How Do I Know Which USCIS Service Center?

Posted by in Immigrants | Updated on July 13, 2023
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 and 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.

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.

How Do I Know Which USCIS Service Center Is Processing My Application?

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:

  • Step One – Identify Service Center by Application Type
  • Step Two – Identify Service Center by Originating State

Read on to learn about each step.

Step One – Identify Service Center by Application Type

Based on the application type, finding out your service center is very easy. In order to do this, you only need to look up the particular USCIS Service Centers that process the type of application you wish to file. For instance, if you wish to file an I-129 Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, there will be particular services that process these petitions.

So, look up your type of application or petition and you’ll be able to find out which center processes it.

Step Two – Identify Service Center by Originating State

After you find out the type of petition or application you have to file, you must discover the USCIS Service Centers that have jurisdiction over your particular type of petition or application. So, you can achieve this if you look up which center has jurisdiction over the petitions or applications that originate from your state.

Just because a USCIS Service Center is geographically closest to you it doesn’t mean that it will be the one that will process your application or petition. It all depends on the jurisdiction, so you can expect the center to be further away, whether you want it or not.

How to Find a USCIS Office

There are five service centers, respectively the Nebraska Service Center, California Service Center, Texas Service Center, Potomac Service Center, and Vermont Service Center. As mentioned earlier, you will have to check out the type of petition you wish to submit, as well as which center has jurisdiction over your originating state.

You can find out this information by visiting the USCIS website, or by calling them on their phone number. They can be contacted by calling 1.800.375.5283. For the hearing impaired, the TDD is 1.800.767.1833. As for military members and their families, there is a toll-free military helpline, respectively 1-877-CIS-4MIL (1-877-247-4645).

How to Find Out Which Service Center

Also, if you want to discover which service center from USCIS can process certain types of petitions or applications, you can check out some pages on the USCIS site. More specifically, the Service Center Forms Processing and the Workload Transfer Updates pages may have what you’re looking for.

As for which center or office is dealing with your case, all you have to do is look at the receipt notice, as well as any possible subsequent transfer notices to find out.

What Is a USCIS Receipt Number?

When you file an application with USCIS, you will receive a 13-character case number. This is known as the receipt number, and it’s unique to your case.

Your USCIS receipt number will be found on the receipt notice you get when USCIS receives your application. Usually, after you submit an application or petition with USCIS, you should get a receipt notice that informs you that the application was received. So, you will receive an update on a form known as Form I-797C, Notice of Action. The Notice of Action will be sent to the mailing address you listed on the application you submitted. The receipt notice is not a piece of evidence that your immigration benefits have been granted, though. It merely informs you that the application safely made it into the hands of the USCIS officers.

You will be able to find it at the top left corner of the notice. It will start with three letters, either “LIN”, “EAC”, “IOE”, “WAC”, “MSC”, “NBC” or “SRC”. After the letters, there will be ten numbers. The receipt number will let you check out the status of your application. The receipt number is made of the USCIS service center that processed your application, as well as the fiscal year and workday when the case was opened by USCIS. Furthermore, it also contains your unique case number.

Receipt Number Processing Time

It will take around 2-3 weeks for you to receive your receipt number after you submit your application to USCIS. You should bear in mind that the exact amount of time will be influenced by the type of form you submitted. The service center you filed with will also play a role in this.

If you need the receipt number and didn’t get it yet, you also have the option to call USCIS and find out the number. In some instances, you can even meet up with an officer from USCIS to find out more details about your case.

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

It’s easy to find out the USCIS Service Center that processes your application or petition if you have the receipt number.

As mentioned earlier, the first three characters of the number represent the service center that is taking care of your case. They represent codes for the different service centers, and if you know them, it will take you a few seconds to find out what you want to know.

Below you will see what each character combination means:

  • LIN – Lincoln Service Center (Nebraska Service Center)
  • EAC – Eastern Adjudication Center (Vermont Service Center)
  • IOE – USCIS Electronic Immigration System (ELIS)
  • WAC – Western Adjudication Center (California Service Center)
  • MSC – Missouri Service Center (National Benefits Center)
  • NBC – National Benefits Center
  • SRC – Southern Regional Center (Texas Service Center)

So, now you know it. The first three letters from your receipt number will represent one of the service centers listed above. That being said, if the Missouri Service Center is the one processing your application, the receipt number will begin with “MSC”. If your application is going to be processed online, though, then the receipt number will start with “IOE”.

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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.

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

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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.