What Happens After the USCIS Makes a Decision?

If you've already submitted an application or interviewed for a visa, you're probably anxiously awaiting a response from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Whether the USCIS decides to approve or reject your application, what happens after?

How Does the USCIS Decide?

Immigration agents are tasked with reviewing your application and performing interviews to determine your eligibility. For green cards, interviews are a crucial part of the process that helps immigration agents evaluate your character and commitment to becoming a citizen.

In addition to documentation regarding your identity and background, immigration agents use background checks to ensure that you do not have a criminal record or past involvement in criminal acts that could disqualify you from receiving immigration benefits.


If your case is approved, a class of admission or COA is applied to 'bookmark' the law used to adjust your status or apply for a visa. This will show up on your application as a code or symbol.

You should receive written notice of approval in the mail. Once you do, the immigration officer will confirm your information and begin processing your visa. Wait times for visas vary, and it's important to note that while you may be approved, your immigration status cannot change until you receive your visa.

Also, remember that due to the COVID-19 pandemic and backlogs, you may experience longer wait times, and it could take months to receive your visa.


The USCIS denies cases for several reasons, from criminal records to missing paperwork. If you receive a denial notice, that means that you will not receive a visa due to some indication or evidence found during the application process.

A notice should include the basis of denial, which will let you know why your application was denied.

The basis for denial may be:

  • Ineligibility: You did not meet one or more eligibility requirements. If this is the case, the notice of denial should list why you are ineligible for immigration benefits.
  • Discretionary Reasons: These are your case's positive and negative factors and their impact on the final decision. If you receive a denial, for this reason, the notice will include the reason why the negative factors outweighed the positive.

Denial notices will also explain which laws or regulations played a role in your case and give you more information about motions to reopen or the appeals process.


Even if your application is denied, you have options. The USCIS will allow you to appeal the decision in immigration court. Unless your case is closed, you will not need to file a motion to reopen but rather a motion to reconsider.

If you want to appeal your case, do so with the help of an attorney. NEVER attempt to file an appeal or defend yourself in immigration court – hire a lawyer with experience who can act on your behalf. Appeals also involve the collection of documents and evidence, which takes skill and knowledge.

I Want to File an Appeal

If you want to file an appeal based on the decision from the immigration court, contact Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A. Our firm has over 50 years of combined legal experience, and we handle a variety of immigration matters, from appeals to citizenship and more.

Don't wait! Contact our firm today and fight for your future!