After your visa application has been filed with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you will receive Form I-797 (Notice of Action), which is a receipt letter for your application. This is used by the USCIS to communicate with the visa applicant. It will give you information regarding your application and will contain your case receipt number.
How Does the Receipt Number Help?
The 13-digit receipt number can be used to track the status of your visa application online. You can use this code for checking the progress of petitions, such as for the H1B visas, visa extensions and visa transfers. People who have applied for permanent citizenship for themselves or their family members can also use this code.
The first three characters of your receipt number represent the service center location, where the application is being processed. Currently, there are 5 service centers, apart from the National Benefits Center (NBC), that process visa applications. These include the Potomac Service Center (YSC), California Service Center (WAC), Vermont Service Center (EAC) and Nebraska Service Center (LIN).
For instance, applications submitted to the Vermont Service Center will receive receipt numbers that start with EAC.
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What if I Lose my Receipt Number?
In case you lose your application receipt number, there is an option to schedule an InfoPass appointment. Here, you will meet a USCIS officer, who will provide you information regarding your visa status. Make sure you carry the essential documents to the appointment venue, including:
- Your InfoPass appointment confirmation letter
- A government-issued identity proof, such as:
- Driver’s license
- Aadhar Card
- Pan Card
- Any USCIS document issued to you. These can be interview appointment notice, request for documents (evidence), decision letter, etc.
Steps to Check Visa Status Online
- Go to the “Check Case Processing Time” page on the official USCIS website.
- From the drop-down list, select your application type and service center, based on the code in your receipt number.
- Click on “Get Processing Time.”
- From the drop-down list. click on “Check your case status.”
- On the “Case Status Online” page, enter your Receipt number click on the “Check status” button.
- You will be shown the current status of your visa application
Other Self-Help Tools
USCIS Web Account
You can sign up for a USCIS account online, which will enable you to access real-time information about your visa application status from your mobile phone, tablet or computer. With the help of this account, you can send application-specific queries to the Contact Center and safely receive answers in your inbox.
Online Request Tool
The USCIS also provides an e-request tool, through which you can ask questions about your visa application, if the normal processing time has elapsed.
The online assistant, named Emma, is capable of answering questions quickly and can guide you through the website. Currently, the virtual assistance is available in English and Spanish languages.
Getting information about your visa application status is very easy through the use of any of the methods explained above. Further, it is advisable to keep your receipt number safe, since it will simplify the inquiry process to a great extent.