How Do I Know Which USCIS Service Center?

Updated on January 6, 2024
At a Glance:
  • There are five USCIS Service Centers that handle different types of petitions and applications.

  • To determine which center is processing your application, follow two steps:
    • identify the center based on your application type
    • identify the center based on your originating state.

  • You can find this information on the USCIS website or by calling their phone number.

  • Each Service Center has a unique code represented by the first three letters of your USCIS receipt number.

  • Examples include LIN for Nebraska Service Center and WAC for California Service Center.

  • The receipt number helps you track the status of your application and determine the processing center.
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    Immigrants will often have to deal with a USCIS service center when they submit an application for immigration rights. However, you may be confused when it comes to which USCIS center processes your application. If you came here asking “How do I know which USCIS service center ****will process my application?” then you will find the answer in this article.

    Are There Different USCIS Service Centers?

    There isn’t only one USCIS Service Center dealing with people’s applications. In fact, there are 5 USCIS Service Centers that do this. Each one of them will handle different types of petitions and applications. Therefore, you should know which service is dealing with yours based on the type of application you submitted for your respective immigration benefits.

    Determining Your USCIS Service Center

    So, you know that there are multiple service centers processing applications, but how can you know which one is processing yours? Luckily for you, two steps will help you find out:

    1. Identify Service Center by Application Type
    2. Identify Service Center by Originating State

    Read on to learn about each step.

    Step 1: Discover Service Center Based on Your Application Type

    The type of application you’re submitting can guide you to the appropriate service center. To pinpoint which USCIS Service Centers handle your specific application, simply look it up. For instance, if you’re submitting an I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, only specific centers will be responsible for this petition.

    By researching your application or petition type, you’ll identify the relevant service center.

    Step 2: Pinpoint Service Center Based on Your State of Residence

    Once you’ve identified the kind of petition or application you’re submitting, the next step is to determine which USCIS Service Centers hold authority over such applications originating from your state.

    It’s essential to note that the nearest USCIS Service Center might not be the one processing your application or petition. The determining factor is their jurisdiction, not geographical proximity. So, you might find your application being processed at a center further away than expected.

    How to Find a USCIS Office

    There are five key service centers: Nebraska, California, Texas, Potomac, and Vermont. The type of petition and your originating state determines which one handles your case. Check the USCIS website or call 1.800.375.5283 for specifics. Hearing impaired? Dial 1.800.767.1833. Military members and families can reach out to 1-877-CIS-4MIL (1-877-247-4645).

    How to Find Out Which Service Center

    To see which USCIS service center processes specific petitions, visit the Service Center Forms Processing on their site. To identify the center handling your case, check your receipt and any transfer notices.

    Finding a USCIS Service Center with Your Receipt Number

    Deciphering which USCIS service center is handling your application is streamlined by a key detail: the 13-character receipt number. This code confirms your application’s submission and reveals its processing center. Dive in to understand this number, how quickly you’ll receive it, and how it pinpoints your service center’s location.

    What Is a USCIS Receipt Number?

    Upon filing with USCIS, you’ll get a 13-character receipt number unique to your case. This can be found on your receipt notice, Form I-797C, sent to your mailing address after submission. This isn’t an approval but confirms receipt. Located at the notice’s top left, it starts with three letters like “LIN” or “EAC”, followed by ten numbers. This reveals the processing center, fiscal year, workday of case opening, and your unique case number.

    How Can a USCIS Receipt Number Help Find Your Service Center?

    Your receipt number’s first three characters indicate the USCIS Service Center processing your application. Here’s a quick breakdown:

    • LIN – Nebraska Service Center
    • EAC – Vermont Service Center
    • IOE – USCIS Electronic Immigration System (ELIS)
    • WAC – California Service Center
    • MSC/NBC – National Benefits Center
    • SRC – Texas Service Center

    For instance, a “MSC” prefix means it’s processed by the National Benefits Center, while “IOE” indicates online processing.

    Receipt Number Processing Time

    After submitting your application to USCIS, expect a 2-3 week wait for your receipt number. The wait time can vary based on the form type and service center. If you haven’t received it, call USCIS or consult an officer for more details.

    Read More

    Final Thoughts

    If you submitted your first petition or application with USCIS, it’s normal to be a little confused and have no idea which center processes your application. However, all you need is the receipt notice and receipt number on it, and you’ll be able to tell immediately. The first three letters of your receipt number will tell you the exact service center that takes care of your application. Other than that, you can simply check out the list of application/petition types and the offices that process them, as well as which centers have jurisdiction over your state.

    USCIS Service Centers: Common FAQs

    Understanding the role of USCIS Service Centers is important for individuals going through immigration processes in the U.S. Here are some frequently asked questions about USCIS Service Centers.

    What is a USCIS Service Center?

    USCIS Service Centers are the offices that process applications for immigration benefits. There are five service centers across the U.S., including the Vermont, Nebraska, Texas, California, and Potomac Service Centers.

    How do I know which USCIS Service Center is processing my application?

    You can typically determine which service center is processing your application based on the first three letters of your receipt number. For example, receipt numbers beginning with “EAC” are processed by the Vermont Service Center, and “WAC” corresponds to the California Service Center.

    Can I contact the USCIS Service Center processing my application directly?

    Direct contact with USCIS Service Centers is not typically possible. However, you can call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283 for general inquiries or to get case status updates.

    How long will it take for a USCIS Service Center to process my application?

    Processing times vary widely based on the type of application, the specific service center, and other factors. You can check current processing times on the USCIS website.

    Can I request to change the USCIS Service Center processing my application?

    No, it is generally not possible to request a change of service center. USCIS determines which service center will process your application based on the type of form and the state in which you live.

    How can I determine which USCIS service center is handling my case?

    Your 13-character receipt number, issued upon application submission, indicates your processing center. The first three characters, such as “LIN” or “EAC”, represent specific service centers.

    Which states fall under the jurisdiction of the USCIS California Service Center?

    The USCIS California Service Center covers specific states based on the type of petition or application. The current list is updated regularly on the USCIS website.

    To which USCIS office should I submit my adjustment of status application?

    You should send your adjustment of status application to the service center that corresponds with your residential jurisdiction. Detailed instructions and addresses can be found on the specific application form and accompanying instructions.

    Which USCIS field office processes applications the quickest?

    Processing times vary and can change based on the volume of applications and other factors. You can check current processing times for different field offices on the USCIS website.

    What differentiates a USCIS field office from a service center?

    A USCIS field office handles interviews, naturalization ceremonies, and direct public engagements. A service center, on the other hand, primarily processes paper applications and petitions without the need for direct applicant interaction.

    What is the primary role of the USCIS California Service Center?

    The USCIS California Service Center processes specific types of applications and petitions based on their jurisdictional coverage, such as certain family-sponsored petitions and employment-based applications.

    Why was my case transferred to the National Benefit Center?

    Cases can be transferred to the National Benefit Center (NBC) for a variety of reasons, such as workload distribution or specific case processing requirements. The NBC conducts pre-interview screenings and sends cases to field offices for interviews. You should receive a notice from USCIS explaining the transfer in more detail.

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    Frank Gogol

    I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.