Once an immigration or naturalization application is filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency will respond by sending the applicant Form I-797, Notice of Action. This form will reach the applicants within approximately 1-2 weeks of filing the application. This form is also known as an application receipt notice. The Form I-797 will have a 13-digit receipt number. This is the number with which the applicant can track the status of his or her case. Once USCIS accepts an application, the agency will start reviewing it.
However, applicants who have filed incomplete applications or filed applications without the required fee, will not receive this notice but receive a letter indicating that their application has been rejected. Applications that have not been accepted by USCIS must be refiled.
Though it is not mandatory to know what the receipt number represents, it is better to know how to read a receipt number as it will help applicants be aware of the locations of their cases and the timeline.
Here is an example receipt number, VSC 12 017 70920.
USCIS Service Center
All USCIS receipt numbers begin with three letters followed by 10 numbers. The three letters represent the USCIS Service Center that is processing the case, as follows:
CSC – California Service Center
EAC – Eastern Adjudication Center (Vermont Service Center)
IOE – ELIS (efile)
LIN – Lincoln Service Center (Nebraska Service Center)
MSC – Missouri Service Center (National Benefits Center)
NBC – National Benefits Center
NSC – Nebraska Service Center
SRC – Southern Regional Center (Texas Service Center)
TSC – Texas Service Center
VSC – Vermont Service Center
WAC – Western Adjudication Center (California Service Center)
The next two digits in VSC 12 017 70920 following the letters, represent the fiscal year (FY) in which USCIS received the form. Fiscal years begin on October 1 and end on September 30. In the example receipt number, 12 means the case was received in the FY 2012, between October 2011 and September 2012.
The next three underlined digits followed by the year in VSC 12 017 70920, indicate the computer workday, the same thing as a workday. This is the day on which USCIS accepted the case for processing. Working days exclude weekends and other holidays. The example receipt number shows that the case was opened on the 17th workday of FY 2012.
USCIS Case Number
The last five digits of the receipt number, 70920 represent the USCIS case number. USCIS uses these digits to identify applications individually.
Applicants with pending applications with USCIS can check the status of their cases online.