immigrant visa number vs case number

What is an Immigrant Visa Number?

The Immigrant Visa Number, also known as the Visa Foil Number, is present on the bottom right side of the visa documents. These numbers have eight numeric characters. For eg., 02988657. But in some cases, the visa number will contain one letter followed by seven numeric characters.

There is no limit on the number of family-based immigrant visas (green cards) that the USCIS issues to the immediate relatives of U.S. citizens. However, there are numerical limitations on the number of green cards that the USCIS issues to applicants in other preference categories. 

USCIS assigns immigrant visa numbers based on preference categories and priority dates. An immigrant visa number may not be assigned to you immediately. It depends on the priority date and also your nationality. For nationals of certain countries where the demand for an immigrant visa is higher, the wait time for the priority date to become current could take many years. If an immigrant visa number is assigned to you, it means that the USCIS has assigned an immigrant visa to you. 

What is a Case Number?

When you file any immigration application or petition with the USCIS, they will send you an application receipt notice which confirms that they have received your application and it has been accepted for processing. 

The application receipt notice will contain an application receipt number. This number is a 13-character number unique to each case. It is an alpha-numeric number made up of three letters and 10 numbers. 

For example, CSC1601234567.

The letters and the numbers denote something specific. The letters denote the service center that received the application or petition. 

CSC – California Service Center

EAC – Eastern Adjudication Center/Vermont Service Center


LIN – Lincoln Service Center/Nebraska Service Center

MSC – Missouri Service Center/National Benefits Center

NBC – National Benefits Center

NSC – Nebraska Service Center

SRC – Southern Regional Center/Texas Service Center

TSC – Texas Service Center

VSC – Vermont Service Center

WAC – Western Adjudication Center/California Service Center

YSC – Potomac Service Center

To explain with an example:

CSC 16 012 34567

CSC – denotes the service center that received the case – California Service Center.

16 – denotes the fiscal year during which the USCIS received the case. USCIS, like other US government agencies, uses a fiscal year that begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. In this example, it means that the case was received in 2016.

012 – denotes the computer workday on which the case was opened at the USCIS service center. Computer workdays include all calendar days other than weekends and government holidays. In the example, it means the case was opened on the 12th workday of 2016 which would be the 18th of October 2016. 

34567 – denotes the case number. This number is unique to each case. 

You can use this 13-character receipt number/case number to check your case status online on USCIS’s website.