USCIS Reverts to Original I-797 Receipt and Approval Mailing Practice

by Chen Immigration Law Associates, 03/05/2012

On September 12, 2011, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) undertook changes in policy for mailing original I-797 receipt and approval notices. The USCIS, which is a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, began sending original I-797 receipt and approval notices directly to petitioners and applicants, rather than to their attorneys or accredited representatives. Due to public feedback and opinions by USCIS stakeholders, USCIS has reverted to its original practice. As of January 2012, all original I-797 receipt and approval notices will be mailed directly to the attorney or accredited representative cited on the Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative. Additionally, copies will be sent to the applicant or petitioner.


Various I-797 forms are utilized by the USICS in order to facilitate efficient communications with customers or to express an immigration notice. Among the seven types is Form I-797 which is issued when an application or petition is approved; Form I-797Awhich is issued to an applicant as a replacement Form I-94; Form I-797B which is issued for approval of an alien worker petition; Form I-797D which accompanies benefit cards; Form I-797E which is issued to request evidence, and Form I-797Fwhich is issued overseas to allow applicants to travel. Form I-797Cmay be issued for one of three purposes; it may be sent as USCIS acknowledgment that an application has been received and may include information to assist the applicant in continuing the process or serve as a receipt of payment for fees which accompanied the application. Form I-797Cmay also serve to notify a petitioner of an action relating to a beneficiary, such as a transfer of files, fingerprint biometric, interview, re-scheduled appointment, or notification of a re-opened case. Lastly, Form I-797Ccan also denote a notice of rejection of an application resulting from an applicant’s failure to meet immigration requirements or failure to present supporting documentation or processing fees.


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