To get a receipt notice, you have prepared your initial filing and this could be a lot of different things with different processing centers and different applications. There are some nuances that you’ll definitely want to discuss with your attorney if you have further questions. But in order to get a receipt notice, you’ve prepared the application and submitted the application to the appropriate place whether that’s online or via mailing to a dropbox or to a specific location within the USCIS realm.
Following that filing, within a couple of weeks for up to four weeks to six weeks, you will get a receipt notice that explains that USCIS is acknowledging that your submission has been received and it gives you a case number in order to follow up on that status of that particular online filing.
How to Read the USCIS Receipt Notice
The first three letters apply to the service center that is processing the application. This is important because we have very little control other than where you live as to what processing center gets your application. They are sent based on where you live and who processes those applications. Also, if you’re submitting to a lock box, they’re forwarded to the appropriate processing center.
With some respect to if you have that flexibility to move around, processing centers do vary in time. But know that even though there’s a discrepancy in some of the processing centers now, some may be processing something at 9 months and others at 15. That sounds like a lengthy period of time however, USCIS does look at those and will rearrange them if they feel like one is processing faster or has less applications.
Here are the specific codes and its equivalent service center:
EAC – Eastern Adjudication Center (Vermont Service Center)
WAC – Western Adjudication Center (California Service Center)
LIN – Lincoln Service Center (Nebraska Service Center)
SRC – Southern Regional Center (Texas Service Center)
NBC – National Benefits Center
MSC – Missouri Service Center (National Benefits Center)
IOE – USCIS Electronic Immigration System (ELIS)
The two digits after that are going to be that fiscal year when it’s processed or when it’s received. They don’t accept filings without that filing fee. They will reject it if you’ve never had one of those happen. They’ll send it back if that filing fee is not correct.
The last five digits are your case number so it’s specific to your filing. What you can do with those is to go online and look at the USCIS website. You can even search case online case status and put that in to see the last update that was done on your case. Know that sometimes they don’t always update those. You can use your online account center to update or use the chat feature with USCIS as well.
Those are just a couple of kind of tidbits of information of what you can do with that online case status or the receipt number itself. It’s also useful if you’ve been waiting a really long time, you are past your processing time so you’ve submitted an online out of processing request and you want to move along with maybe seeking congressional assistance. You will need your receipt number number for anything like that as well.