What is Form I-797 and What is next after receiving the immigration form?

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This educative article will explain some important things we need to know about the Form I-797, Notice of Action and the next thing after receiving an I-797 immigration form.

What is Form I-797?

Form I-797 Notice of Action is a form sent to someone who has submitted an application or petition to the USCIS. Basically, this is sent to you once the people at USCIS have received your application, which usually happens after two to three weeks.

The most important thing to know about Form I-797 is that it serves multiple purposes. For examples, it may be sent to inform you about the approval of your application, or it may ask for extra evidence for your application to be approved. In some other cases, it can also tell you when your scheduled appointment should take place.

What is the next step after receiving I-797 immigration form?

If a person changes or extends his/her status while legally in the United States, a Form I-797, Approval Notice will have a new Form I-94 located at the bottom of the notice. The Form I-94 number should match the Form I-94 issued to the person upon his/her last entry into the United States.

It’s also important to know how Form I-797 looks.

Basically, this form has its top left-hand corner imprinted with a number that has three letters at the beginning. After the three numbers, there are ten digits on the lower end of the form. There is a replacement I-94 card on the form.

You will also find a

  • description of the action you requested,
  • as well as your name,
  • visa classification,
  • approved and validity dates.

Types of Form I-797

  • Form I-797 Standard Notice: Issued when an application or petition is approved.

In case you receive this particular Form I 797, then it means USCIS is notifying you about the approval of your application or petition.

This isn’t the actual document that you need, it is nothing but a receipt. It cannot be used for jobs, travel, or anything of the source. In addition, as USCIS specifies Form I-797 is not a form you can fill out despite not being able to be used for any of these purposes. You still need to keep a copy of this receipt. So you have evidence in case something happens.

This form gives you the information about your application and it also allows you to track your case on the official USCIS website.

  • Form I-797A, Notice of Action: Issued to an applicant as a replacement Form I-94

This form is not that different from the regular I-797 form. The difference is that this one is used as a replacement for an I-94 form with the bottom serving as the official document.

Basically, this form has meant for foreign people who want to come to the US and is also known as the Arrival departure record of the document. You will find the date to which you are allowed to stay, the admission class, and the date of the admission.

  • Form I-797 B, for I-140 B, Notice of Action: Issued for approval of an alien worker petition.

If you are an immigrant who wants to work in the US, the chances are that you submitted Form I-140. If that is the case, then you will receive form I-797 B. This will give you details about your application, like information for admission to the US and many other things.

  • Form I-797C, Notice of Action: Issued to communicate receipt of payments, rejection of applications, transfer of files, fingerprint biometric, interview and re-scheduled appointments, and re-open cases.

Form I-197C, is usually sent to give you some important information. To be more specific, it will inform you in case of a scheduled or rescheduled appointment transfer, reopening or rejection.

It is probably the most common type of Form I-797 sent to applicants. You should read this paper very carefully because it will tell you what you should do next with your application. Make sure you don’t end up ignoring or misunderstanding certain aspects of this form. This may lead to delays and you don’t want that.

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  • Form I-797D: Accompanies benefit cards.

With Form I-797D, you will receive a benefit card in general. You don’t really need to do anything with this form, but you should still make sure to keep it for potential evidence. Keep in mind that this form includes a green card or another official document usually.

  • Form I-797E, Notice of Action: Issued to request evidence.

You may have applied to the USCIS, but even if you submitted some evidence, it may not be enough to give you approval. That being said, USCIS will ask you for additional information, which is usually asked for through Form I-797E, called the Request for Evidence.

If you read this form, you will notice that it says there may be a potential problem with the evidence you sent or that there wasn’t any evidence provided. Read it carefully and follow the instructions on it. You should meet the time limit too, or else your application may be rejected.

  • Form I-797F, Transportation Letter: Issued overseas to allow applicants to travel.

Form I 797 F is the most unique one of the bunch. Unlike the other forms, this one can be used for travel as it is a travel permit. Make sure to follow the instructions the document gives you, and you will be able to travel.

Hints:

Whenever a person files a petition or application with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS), a Form I-797, Receipt Notice is issued. The document serves as proof the USCIS has received a person’s petition or application.

Usually, this form is just a receipt that shows you’ve submitted an application for a particular benefit. Once USCIS establishes that you are eligible to receive the benefit for which you submitted the application, they will send you an I-797. This will tell you more about the immigration benefit. If any benefit has been given to you, then you need to carefully read the notice sent to you.

Question: Can I use Form I-797 in place of a visa?

Answer: No, Form I-797 is a totally different document and it cannot be used in place of a visa, even USCIS clearly specifies this. If you happen to leave the US and want to enter the country, you will need an actual visa.

However, if you are an immigrant and need an extension of status, you can apply for it to the USCIS. If the application is approved, you’ll receive Form I-797A, which is proof that USCIS has received your application and accepted it.

This means that you can remain in the US under the new status or the current one, depending on whether you’ve applied for a change or an extension of status. Your stay is determined by the date written in the form.

But if you leave the US and want to return, you cannot use Form I-797A for that, you need to apply for a visa. It’s important to understand what Form I-797 is. You want to know why you’ve received it, but no matter the reason, two things are clear. You need to read the document carefully and you need to keep a copy of it.

I hope this article has been helpful to you.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an immigration attorney, therefore I cannot consult you on your personal case and review your forms. My knowledge is based on the information publicly available on USCIS website and other resources (such as immigration channels on YouTube, articles online, Reddit, etc). YOU MAY NOT cite these article in the “Preparer” section on your immigration applications.