I-797 Notice of action

What Is Form I-797 Notice of Action?

If you’ve ever applied for an immigrant visa or green card then you’ve likely received form I-797 notice of action from USCIS. This letter comes in several different forms but they all give you more information about your case or require an action from you.

The I-797 notice of action is a letter from USCIS that let’s you know what is happening with your case.

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Form I-797 contains the following information:

  • Petitioner name – This will be the name of the US citizen or LPR submitting the petition to USCIS.
  • Beneficiary name – This will be the foreign beneficiary or the person seeking to immigrate to the United States.
  • Petition type – The petition type is simply the name of the form that was submitted. For example, if you are adjusting status then the petition type will be form I-485.
  • Receipt number – The receipt number is basically your case number. You will use it to check your case status online on Uscis.gov.
  • Date received – The date that USCIS received your petition will be on the I-797. This is very important for those of you filing as lawful permanent residents because that will be your priority date. Your priority date determines when a visa will become available for your family member.

i-797 notice of action letter

Case Example:

Ahmed came to the US on a student visa 5 years ago and met his wife while studying Engineering. After dating for a year, they got married and submitted the adjustment of status paperwork for Ahmed. After several weeks, they received the I-797C notice of action from USCIS. This letter had Ahmed’s receipt number and said that his petition was accepted.

When you receive your form I-797, make sure that you hold on to it. Not only can you use it as proof of pending petition or application but you can also use it to show your current status as pending.

The I-797 will include your receipt number and this lets you check your USCIS case status online.

What Does Form I-797 Notice of Action Look Like?

The actual I-797 notice of action looks like an official letter from USCIS. The envelope will say that it’s from the “United States Citizenship and Immigration Services“.

Once you open the letter, it will say “Department of Homeland Security” and USCIS at the top left corner. The letter will also let you know which form was sent. We will go further into what the “letter” after “I-797” means a bit later.

USCIS has recently changed the look of the I-797 notice of action but the purpose has stayed the same. The old letter had a different look to it and the newer version has in big block letters “This notice does not grant any immigration status or benefit.

Find out how long it will take from Receipt to Approval (NOA1->NOA2)

Old I-797 Notice of Action

The image below shows you what the old I-797 notice of action looked like. It had more style to it; I’m not sure why they changed it. ????

form I-797 notice of action old

New I-797 Notice of Action

The next image is the most recent look of the I-797 notice of action form. As you can see it has bold text that says “THIS NOTICE DOES NOT GRANT ANY IMMIGRATION STATUS OR BENEFIT.” USCIS really wants you to know that the notice of action isn’t legal status in the US.
I-797 notice of action new

When Happens After You Receive Form I-797?

Let’s say that you’ve just submitted your adjustment of status petition on form I-485. USCIS will initially look at your petition to see if it’s complete.

Next, they will mail you the I-797 notice of action to let you know they have accepted your petition.

This is good news, of course!

But there are other decisions that can be sent on form I-797 and not all of them good.

Decisions that USCIS notifies applicants about on form I-797C:

  • Receipt
    • This type of notice will let you know that USCIS has received your petition. You should receive this notice within 2 weeks, if not make sure to reach out to USCIS customer service.

  • Rejection
    • The I-797 notice of action can also be sent to you if USCIS has rejected your petition. This means that you either didn’t qualify or you may not have provided the correct payment. Usually, if you forget to include evidence, that is not a reason for a rejection notice. Instead, USCIS would send you a request for evidence allowing you to respond with the documents they need.
  • Transfer
  • Re-open
    • If a case is being reopened, you will receive a notice from USCIS with this decision. If your case was closed in the past and you submit a motion to reopen it, this is the notice that will be sent.
  • Appointment
    • an appointment notice can mean fingerprints, biometric capture, interview, or rescheduled interview. This letter will include the location, date and time of the appointment. You can reschedule the appointment by calling USCIS customer service at 1-800-375-5283 or scheduling an info pass.

Can you go for an early walk-in appointment for your biometrics?

i-797 notice of action appointment.png

What Is The Difference Between I-797a and I-797c?

The I-797 notice of action isn’t just one form. It’s actually seven different forms that all have a specific purpose. I’ve listed a breakdown of each form type and what it’s used for.

  • Form I-797 Notice of Action
    • This form is sent when your application or petition has been approved.
  • Form I-797A Notice of Action
    • This form is sent as a replacement for form I-94.
  • Form I-797B Notice of Action
    • This form is sent for approval of alien worker petition.
  • Form I-797C Notice of Action
    • This form is sent to provide you with important information about your case.
  • Form I-797D Notice of Action
    • This form is sent when you are receiving a benefit card such as a green card.
  • Form I-797E Notice of Action
    • This form is sent when you are getting a request for evidence (RFE)
  • Form I-797F Transportation Letter
    • This form allows you to travel to the US if you are applying from overseas. It is usually issued to green card holders that need to travel back to the US if they lose their green card abroad.

WHEN WILL MY CASE BE 

APPROVED?

Knowing when your case will be approved shouldn't be a mystery...

 

Get access to our exclusive

Visa Case Tracker!

If You Don’t Receive The I-797 Notice of Action

After you submit your petition or application to USCIS, it can take up to 2 weeks to receive your notice of action.

However, if weeks or months go by without receiving this notice you should contact USCIS:

You should also check to see if the address USCIS has on file is correct. If not, call customer service to update your mailing address.

Additionally, you can check your case status online if you haven’t received your I-797 notice. Simply call customer service and ask them to provide your receipt number. But, it’s important to try to get the I-797 form mailed to you for your records.

Final Thoughts on I-797 Notice of Action

The I-797 notice of action is a way for USICS to communicate what is happening with your petition or application. There are several different types, each with a specific purpose.

The I-797 will contain important information such as your receipt number, priority date (for LPR), and appointment information.

Note: you may receive an email version of the notice of action but you will still get the form in the mail.

You will likely receive multiple notices throughout your case processing timeframe. The first notice will be your receipt notice and then you’ll receive the decision notice at a later date.

Both will be important for your records so hold on to them.

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The Migrant Academy is an interactive online community with extensive online immigration courses, live coaching calls, downloadable resources and case tracker. Join an amazing community of other couples on their journey through USCIS case approval.

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