Common Questions About Asylum | Verifying Status

Seeking asylum in the United States is a long and complicated process. During this time, many people feel isolated, intimidated, afraid and overwhelmed. One of the reasons for this is that the official information provided by the government is so confusing and it is hard to know where to go to get the best legal advice. Here we will answer some common questions about verifying immigration status, asylum status and your ability to travel once you have asylum.

How can I check my immigration status?

If you have submitted an application or petition to United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency should send you a receipt within several days — although it may take longer. This receipt contains all of the information you need to check your immigration status online, in person or by phone. Specifically, it includes a 13-digit receipt number that actually begins with three letters. These letters (usually EAC, LIN, SRC, or WAC) are used to identify the USCIS office handling your application.

What is the difference between the Alien Registration Number and the Application Receipt Number?

USCIS usually assigns an Alien Registration Number or A# to applicants for adjustment of status, employment authorization, and certain visas. It is used as a designator or identifier for the applicant and is used for administrative purposes. However, you cannot use it to check your case status.

What if I don’t get a receipt number?

If you don’t get an application receipt number, don’t panic. You can always make an INFOPASS appointment to visit a USCIS office. To do so, you must have access to a computer so you can schedule the meeting using appointment system at www.uscis.gov.

Don’t forget to bring the following items to your appointment:

  • Your personal identification.
  • Copies of your application.
  • Any other relevant material, including documentation to prove that you sent your application by mail or courier service (such as FedEx or UPS).

What should I do once I have the receipt number?

Once you have the receipt number, simply use a computer to visit the USCIS website at www.uscis.gov. Then find and click on the”Check My Case Status” link. After you’ve done that, you’ll see where to type your receipt number.

After you enter your receipt number, you should see seven circles on the screen. The one that is highlighted indicates your immigration status. Depending on which type of application or petition you have filed with USCIS your status may be:

  • Acceptance
  • Initial Review
  • Request for Evidence
  • Testing and Interview
  • Decision
  • Post-Decision Activity
  • Document Production or Oath Ceremony

Additional options

If you want to know how long it will take USCIS to process your application, there is an easy way to find out. Simply click on the box at the bottom of the page that says “USCIS Processing Times Information.” Then follow the instructions regarding the form you are asking about and the USCIS field office or service center that is handling the matter.

You or your lawyer can also sign up to receive automatic updates about your immigration/case status by text message or email here.

Can I check my asylum status online?

If you have officially requested asylum in the United States, there are several ways to check your application status.

You can check your asylum status online by visiting the same USCIS webpage we discussed above. Don’t forget that you will application receipt number to access the information you’re seeking on this page.

You can also verify your asylum status by writing to the Asylum Office in charge of your case. If you are using this method, you should include your Alien Registration or A-Number. This is eight or nine-digit number after the letter “A.” You should also include your date of birth, current legal name and, if different, the name you put on the application. Finally, don’t forget to include the interview date if at all possible.

As a last resort, or if you live nearby, you can actually go to the Asylum Office that is handling your case. The regional Asylum Offices are located in: Arlington, Virginia; Chicago, Illinois; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles (Anaheim), California; Miami, Florida; Newark, New Jersey (Lyndhurst); New York, New York (Rosedale); and San Francisco, California.