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Form I-797: Explored & Explained
Image of colorful cubes forming the word NOTICE on a wooden background

In this article, you will find the following topics:

  • An overview of Form I-797
  • Forms I-797 A, B, C, D, E, F
  • What to do if you lose Form I-797?

Form I-797: An Overview

Firstly, what is Form I-797? It is a document issued by the USCIS to communicate with applicants regarding their visa petition. Did you know that there are not one but seven different Forms I-797? If you have applied for a US non-immigration visa, it is crucial to know about the various Forms I-797. Let's go straight to the details.

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services sends Form I-797 to your petitioning employer after 2 or 3 weeks of submitting the visa petition. Receiving Form I-797 indicates to your employer that the USCIS has received the petition.

However, this is not the only objective of the I-797. It is a document that serves multiple purposes.

Once your employer receives the Form from the USCIS, they should read it thoroughly because the Form contains instructions that should be followed for the rest of the application process. The instructions include:

  • Interview requests
  • List of required documents
  • Request for further evidence
  • Travel instructions

The USCIS will also send Form I-797 when it approves your immigration application. The I-797 will depend on the type of immigration application submitted and the phase of the application process. So, what are the different types of USCIS Form I-797? Below is a detailed compilation of the seven types of Form I-797 and what each one denotes. Before that have a glance at all about H1B visa, an article you might be interested in reading it.

Form I-797 Approval Notice & its Other Types: A Closer Look

1. Form I-797: Receipt Notice

The I-797 Form serves as a receipt to notify you that the USCIS approves your petition. The I-797 approval notice has information regarding your petition, including your 13-digit code to monitor your I-797 case status online.

It is very important to maintain a copies of your I-797 forms to use them as proof for all your other USCIS related forms.

2. Form I-797A: Replacement for Form I-94

Form I-797A, also known as Notice of Action, is a replacement form for Form I-94. Typically, this form indicates the change of status petition is approved, and you can legally remain in the US until the USCIS arrives at a decision. You will also receive Form I-797A if you have applied for an I-94 extension, change of address, or adjust your status.

Form I-94 is the official document and can be found at the end of Form I-797A. Details required on the form include

  • Admission date
  • Admission class
  • Date until which the individual is permitted to stay

3. Form I-797B: For Form I-140, Petition for Alien Worker

Form I-797B allows you to work in the US and is sent by the USCIS if you have filed for I-140 or the Immigration Petition for Alien Worker. This form contains instructions on the main section, and the bottom part contains crucial information for entering the USA. This form also has your application details.

4. Form I-797C: Vital Information

The USCIS sends Form I-797 for the following cases:

  • Scheduled or rescheduled appointment
  • Reopening
  • Rejection
  • Transfer

The Form has five different notices for various purposes.

Also Read: All You Need to Know About an I140 Approved H1b Extension

Appointment notices or Form I-797C Notice of Action: Indicates any type of appointment to move to the next stage of the petition process. It also has information on the date and time of your appointment.

Receipt notice: Confirms the USCIS receiving your application form and filing fees. This Form has your receipt number, which you can use to track your I-797 status. So, hold on to it!

Transfer notice: Informs of cases transferred to other service centers because of prolonged processing time.

Rejection notice: The USCIS sends this notice for incomplete and inaccurate information and incomplete fee payment.

Reopened cases occur if the USCIS reopens a case that was previously denied. The USCIS may inform the petitioner that their case is being reopened and re-processed for such cases.

A typical appointment includes an interview or a biometrics appointment. If you get Form I-797C, ensure you read it carefully. Neglecting or misreading instructions can lead to delays in the case.

5. Form I-797D: Benefit card

Form I-797D contains a Benefit Card such as a Green Card, an Employment Authorization Document, or any important cards. It is wise to save your Form I-797D in case you lose your benefits card.

6. Form I-797E: Request for Evidence

This form is popularly known as I-797 E-Request for Evidence. This Form indicates the need for additional documents or evidence to process your application. The Form explains the problems with the already-sent documentation or ask for evidence that was not included. A Request for Evidence should be treated with utmost priority. Neglecting or delaying it will only lead to rejection of your petition or an unexpected delay in the processing time.

7. Form I-797F: Travel Permit

Among the I-797 forms, only Form I-797F is not a "Notice of Action." It is a travel permit or a transportation letter. You will find instructions on every I-797F that pertain to your specific case. Please make copies of this form and keep it safe.

The USCIS also issues Form I-797F for Green Card holders if their Green Card is lost, stolen, or mutilated.

How to Check Case Status Online for Lost I-797 Form & Receipt Number

You are bound to panic if you lose your Form I-797 and haven't stored your receipt number. Do not fret! Instead, you should:

Make an appointment with the USCIS.
Bring valid documents to get your receipt number.

You can use your number to check your I-797 case status online. Don't have the number? Call the USCIS at 1-800-375-5283 to check your status.

To Conclude

When it comes to Form I-797, you should do the following:

Read it carefully.
Follow the instructions.
Keep the Form safe.

Visit TechFetch H1B, a platform to find in depth and factual details about all the non-immigrant US visas, and get yourself up with regular H!B updates.

**Disclaimer : All US immigration processes are subject to change. Kindly refer to the USCIS official website for the latest updates.**

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