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Complete Guide to the USCIS Online Account Number
In 2017, 13.7% of the U.S. population were immigrants, a 107-year peak. Many interface with USCIS via an online account, anchored by the USCIS Account Number. This blog demystifies this number, its importance, assignment, and role in enhancing USCIS online interactions. Let’s understand where you can find the USCIS online account number and how to use it.
What is a USCIS Account Number?
The USCIS Account Number, often referred to in various immigration processes, is a unique identifier that the USCIS assigns to individuals. This 12-digit number serves as a bridge, linking an individual’s online account with their specific immigration records and documentation. When an applicant submits a petition or visa application and creates an online account with USCIS, they’re typically assigned this number. It’s distinct from other numbers like the Alien Registration Number or the receipt number and plays a crucial role in streamlining and personalizing the digital immigration experience. If you’ve interacted with the USCIS online system, ensure you keep this number handy for future reference!
Locating Your USCIS Online Account Number
Your USCIS Account Number is a critical piece of information when dealing with U.S. immigration services. Often, this unique identifier serves as a bridge between you and your immigration records, ensuring smooth digital interactions. Here are several ways to locate your USCIS Account Number:
- USCIS Online System: If you haven’t created an account with the USCIS online system, you can create an account on the USCIS website. For individuals who’ve used the USCIS online system to file an application, petition, or request, the number is provided electronically during the account creation or application process.
- USCIS Online Account Access Notice: If you’ve previously submitted specific paper forms to the USCIS, they might have sent you an “Online Account Access Notice.” This notice typically has your USCIS online account number listed at the top.
- Receipts & Correspondence: Review any official correspondence or receipts you’ve received from USCIS. The account number is often printed on documents related to your case.
- Online Account Recovery: If you’ve created an online account on the USCIS website but have forgotten your account number, there’s a recovery process. Go to the login page, and follow the instructions for recovering account details, which often includes email verification.
- Contact USCIS Directly: If all else fails, or you’re facing difficulty accessing your number, you can directly get in touch with USCIS support. They can guide you on the appropriate steps for account recovery, ensuring you have the necessary information at hand.
If you don’t have or can’t locate your number, there’s no need to worry. If uncertain about ever receiving a number from USCIS, feel free to leave the “USCIS Online Account Number” section blank on the form, or consider creating a new account.
USCIS Account Number vs. Case Number vs. Online Access Code
The USCIS Online Account Number and the USCIS case number (often referred to as a receipt number) serve different purposes within the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) system. Here’s the distinction between the two:
USCIS Online Account Number
- This is a unique identifier assigned to individuals who create an online account with USCIS.
- It’s primarily used to link an individual’s online profile with their specific immigration records and documentation.
- The number helps streamline and personalize the digital immigration experience for users, allowing them to manage their cases online.
- It is not required for all forms and may not be available to all users. If someone hasn’t been issued this number or doesn’t know it, certain forms will allow them to leave the related field blank.
USCIS Online Access Code
- This is a unique code provided to individuals, especially those who have submitted specific paper forms to USCIS.
- The main purpose is to allow individuals to add their paper-filed cases to their USCIS online accounts, bridging the gap between offline submissions and the online platform.
- Upon entering the code into their online account, users can monitor the status, get electronic updates, and manage details of their previously submitted paper cases.
- It ensures smooth integration of offline records with the digital system for comprehensive case management.
USCIS Case Number (Receipt Number)
- This is a unique identifier assigned to a specific case or petition submitted to USCIS.
- When an individual or entity submits an application, petition, or request to USCIS, the agency issues a receipt number to the case, which can be used to track its status.
- This number is essential for checking the status of a case, responding to Requests for Evidence (RFEs), or for any other correspondence with USCIS about a particular case.
- It typically begins with three letters followed by a series of numbers (e.g., EAC-20-123-45678).
How Are USCIS Online Account Numbers Assigned?
Individuals are generally assigned a USCIS online account number when they submit a petition or visa application to USCIS and are awaiting a decision on their case.
New visa applicants setting up an online account with USCIS will be guided to establish a username and password. After this step, USCIS provides them with a distinct account number. This 12-digit identifier, usually a mix of letters and numbers, connects the individual’s online profile with their immigration documentation.
Apart from this, a USCIS online account is also helpful if you want to update or change your mailing address, or if you want to get electronic case updates and notifications. All in all, whoever wants to estimate how long it will take to receive their immigration documents and needs to be notified for their own peace of mind can make an account.
Understanding the USCIS Online Account Number
USCIS encourages individuals to use its online platform for efficient case management and communication with the agency. Central to this system is the 12-digit unique online account number. Importantly, this number is different from both the alien registration number (A-Number) and the receipt number; it serves exclusively to identify your online account.
Advantages of Having a USCIS Online Account:
- View the current status and track the history of your case.
- Respond to Requests for Evidence (RFEs).
- Stay updated with notifications on case progress.
- Manage and update your contact details.
It’s worth noting that the USCIS online account system isn’t reserved solely for immigrants. Both petitioners, who could be natural-born citizens, and attorneys can create accounts — the latter to oversee their clients’ cases online.
Opting out of the online account doesn’t mean USCIS won’t process your requests via their online filing system. Instead, any updates or notifications concerning your application or petition will be sent to you by mail using the U.S. Postal Service. For those who prefer not to use the online account, tracking your case is still convenient: simply go to the USCIS case status page and enter your receipt number.
Setting Up Your USCIS Online Account
To initiate a USCIS online account prior to filing any paperwork, visit the USCIS website and follow the sign-up process:
- Sign-Up: Head to the Sign Up page. Remember, your account is personal; don’t share it.
- Email Setup: Input your email address, click “Sign Up.” This email will be your primary mode of communication with USCIS.
- Account Confirmation: Check your email for a confirmation link. Click it to activate your account. If not received within 10 minutes, check spam or use the “Didn’t receive confirmation instructions?” link.
- Password Setup: Create a secure password (minimum eight characters, with a mix of upper case, lower case, and a special character). Confirm and click “Submit.”
- Verification Code: Select your preferred method (email, text, or app) to receive a one-time verification code. If you choose text, provide your U.S. mobile number. Await the code in your selected medium.
- Enter Verification Code: Type in the one-time code under “Secure one-time password” and confirm. If not received, use the “request a new one-time password” option.
- Backup Code: Store the given two-step verification backup code securely. Click “Proceed.”
- Security Questions: Select five password reset questions and provide their answers. Click “Submit.”
- Welcome Page: Choose the desired USCIS service, e.g., myUSCIS.
- Account Type: Specify if you’re an applicant or a legal representative. Confirm your choice.
- Email Confirmation: You’ll receive an email verifying successful account creation.
How to Include Paper-Filed Cases
If you wish to include paper-filed cases to your digital account:
- Add Paper-Filed Applications: Under “My Account,” add any paper-filed cases using your receipt number. If you have an “IOE” receipt number and an Online Access Code, you can add and manage your case details.
- Filing Forms: You can file forms online, get useful tips, and even pay fees through the platform. Start a new form by selecting “File a form online.”
- Manage Your Case: With your online account, you can track your case, view notices, send messages, and respond to any Requests for Evidence (RFE).
If you possess a receipt number starting with “IOE” and the Online Access Code from your USCIS Account Access Notice (despite not filing online), you can integrate this case into your online account. This lets you monitor the case status, history, send encrypted messages, view official notices, upload supplementary evidence, and reply to Requests for Evidence.
Other Considerations When Setting Up a USCIS Online Account
When setting up an online account with the USCIS, applicants will notice that there’s a distinct emphasis on immigration history and certain document requirements. Let’s delve into why these are essential and what you can expect.
Immigration History Queries:
During the account setup, USCIS will pose questions about your personal immigration history. Why?
- Accuracy & Identity Verification: These questions are designed to ensure that the person creating the account is genuinely the applicant. It acts as a security measure, minimizing the risk of fraudulent activities.
- Streamlined Processing: By obtaining a clear snapshot of your immigration history right from the beginning, USCIS can process subsequent applications or petitions more efficiently.
USCIS recommends having certain documents at hand when creating your online account. Here’s what they typically ask for and why:
- Passport: This serves as an identity proof and verifies your nationality. It is one of the primary documents USCIS refers to when processing immigration requests.
- Immigrant Visa: If you’ve previously applied for or received an immigrant visa, this information helps USCIS understand your current status and any past interactions you’ve had with the U.S. immigration system.
- Visa Application (copy): A copy of any visa application you’ve submitted gives insight into your immigration intentions and history.
- Immigrant Petition (Form I-130 copy, if applicable): For those sponsoring family members or being sponsored, this form provides details about the familial relationship and the basis of the sponsorship.
Why is this necessary?
The emphasis on immigration history and documentation isn’t just bureaucratic procedure. It’s pivotal for:
- Data Integrity: Ensuring that USCIS has accurate, up-to-date information is crucial for processing any application or petition.
- Security: In today’s digital age, safeguarding your account and ensuring only legitimate access is paramount. These requirements act as additional layers of security.
- Efficiency: With the right information at hand, USCIS can expedite and improve the accuracy of their processes, leading to quicker and more reliable outcomes for applicants.
Scheduling an Optional Appointment
You also have the option of scheduling a free appointment with a local USCIS office in case you cannot answer the questions correctly. The appointment will help you get your identity verified in person, as soon as you get to the United States.
It’s important to do this properly. With your account verified, your personal information will be safe. Not to mention that all documents and the Green Card will be sent to the right address and not somewhere else.
What If You Choose not to Create a USCIS Online Account?
You may choose not to create a USCIS online account, but in this case, you might be worried that you won’t be able to track the process of your Green Card. Well, you can actually track it even without a USCIS online account number. It can be done by using Case Status Online.
But you also need to know how you can obtain the status of your case. Basically, you need to get the receipt number from when you paid your USCIS Immigrant Fee. Keep in mind that it will usually start with the “IOE” letters.
Not having an account may also worry you that you can’t update your mailing address. But you can do this by visiting the Change of Address tool on the USCIS website.
New Immigrants & The Initial Green Card Process
Once the U.S. embassy authorizes an immigrant visa, newcomers can set up a USCIS online account upon paying the USCIS immigrant fee. This facilitates the monitoring of the new green card’s status. USCIS will dispatch electronic updates, and new immigrants can modify their postal addresses.
For online account creation, identity verification is required. Answer questions about your immigration history accurately. USCIS suggests keeping several documents handy:
- Immigrant visa
- Your visa application copy
- Immigrant petition copy (Form I-130)
Even without an online account, the status of your green card is accessible via Case Status Online. Retain the receipt number from the USCIS immigrant fee transaction, which will start with “IOE.” This receipt number is crucial for case tracking.
Receiving Your Green Card
Once your Green Card is ready to be delivered to you, it will be mailed to your mailing address. This is why you need to make sure you have the correct and the most recent mailing address on file, so it can be delivered to the right place. Normally, you give the address to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer or to the Department of State. It can also be the address listed in your USCIS online account if you have one.
Also, there are situations when applicants will live at a different address than the one listed in their files. If you’re in a similar situation, then you should know that you can get your Green Card at the other address, but only as long as you give the CBP officer your address. Or you can do something much easier and less time-consuming, which is changing your address in your online account on the USCIS website.
When Will Your Green Card Arrive?
As for when your Green Card will arrive, it should be once USCIS has received your Immigrant Fee, usually 120 days after the sum has been received. In other cases, it can be received within 120 days of your entry to the U.S.
If by any chance, you haven’t received your Green Card even though the mentioned period of time has passed, you should let USCIS know about this. It can be done by either contacting USCIS through their inbox in case you have a USCIS online account, or by submitting an inquiry.
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The USCIS Account Number is more than just a sequence of digits—it’s your personalized gateway to efficient and streamlined interactions with the U.S. immigration system. With the advancement of digital services, having an online account simplifies the immigration process and offers a plethora of benefits, from tracking applications to ensuring timely communication. Whether you’re a new immigrant waiting for a green card or simply looking to update your details, understanding and effectively utilizing your USCIS account is essential. Always remember to keep your account details secure, and stay informed about the numerous features the USCIS online platform provides.
USCIS Online Account Numbers: Common FAQs
The USCIS Online Account Number is a vital part of managing immigration applications online. Here are some frequently asked questions to provide further understanding of this topic.
What is a USCIS Online Account Number?
The USCIS Online Account Number is a unique number that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) assigns to individuals who have created an online account on their website. This number is different from other identifiers such as Alien Registration Number (A-Number) or Receipt Number.
Where can I find my USCIS Online Account Number?
You can find your USCIS Online Account Number by logging in to your account on the USCIS website. Once logged in, it is typically found at the top of your user profile page.
Is my USCIS Online Account Number the same as my case number?
No, your USCIS Online Account Number is not the same as your case number. The case number, also known as the receipt number, is a unique number assigned to your specific case or application.
Can I access my case information with my USCIS Online Account Number?
Yes, once you log in to your USCIS online account, you can use your account number to view the status of your case, receive case updates, and manage your contact information among other services.
Do I need a USCIS Online Account Number to submit applications?
Not all applications or petitions require a USCIS Online Account Number. However, having an account can facilitate the process as you can track your case, receive notifications, and access other useful services.
What is the purpose of the USCIS Online Account Number?
The USCIS Online Account Number is a unique identifier enabling applicants to securely engage with their immigration applications via the internet. With this number, applicants can submit and monitor applications, receive timely notifications and updates on cases, communicate securely with USCIS regarding their applications, and manage their contact details.
How can I recover my account number if I lose access?
Should you find yourself unable to access your USCIS online account or if you misplace your USCIS online account number, here’s a guideline to assist you:
- Visit the USCIS website and select the “Sign In” option at the page’s top.
- On the subsequent login page, select the “Forgot your username?” link.
- Input the email address tied to your account and hit “Submit”.
- An email will be dispatched to the provided address detailing steps to recover your username, which will also contain your USCIS online account number.
- If these steps prove unfruitful, reaching out to USCIS support directly is advised.
Are USCIS online account numbers applicable to applications submitted outside the U.S.?
No, the USCIS online account numbers are designed primarily for those filing within the United States. Applicants who are procuring visas or immigration advantages from international locations (via “consular processing”) generally won’t be allocated a USCIS online account number or access the online system.
Can I change the email associated with my USCIS online account?
Yes, you can update the email address tied to your USCIS online account. Once logged in, navigate to your profile settings, where you can make the necessary modifications.
Is my USCIS online account information shared with third parties?
Your personal data and application details are safeguarded with utmost priority. USCIS does not share your online account information with third parties unless required for processing purposes or under legal obligations.