Many of our clients and readers may be aware that USCIS has an online status check system which allows applicants (and their attorneys and employers) to track the progress of a case and obtain case updates. In addition to allowing a single status case lookup, the system has an extremely helpful function which allows users to create an account, add one or more case receipt numbers and be notified via email or text message if there is a case update. While it has been very helpful, this system has not been very reliable. Unfortunately, over the past several weeks, at least, the system has become even less reliable.
USCIS Confirms Unreliable Case Status Email Delivery
USCIS has acknowledged that the case status email alert portion of the system has been unreliable and many case status updates did not generate an email (as they should). For example, in our office, we often receive premium processing case email updates (or a paper notice of approval), while we do not receive an email case status alert generated from the case status system. Additionally, even after a major milestone event, such as after an approval of a case, the online status check system does not seem to have correct information and would not reflect the updated case status.
Many of our clients and readers rely on this system to obtain updates on their case and its reliability issues are causing frustration among many of our clients. We have relayed our concerns and reliability issue reports to USCIS and they have acknowledged that we are not alone. USCIS has assured us that they are working on a solution; unfortunately, we do not have an estimated timeline of correcting these issues.
Premium Processing Cases Less Affected
The lack of email updates is worrying because these case status alerts provide a nice warning of a case development. For example, if the case status indicated that a Request for Evidence (RFE) has been issued, then the applicant/petitioner and/or their attorneys can anticipate the mailing within a few days and, if they do not receive it, they can take an action. By not having this advance warning, inevitably, there will be some applicants or petitioners who may not receive an important document and may not realize this until it may be too late.
For cases filed under premium processing, where it is available, USCIS normally sends additional email notifications (which have some reliability issues, but on a much smaller scale) and correspondence via fax, so the danger of non-receipt of documents is much smaller.
We hope that USCIS would be able to correct the issues causing non-delivery of case status email and updates. We will continue monitoring this subject and provide updates to our clients and readers. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can help you. Also, please visit us again or subscribe to our free weekly newsletter to ensure that you obtain related immigration-related news and announcements.