Immigration Form
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Any immigration process like a U.S. citizenship application or an immigrant visa must go through United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Navigating the system can be difficult, especially when given multiple immigration case numbers. Having the correct numbers in hand will make checking your case status online easier. This guide will help you understand what each immigration case number is and how to find them.

Understanding Immigration Case Numbers

There are three important immigration case numbers to keep in mind when you're navigating the system and understanding your immigration application:

  • Receipt number: USCIS assigns a 13-character case number to each application that people file. This is called the receipt number for your case.
  • A-Number: USCIS assigns is a 7-9 digit number to identify immigrants who apply for legal permanent resident or U.S. citizenship as well as certain student immigrants.
  • DOS Case ID: Is 3 letters followed by 9 or 10 numbers that USCIS assigned when someone applies for a permanent immigrant visa. If you are a Diversity Visa immigrant, your DOS Case ID will have 4 numbers followed by 2 letters and 5 more numbers.

Components of an Immigration Case Number

As mentioned above, each immigration case number is used for different purposes, they are composed differently and are found in various places. Here's more information on each number looks like and where to find it:

  • Receipt number
    • What it looks like: The first three characters of your receipt number will be letters that depend on which of the USCIS service centers are processing your case. The rest are numbers. It will begin with either EAC, LIN, WAC, IOE, NBC, MSC, or SRC followed by 10 numbers.
    • Where to find it: USCIS will send you a receipt notice when they receive your application. Your receipt number will be at the top left corner of the receipt notice. You can use your receipt number to check your case status online.
  • DOS Case ID
    • What it looks like: The DOS Case ID also begins with 3 letters and is followed by numbers for example, XYZ0123456789. This number is found on your immigrant visa and is also known as the IV Case Number. Sometimes the IV Case Number has two extra numbers, such as 01 or 02. If asked for it enter the case number without the 01 or 02.
    • Where to find it: The DOS Case ID is on the visa stamp (also called a visa foil).

What is an A Number?

An A Number also known as an Alien Registration Number has 7-9 digits and starters with an "A." The A Number is important and used to apply for a green card also known as applying to be a legal permanent resident, for an employment authorization document, and an immigrant visa.

You can find your A Number on various documents such as:

  • Your Employment Authorization Document (EAD), your A Number is the same as your employment authorization number. On your work permit cars it's listed under "USCIS#" Remember that this number is different from your EAD card number.
  • On your permanent resident green card, if the card was issued by USCIS after May 10, 2010 then the A Number is the same as your "USCIS#"
  • On your immigrant visa, the A Number will be the 9 digit number underneath the registration number.
  • On your USCIS Immigrant Fee Handout, which is a document from USCIS that tells you how to pay your USCIS immigrant fee. If you applied for a green card, you should have received this document when you attended your interview at the U.S. embassy or consulate. It will be in the corner of the handout.
  • On your Immigrant Data Summary, if you applied for a green card from abroad via consular processing you can find your A Number on the Immigrant Data Summary at the top of the page.
  • Lastly, on your Notice of Action or Form I-797C. If your I-797C contains your A Number, the number will be under "USCIS#" on the notice.

Which Are the Most Common Immigration Case Numbers?

As mentioned above the three most common immigration case numbers are the receipt number, the DOS Case ID and the A Number. Depending on what immigration application you are filing, you may get different numbers.

Case Numbers in Green Card applications.

The most common numbers you'll get for a green card or to apply to be a legal permanent resident will be the receipt number and the A Number.

Case Numbers in Visa Applications and Consular Processing

When applying for a visa, you will likely get all three numbers mentioned, the receipt number, the DOS Case ID and the A Number. Be sure to keep track of which is which to ensure a successful change of immigration status.

Tracking Your Immigration Status

Track your immigration case status online, use the online tool linked here for updates on your immigration case. You will need your 13-character receipt number from your application or petition.

Bottom Line

It's easy to get lost in the complexities of the system when trying to change your immigration status or checking your case status online. Be sure to look carefully at your immigration application to find the correct numbers and refer to this guide for help.

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