I have not received from USCIS the Receipt Notice for my benefit application (e.g. Change of Status, OPT, STEM OPT Extension), what can I do to confirm USCIS received my application?

I have not received from USCIS the Receipt Notice for my benefit application (e.g. Change of Status, OPT, STEM OPT Extension), what can I do to confirm USCIS received my application?

Students filing applications with USCIS can receive both a text/email confirmation of receipt of application and a paper Receipt Notice from USCIS. Generally, the text/email confirmation (if requested when filing the application) is normally received within 7-10 days of filing the application. The paper Receipt Notice is received by mail from USCIS normally within 2-3 weeks of filing the application.

We do advise that students mail their application to USCIS using Express Mail through the U.S. Post Office or via an express mail courier (such as FedEx, UPS, DHL). By sending via express mail, you will have a tracking number that will allow to confirm that the mail has been delivered to USCIS. A separate receipt notification should be received from USCIS to confirm that the application was received.

October 12, 2021: The CIS Ombudsman’s Office has posted a USCIS Contact Center Tip Sheet to provide guidance on how best to utilize the USCIS phone and online help tools.

February 26, 2021: USCIS issues an announcement providing some accommodations for OPT applications facing receipt notice delays (USCIS Extends Flexibilities to Certain Applicants Filing Form I-765 for OPT”). Please read full USCIS news release.
February 18, 2021: USCIS released an update on processing receipts of long-pending I-765 applications. Confirmed application receipts, when processsed, will reflect the actual date application was received by USCIS by mail to the USCIS lockbox/center.
February 11, 2021: CIS Ombudsman’s Office released a statement:
“If more than 90 days have passed since you filed a petition/application with USCIS, you may submit a request for case assistance with the CIS Ombudsman, and our office will reach out to USCIS to resolve your issue. If less than 90 days have passed since you filed a petition/application with USCIS, the CIS Ombudsman will close your request. Please remember that before contacting the CIS Ombudsman, you must first try to resolve the problem with USCIS. Provide evidence of the contact with USCIS and the agency’s response, if available, when submitting your request for case assistance.
[See ISO Guidance on contacting USCIS on pending applications.]
January 26, 2021: The American Council on Education (ACE) sent a letter to USDHS addressing the OPT/STEM OPT processing delays at USCIS and requesting accommodations. We will be sure to update if USCIS issues any actions they will take.
January 14, 2021: CIS Ombudsman’s Office released a statement that they are seeing USCIS lockbox delays as long as 8 weeks. Students are advised that if an application has been pending for at least 60 days without a receipt notice to contact USCIS (see guidance below). If USCIS does not provide a response within 30 days from that date to then contact the CIS Ombudsman’s Office for case assistance.
January 8, 2021: USCIS has confirmed that the processing times on the application will be based on the actual date the application was received by mail at USCIS (the “received date”).
December 11, 2020: The CIS Ombudsman’s Office released a statement that there have been delays in receipt notifications (text, email, and paper notices) from the USCIS Lockbox that receives applications to USCIS. Current processing times to receive receipt notifications are taking approximately 4-6 weeks.

Students that do not receive the receipt notifications from USCIS during the expected time are advised to contact USCIS directly. There are the following recommendations to check the status of your application and how to contact USCIS:

(1) Check if your application fee payment has been processed by USCIS.

  • If you paid by credit card, see if the charge appears already on your account.
  • If you paid by personal check, review your bank account (usually available on your bank account online portal) for a scan of the back of the check. If processed, USCIS will write the USCIS Receipt Number on the back of the check. 
  • If you paid with a bank certified check or money order, contact the bank or post office that issued the check/money order to confirm if it was processed and to get a copy of the back of the check/money order to view if the USCIS Receipt Number is printed on the back. 

(2)  If it has been 60 days since delivery of your application to USCIS, Call the USCIS Contact Center to see if they can provide verification of the receipt of your application (phone #: 800-375-5283; hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm Eastern).

(3)  Submit an online inquiry with USCIS to notify them that you have not receive the Receipt Notice or Receipt email/text yet.  Go to USCIS Case Status Online webpage (https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do) then scroll down to the “Related Tools” section and you can click on the box “Submit a Case Inquiry” and complete/submit the inquiry form. Students have also reported that utilizing the USCIS online chat tool “Ask Emma” (https://www.uscis.gov/tools) has been helpful.

(4) If a receipt notification has not been received from USCIS within 60 days of delivery, individuals may email the USCIS Lockbox Support Team (lockboxsupport@uscis.dhs.gov) to request an update on the status of the application.

(5) If all actions taken above do not result in receiving a receipt notification within 90 days on a pending application received by USCIS, individuals may file a Case Assistance Form with the CIS Ombudsman’s Office who will reach out to USCIS for status updates for the application.

If you are still not able to get a confirmation of the receipt of your application to USCIS, please contact your ISO Advisor for further guidance.