What does it mean when your case says that it's being actively reviewed by immigration? As an immigration lawyer, I hear this question all the time from current clients and people who are looking for help in the immigration process, asking: “My case status says that it is being actively reviewed, but I'm not hearing anything from immigration yet. So what gives?” In this video, I'll tell you about exactly what it means and what it doesn't mean when your USCIS case status update says that your case is being actively reviewed.
My name is Moumita Rahman and I am an immigration attorney with 13 years of experience working in immigration law. I'm based in New York, but I work with immigration clients all over the United States. If you would like my help on your case, please give us a call at 212-248-7907 or join me when I go live and you can ask your question to me there.
So exactly what does it mean when it says that your case is being actively reviewed?
One of the great tools that you can use is called the Case Status Update Tool on USCIS. In addition, you can create an account with USCIS where you can track your receipt numbers so that you can automatically get email updates about your immigration case. But this is now posing a lot of anxiety for people because the email updates that you get from USCIS don't actually offer you that much clarity or that much transparency into how long it's going to take for you to get a decision on your case.
And let's be honest, this is the top question on people's minds. Every single person wants to know exactly when will they
get approved or exactly when will they get a decision. To understand more about exactly what it means when your online tool says that your case is being actively reviewed, you have to actually understand a little bit more about what happens to your application physically and how it correlates to the way that USCIS does their work.
When we are preparing a case, we have several components of work that are required to complete work on a case. For example, we may have an intake, we may have an interview, we may have an active preparation of forms and an affidavit and other materials, and at every single stage of the case it moves from one level to another.
Similarly, at USCIS, they have a flow of work that they must follow also. The first stage in their flow of work might be that independent contractors are reviewing your initial filing at the first location, which may be the lockbox. And at this stage their singular job might be just to check off that the required documentation is there.
For example, the filing fee, the passports, the required forms, and the minimum required documentation. Once they check everything off, then they would pass your case to the next stage and sometimes the next stage also means that it might go to a new location in a different part of the country.
At this next location, which is usually the service center in your jurisdiction, it may be an immigration officer or another contractor who is also looking at your file, but they're looking at you a little bit more in depth. For example, they may evaluate your affidavit support to make sure that your income and the supporting income documents are there, or they may check to see if there's anything else that is required that a clerk who is just a contractor would not have the training to do.
It might be at this stage or even before this stage that you also get issued an RFE, so you may also see online that a request for additional evidence has been sent. If your case does not require any additional evidence, then it will be passed on to the next stage. Your case, when it moves on to the stage, is moving on to the actual place where the decision will be made.
This is normally at your local field office. That's why when your case moves from the first two steps to this usually last step, you may receive that notification that your case is being actively reviewed. But what this really means is that your case has just been placed in line for the next set of immigration officers to look at. It does not actually mean that they're actually reviewing your case, which is why some of you, after you get that notification online, you may see that it doesn't change and it says “actively being reviewed” for a matter of three months, six months or sometimes even more than a year.
And again, if your jurisdiction and your local field office is a really busy field office, that means that your case
is going to be in this active review stage for an even longer period of time. Now, fortunately, we're living in a time
where a lot of immigration offices are deciding to exercise discretion to waive immigration interviews. So it would be at this time, if they are reviewing your case before an interview to make a decision as to whether that interview can be waived or not, that they might actually properly take a look at your file to either issue a request for evidence or send you an interview notice.
But this is what it really means when it says that your case is being actively reviewed by immigration It may seem to
you like you're finally going to find out what's going to happen, but be prepared to wait. And especially if you're living in places like California or New York, where cases take an even longer time to process, that actively being reviewed status is going to appear on your computer screen for a long time.
But don't lose hope, it's actually still a good sign, and it means that your case is still moving along and it's still going to get worked on eventually.
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If you need my assistance on your case, can give us a call at 212-248-7907. I will continue to make videos sharing my knowledge and my experience with you so that you can have a better understanding of immigration law and what is happening in your case. I hope this helps. See you at my next video.