notices within 2 weeks of USCIS receiving their applications. The receipt delay may cause this to take up to 15 weeks for customers to receive receipt notices. USCIS continues to monitor the current intake of applications and will identify application processing dates on its website. To find the latest information, please see the receipting times.

Q4: Is USCIS prioritizing certain application(s) during the receipting process?
A4 Yes. The Application to Adjust Status (I-485) will have first priority because USCIS needs to ensure that these applications are receipted in a timeframe that would allow processing of an application for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) within 90 days of filing as mandated by law [8 CFR 247a.13(d)]. Our second priority will be to receipt the Application for Naturalization (N-400) so that we can minimize any delays in obtaining citizenship.

Q5 What will USCIS do to ensure employment authorization documents are processed within 90 days?
A5 USCIS is working to ensure all Applications for Adjustment of Status (I-485) are receipted and any accompanying applications for employment authorization documents (EADs) are processed within 90 days. USCIS is realigning its resources to meet this deadline.

Q6 How is USCIS planning to address this receipting delay?
A6 USCIS is realigning its resources to eliminate the receipt delay as quickly as possible. This effort includes increasing the number of contract employees, as well as requiring significant mandatory overtime and shift work. USCIS also has temporarily detailed Government staff to centers that have been affected the most by the large influx of cases.

Q7 If I filed before the new fee change and my application is rejected, do I need to pay the new higher fee?
A7 Yes, unless USCIS rejected your application in error. if you think that your application was rejected in error, you should resubmit your original application, your original check or money order, the cover letter that was included with your returned application and an explanation of the reason why you believe the rejection was in error.

Q8 How do I find out if my application is a part of the receipting delay?
A8 Look at a web page receipting times specifically to address any receipt delay concerns. This page provides general information about your application type. In addition, USCIS representatives are available at the National Customer Service Center (1-800-375-5283) to assist callers with general information about the process.

Q9 Will this affect my ability to travel?
A9 Possibly, if you leave the country prior to the completion of the receipting process and do not have the appropriate travel documents, you may have difficulty returning to the United States. For more information, please visit the Emergency Travel page.

Q10 How do I submit my change of address if I don't have my receipt number?
A10 You can submit your change of address if you have not yet received a receipt number for your application.

If you have paid for your application by:

Check: You can update your address using USCIS' Change of Address Online. This requires your receipt number. Look at the back of the cancelled check that was returned to you through your bank. On the back is the 13-digit USCIS receipt number which looks like this (but will have different letters and numbers) ABC 01 23456789 Use your 13-digit number when you are asked to input your receipt number in your change of address.

Money order: You can report your change of address by calling USCIS Customer Service toll-free at 1-800-375-5283, and a USCIS Customer Service agent will enter your new address for you.

Q11 What if I need advance parole?
A11 We anticipate completing the receipting of the I-131 documents by the end of October 2007. Due to the heavy volume of cases, we are encouraging customers to wait until the end of October before inquiring about their case. If special circumstances exist and advance parole is needed quickly, please make an InfoPass appointment to visit your local USCIS office or call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at 1-800-375-5283. When you visit the local district office, be prepared to explain the need for urgent travel, provide the U.S. Postal Service tracking number associated with the original application filed, and the date the application was received at the Service Center where you filed.

Q12 Will my application be rejected if my check expires?
A12 No. When USCIS receives notice that your check has expired, we will notify you and suspend processing on your case. You will be given an opportunity to send a new check at the original filing rate and filing date to resume processing of your application. USCIS will contact you if your check has been returned to us because it is beyond the expiration date.

Q13 I have received my receipt notice, but when I check my case online it does not appear. How do I get my case added to the system, so I can check on the progress of my case?
A13 We have had an unprecedented number of applications filed in the last few months. Our efforts to enter these applications into our systems have caused a delay in the transfer of information from our case control system to the Case Status Online system. We are seeing delays of up to three to four weeks between receipting of your application and its status being available online. We are reviewing solutions to resolve the situation as soon as possible.

Q14 If I filed before July 30 and there is a problem with the check I used to pay my application fees, will I have to pay the new higher fees when I reapply?
A14 If USCIS is notified that your check for an application fee has been returned due to insufficient funds, your case will be placed in suspense. You will be notified by mail and asked to submit a new payment along with a $30 administrative fee. If you do so within 14 days, USCIS will honor the original filing date and processing of your case will continue.

Q15 What do I do if the information on my receipt is incorrect?
A15 The information you provided on your application is entered into our system; however, sometimes an error occurs. If you find that we misspelled your name or made any other error, you should call the National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283 to request a correction. A USCIS representative will take the information needed to correct the error(s).