USCIS Form I-797: What It Is and How to Use It

Understanding USCIS Form I-797

If you’ve ever applied for a visa or immigration benefit with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you may have received a Form I-797. This form is an official document issued by USCIS to communicate with applicants and petitioners regarding their cases.

The I-797 form serves as a receipt notice, approval notice, or request for additional evidence. It contains important information about your case, such as the receipt number, case type, and processing times.

There are several types of Form I-797, each with a different purpose. Some of the most common types include:

  • I-797C, Notice of Action: This is a receipt notice that confirms USCIS has received your application or petition. It includes the receipt number, which you can use to check your case status online.

  • I-797E, Notice of Action: This is a notice of approval for an employment-based petition. It confirms that USCIS has approved your petition and includes details about the approved classification and validity period.

  • I-797F, Transportation Letter: This is a document that allows certain individuals to travel to the United States when they do not have a passport or visa. It is issued to individuals who have an urgent need to travel to the U.S. and have a pending immigration application.

  • I-797H, Approval Notice: This is a notice of approval for an H-1B petition. It confirms that USCIS has approved your petition and includes details about the approved classification and validity period.

It is important to carefully review your I-797 form when you receive it. Make sure all the information is correct and matches the information on your application or petition. If you notice any errors or discrepancies, contact USCIS immediately to have them corrected.

In conclusion, the I-797 form is an essential document for individuals who are applying for visas or immigration benefits with USCIS. Understanding the different types of I-797 forms and their purposes can help you navigate the immigration process more effectively.

Types of Form I-797

USCIS Form I-797 is a document that serves as a receipt notice for various immigration-related applications. There are five types of Form I-797, each with its own purpose and designation. Below are the different types of Form I-797 and their respective sub-sections.

Form I-797A

Form I-797A is issued to applicants who have been approved for a change of status, extension of stay, or adjustment of status. This document serves as proof of the approval and is typically required for travel and employment purposes.

Form I-797B

Form I-797B is issued to applicants who have been approved for a visa petition. This document serves as proof of the approval and is typically required for travel and visa application purposes.

Form I-797C

Form I-797C is issued as a receipt notice for various applications, such as those for employment authorization, travel documents, and petitions. This document serves as proof that USCIS has received the application and is processing it.

Form I-797D

Form I-797D is issued as a replacement for a lost or damaged Form I-797A or Form I-797B. This document serves as a duplicate of the original approval notice.

Form I-797E

Form I-797E is issued to applicants who have been granted deferred action. This document serves as proof of the grant of deferred action and is typically required for employment and travel purposes.

In summary, each type of Form I-797 serves a specific purpose and is designated for a particular application or situation. It is important to keep these documents safe and accessible as they serve as proof of USCIS approval.

Key Components of Form I-797

When you file an application or petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you will receive a Form I-797, Notice of Action, as a response. This form contains important information about your case, including the receipt number, notice type, and validity period. Understanding the key components of Form I-797 is essential to tracking the status of your case and ensuring that your application or petition is processed in a timely and accurate manner.

Receipt Number

The receipt number is a unique 13-character identifier that is assigned to your case by the USCIS. This number is used to track the status of your case and can be used to check the processing times for your particular application or petition. You should keep this number safe, as it will be required for any future inquiries or updates on your case.

Notice Type

The notice type section of Form I-797 provides information about the type of notice you have received. There are several different types of notices that you may receive, including approval notices, request for evidence notices, and denial notices. Each type of notice provides different information about the status of your case and what action you need to take.

Validity

The validity period of Form I-797 is the period of time during which the notice is valid. This period varies depending on the type of notice you have received and the status of your case. For example, if you have received an approval notice, the validity period will indicate the period of time during which you are authorized to work or stay in the United States.

In summary, Form I-797 is an important document that contains key information about the status of your case with the USCIS. Understanding the receipt number, notice type, and validity period is essential to tracking the progress of your case and ensuring that you receive timely and accurate updates from the USCIS.

Filing and Application Process

To file an application for USCIS Form I-797, you must follow a specific process. The process involves filling out the form, submitting it with the required documents, and paying the filing fee.

The filing process starts with downloading the Form I-797 from the USCIS website. You must complete all the required fields in the form, ensuring that the information you provide is accurate and up-to-date. You must also provide the necessary supporting documents, such as a copy of your passport, visa, and other relevant documents.

Once you have completed the form and gathered all the required documents, you must submit your application to the USCIS. You can submit your application by mail or in-person at a USCIS office. If you choose to submit your application by mail, make sure to use a trackable delivery method and keep a copy of your application for your records.

When submitting your application, you must also pay the filing fee. The filing fee varies depending on the type of application you are submitting. The current filing fee for Form I-797 is $460. You can pay the filing fee using a check or money order made payable to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

After submitting your application, you will receive a receipt notice (Form I-797C) from the USCIS. The receipt notice confirms that USCIS has received your application and provides you with a receipt number that you can use to track the status of your application.

In conclusion, filing an application for USCIS Form I-797 involves completing the form, submitting it with the required documents, and paying the filing fee. You can submit your application by mail or in-person at a USCIS office. Make sure to keep a copy of your application and use a trackable delivery method if submitting by mail.

Common Notices on Form I-797

When you submit an application to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency will send you a Form I-797, Notice of Action, to inform you about the status of your case. The Form I-797 is a crucial document that contains important information about your application. In this section, we will discuss the common notices that you may receive on Form I-797.

Approval Notice

An approval notice on Form I-797 means that your application has been approved by USCIS. This notice will contain information about the type of application that was approved, the validity period of the approval, and any conditions that may apply. For example, if you applied for a work visa, the approval notice will indicate the type of visa you received, the validity period of the visa, and any restrictions or conditions that apply.

Rejection Notice

If USCIS rejects your application, you will receive a rejection notice on Form I-797. This notice will explain the reasons why your application was rejected and provide instructions on how to appeal the decision. It is important to carefully review the rejection notice and understand the reasons for the rejection. You may need to provide additional documentation or information to address the issues identified by USCIS.

Transfer Notice

A transfer notice on Form I-797 means that your application has been transferred to another USCIS office for processing. This may happen if the USCIS office that received your application does not have the capacity to process it in a timely manner. The transfer notice will provide information about the new office that will be processing your application and any additional steps that you need to take.

It is important to carefully review any notices that you receive on Form I-797 and follow the instructions provided. If you have any questions or concerns, you may contact USCIS for assistance.

Form I-797 and Employment

If you are an alien worker in the United States, you may need to apply for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) to work legally. The EAD is a card that proves your eligibility to work in the US. To apply for an EAD, you must submit Form I-765 to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Once your I-765 application is approved, you will receive Form I-797, Notice of Action. This form serves as proof that your application has been approved and outlines the terms and conditions of your employment authorization. You must present this form to your employer to demonstrate that you are authorized to work in the United States.

Form I-797 is also used in other immigration processes, such as the Alien Worker Petition (Form I-140) and the H-1B visa application. If your I-140 or H-1B application is approved, you will receive Form I-797 as proof of approval.

It is important to note that Form I-797 does not serve as a work permit or employment authorization on its own. You must have a separate EAD or other work permit to legally work in the United States. Form I-797 simply serves as proof of approval for your immigration application.

When you receive Form I-797, it is important to review it carefully and understand the terms and conditions of your employment authorization. If you have any questions or concerns, you should contact USCIS or an immigration attorney for guidance.

In summary, Form I-797 is a critical document in the immigration process, particularly for those seeking employment authorization in the United States. It serves as proof of approval for various immigration applications, including the EAD, I-140, and H-1B. However, it is important to understand that Form I-797 does not serve as a work permit on its own and that you must have a separate EAD or other work permit to legally work in the United States.

Form I-797 and Immigration Status

If you are an immigrant in the United States, you may have come across USCIS Form I-797. This form is used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to communicate with you regarding your immigration status. It is important to understand the different types of Form I-797 and what they mean for your immigration status.

Form I-797 comes in different types, including approval notices, receipt notices, and transfer notices. The approval notice, also known as Form I-797A, is issued when your application for a visa or change of status has been approved. This notice includes important information such as the validity period of your status and any conditions that may apply.

On the other hand, the receipt notice, also known as Form I-797C, is issued when USCIS receives your application. This notice confirms that USCIS has received your application and provides a receipt number that you can use to track the status of your application.

If you are a lawful permanent resident, also known as a permanent resident or green card holder, you may receive a Form I-797 when you apply to renew your green card. This notice, also known as Form I-797B, confirms that USCIS has received your application and provides information on what to do next.

It is important to note that Form I-797 is not a visa. It does not grant you permission to enter or remain in the United States. Instead, it is a document that confirms your immigration status and provides important information about your application.

In summary, Form I-797 is an important document that plays a crucial role in your immigration status. Whether you are an immigrant, visa holder, or lawful permanent resident, it is important to understand the different types of Form I-797 and what they mean for your immigration status.

Form I-797 and Travel

If you are planning to travel outside the United States while your Form I-797 petition is pending, you must take certain precautions to ensure that your application is not denied or delayed. In general, USCIS does not recommend that you travel while your application is pending, but if you must travel, you should take the following steps:

  • Check the status of your application online before you leave the country. If your application is approved while you are outside the United States, you will not be able to return until you have obtained a visa from a U.S. consulate or embassy.
  • Carry a copy of your Form I-797 receipt notice with you at all times. This will serve as proof that your application is pending and will help you avoid any problems at the border.
  • If you are traveling for an emergency or other urgent reason, you may be able to obtain a transportation letter from USCIS. This letter will allow you to re-enter the United States even if your application is not yet approved. To request a transportation letter, you should contact USCIS customer service and explain your situation.

It is also important to note that if you are traveling with a nonimmigrant visa, such as an H-1B visa, you must have a valid Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record when you enter and exit the United States. You can obtain your Form I-94 online from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) after you arrive in the United States. Make sure to keep a copy of your Form I-94 with you at all times, as you may need to show it to immigration officials when you leave and re-enter the country.

In conclusion, if you must travel while your Form I-797 petition is pending, make sure to take the necessary precautions to avoid any problems at the border. Carry a copy of your receipt notice with you at all times, check the status of your application online, and consider obtaining a transportation letter if you are traveling for an emergency or other urgent reason. And if you are traveling with a nonimmigrant visa, make sure to obtain and keep a copy of your Form I-94 Arrival/Departure Record with you at all times.

Form I-797 and Identity Verification

If you are applying for certain immigration benefits with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you may receive a Form I-797, Notice of Action, as a receipt for your application. This document is important, as it provides information about your case status, processing times, and other important details. However, it is also important to note that the Form I-797 may be used for identity verification purposes.

When you are completing the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification form for a new hire, you may use the Form I-797 as a List C document to establish employment authorization. To do so, you must provide the document number and expiration date in Section 2 of the I-9 form. It is important to note that the Form I-797 may only be used as a List C document, not as a List A document.

If you are a nonimmigrant worker, you may be required to provide additional documentation to verify your identity and employment authorization when you apply for a driver’s license or state identification card. In this case, you may use the Form I-797 as a List A document to establish both identity and employment authorization. However, you must also provide a Social Security card or other acceptable List C document to complete the 6 Point ID Verification process.

It is important to note that the Form I-797 may be subject to reverification, depending on the type of employment and the expiration date of the document. For example, if you are a nonimmigrant worker with an H-1B visa, your employer may be required to reverify your employment authorization when your visa expires. In this case, you may use the Form I-797 as a receipt notice for your pending petition, along with your previous Form I-797 approval notice, to establish continued employment authorization.

In summary, the Form I-797 may be used for identity verification and employment authorization purposes in certain situations. It is important to understand the specific requirements for each type of verification and to ensure that you are providing the correct documentation. If you have any questions or concerns about the Form I-797 and identity verification, you should consult with an experienced immigration attorney or USCIS representative.

Form I-797 and Green Card Process

If you are in the process of obtaining a green card, you may receive Form I-797 from USCIS. This form is a Notice of Action that confirms receipt of your application and provides information about the status of your case. It can be an important document in the green card process.

If you are applying for a green card through adjustment of status, Form I-797 will be issued to you after you file Form I-485. This form will confirm the receipt of your application and provide information about the next steps in the process. It may also include instructions for biometric appointments or interviews.

If you are applying for a green card through consular processing, Form I-797 will be issued to you after your case is approved by USCIS. This form will confirm the approval of your case and provide instructions for scheduling an interview with a U.S. consulate or embassy.

It is important to keep your Form I-797 safe and accessible throughout the green card process. You may need to provide it to USCIS or a U.S. consulate or embassy at various stages of the process. If you lose your Form I-797, you can file Form I-824 to request a duplicate copy.

If you receive a green card, your Form I-797 will no longer be necessary. However, if your green card is lost, stolen, or damaged, you may need to file Form I-90 to replace it. If you are a conditional permanent resident, you may need to file Form I-751 to remove the conditions on your green card.

In summary, Form I-797 is an important document in the green card process. It confirms receipt of your application, provides information about the status of your case, and may include instructions for further steps in the process. Keep it safe and accessible, as you may need to provide it at various stages of the process.

Handling Request for Evidence (RFE)

If you have submitted USCIS Form I-797 and received a Request for Evidence (RFE), it means that USCIS needs additional information to process your application. An RFE is issued when the USCIS adjudicator determines that there is missing or incomplete information in your application or if there is incorrect payment or signature.

When you receive an RFE, you must respond to it within the given timeframe, which is usually 87 days. If you fail to respond to the RFE, your application will be denied. Therefore, it is important to carefully read the RFE and provide the requested evidence as soon as possible.

To handle an RFE, follow these steps:

  1. Read the RFE carefully: Read the RFE thoroughly to understand what additional information is required. Make sure you understand the instructions and provide all the requested evidence.

  2. Gather the evidence: Collect all the evidence requested in the RFE. Make sure you provide the exact documents requested and that they are in the correct format.

  3. Prepare the response: Prepare a response letter that includes a complete listing of the evidence you are submitting. Make sure to label each piece of evidence with a corresponding number or letter that matches the list in the response letter.

  4. Submit the response: Submit the response and all requested evidence to the address provided in the RFE. You can submit the response by mail or online, depending on the instructions in the RFE.

  5. Wait for a response: After you submit the response, USCIS will review your application and the additional evidence. You will receive a decision on your application after USCIS has reviewed your response.

In conclusion, if you receive an RFE, it is important to respond promptly and provide all the requested evidence. Make sure to carefully read the RFE, gather the evidence, prepare a response letter, and submit the response in a timely manner.

Dealing with Appointments and Biometrics

When you file USCIS Form I-797, you may receive an Appointment Notice or a Biometrics Appointment notice. These appointments are essential steps in the immigration process, and it is crucial to understand what they entail and how to prepare for them.

Appointment Notice

An Appointment Notice is a document that informs you of your appointment with a USCIS office. This appointment may be for an interview, a test, or to submit additional documentation. The notice will contain the date, time, and location of your appointment. It is crucial to attend your appointment on time and bring all the required documents with you. Failure to attend may result in a delay or denial of your application.

Biometrics Appointment

A Biometrics Appointment is a mandatory appointment that requires you to provide your fingerprints, photograph, and signature. These biometrics are used to conduct a background check and verify your identity. The appointment notice will contain the date, time, and location of your appointment. It is essential to attend your appointment on time and bring the appointment notice with you. Failure to attend may result in a delay or denial of your application.

When attending your Biometrics Appointment, make sure to dress appropriately and arrive early. You will need to bring your appointment notice, a valid government-issued photo ID, and any other required documents. You may also want to bring a book or something to keep you occupied, as wait times can vary.

It is essential to note that USCIS may reschedule your appointment if necessary. If you cannot attend your appointment, you must contact USCIS immediately to reschedule. Failure to do so may result in a delay or denial of your application.

In conclusion, dealing with appointments and biometrics is a crucial part of the USCIS Form I-797 process. Make sure to attend your appointments on time, bring all required documents, and dress appropriately. Contact USCIS immediately if you need to reschedule your appointment.

Form I-797 in Special Cases

If you have submitted a Form I-797 and your case requires special handling, there are a few special cases you should be aware of. These include re-scheduled appointments, re-open cases, and visa stamping. Below are some details on how these special cases are handled.

Re-scheduled Appointments

If you need to re-schedule an appointment after submitting a Form I-797, you should do so as soon as possible. You can do this by contacting the USCIS office handling your case. Be sure to provide your name, case number, and the reason for the rescheduling. You may also need to provide additional documentation or information to support your request.

Re-open Cases

If your case has been closed and you wish to re-open it, you will need to submit a new Form I-797 and pay any applicable fees. You will also need to provide a detailed explanation of why you are requesting the case to be re-opened. The USCIS will review your request and determine if it is appropriate to re-open the case.

Visa Stamping

When applying for a visa, you may need to provide a Form I-797 as part of the application process. If your application is approved, you will receive a stamped visa in your passport. This visa will allow you to travel to the United States and enter the country. However, if you need to travel before your visa is issued, you may need to apply for a temporary travel document using Form I-131A.

In conclusion, if you have submitted a Form I-797 and your case requires special handling, it is important to be aware of the special cases that may apply. By understanding the requirements and procedures involved, you can ensure that your case is handled properly and efficiently.

Form I-797 and Other USCIS Forms

When it comes to navigating the immigration process, it’s important to understand the various USCIS forms that may be required. One of the most commonly used forms is Form I-797, which is used to provide notice of action taken on a case. This form may be used to notify you of approval, rejection, transfer, or even reopening of a case.

In addition to Form I-797, there are many other USCIS forms that may be required depending on your specific situation. Some of the most common forms include:

  • Form I-129: This form is used for nonimmigrant workers, including H-1B and L-1 visa holders.
  • Form I-130: This form is used for family-based immigration petitions.
  • Form I-485: This form is used to apply for adjustment of status to become a permanent resident.
  • Form I-765: This form is used to apply for employment authorization.
  • Form I-864: This form is used to demonstrate financial support for an immigrant visa applicant.

It’s important to note that each form has its own specific requirements and instructions, so it’s essential to carefully review the instructions for each form before completing and submitting it. Additionally, some forms may require supporting documentation or evidence to be submitted along with the form.

If you’re unsure which forms are required for your specific situation, it may be helpful to consult with an immigration attorney or accredited representative. They can provide guidance and assistance in completing and submitting the necessary forms and supporting documentation.

Overall, understanding the various USCIS forms and their requirements is an important part of navigating the immigration process. By carefully reviewing the instructions and seeking guidance when needed, you can help ensure that your case is processed accurately and efficiently.

Form I-797 and Department of Homeland Security

When you file an application or petition with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you will receive a Form I-797, Notice of Action, as a receipt of your application or petition. This form is an important document that serves as proof of your application or petition submission and payment.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is the agency responsible for the USCIS. DHS is responsible for ensuring the security of the United States and its citizens, preventing terrorism and managing the immigration process. USCIS is one of the agencies under DHS that is responsible for processing immigration-related petitions and applications.

The Form I-797 is issued by USCIS, which is a component of DHS. The form is used for various purposes, including notifying applicants of receipt of their applications, providing approval notices for petitions, and requesting additional evidence or information.

The Form I-797 contains important information, such as the receipt number, which is used to track the status of your application or petition. The receipt number is also used to schedule appointments, such as biometric appointments or interviews.

If you receive a Form I-797 requesting additional evidence or information, it is important to respond promptly and provide the requested information. Failure to respond or provide the requested information may result in your application or petition being denied.

In summary, the Form I-797 is an important document issued by USCIS, which is a component of DHS. The form serves as proof of your application or petition submission and payment, and contains important information such as the receipt number. It is important to respond promptly to any requests for additional evidence or information included in the Form I-797 to avoid any delays or denials in the processing of your application or petition.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of USCIS Form I-797?

USCIS Form I-797, also known as the Notice of Action, is a document issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to communicate with individuals about the status of their immigration case. The form is used to notify applicants of receipt of their application, acceptance of their case, transfer of their case to another USCIS office, request for additional evidence, or approval of their application.

How long does it take to receive Form I-797?

The processing time for Form I-797 varies depending on the type of form and the USCIS office processing the application. Generally, it takes about 2-3 weeks to receive the form after the USCIS receives the application. However, the processing time can be longer if additional evidence is requested or if the application is transferred to another USCIS office.

What are the different types of Form I-797?

There are several different types of Form I-797, including:

  • I-797C, Notice of Action: This form is used to confirm receipt of an application, transfer of a case, or request for additional evidence.
  • I-797E, Notice of Action: This form is used to approve an application for an employment authorization document (EAD).
  • I-797F, Transportation Letter: This form is used to allow an applicant to travel outside the United States while their green card application is pending.
  • I-797H, Notice of Approval: This form is used to approve an application for a change of status.
  • I-797L, Approval Notice: This form is used to approve an application for a nonimmigrant visa.

Can I travel with a Form I-797 notice of action?

It depends on the type of Form I-797 you have received. If you have received an I-797F Transportation Letter, you can use it to travel outside the United States while your green card application is pending. However, if you have received any other type of I-797, it is not a travel document and cannot be used for international travel.

What is the processing time for Form I-797C after biometrics?

The processing time for Form I-797C after biometrics varies depending on the type of application and the USCIS office processing the application. Generally, it takes about 2-4 weeks to receive the form after the biometrics appointment.

How do I obtain a copy of my Form I-797 approval notice?

To obtain a copy of your Form I-797 approval notice, you can request it from USCIS by filing Form G-639, Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request. You can also request a copy of the form by calling the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283.

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