What is Form I-797?

When a petition or application is submitted to USCIS, the applicant or petitioner will receive a Receipt notice. On receipt of the petition or application USCIS will send this receipt notice to the applicant. The receipt notice is also called as Form I-797. After the application is processed successfully, USCIS will send an approval notice on Form I-797. Be notified that Form I-797 is not a visa and cannot be used in place of a visa. It states that action is taken on your application and this will be mentioned in the form.

The use of the USCIS Approval Notice has been revised. It has four versions as follows:

• Form I-797, used only for the approval of immigrant visa petitions and adjustment of status applications.

• Form I-797A, with a tear-off I-94 card used when the applicant is inside the United States, for extension of stay and changes of non-immigrant status.

• Form I-797B, with a tear-off consular notification card used when the applicant is outside the United States or will use the approval to obtain a non-immigrant visa.

• Form I-797C, used for non-approvable actions such a filing receipts, requests for more information and denial.

The USCIS Approval Notice is a receipt that USCIS has received your application and contains information about the following:

• The applicant’s (Petitioner) personal information.

• The Beneficiary’s information (if any).

• Name of the petition.

• Receipt Number, using this number you can check the status of your application.

• Receipt Date, the date your application was received by USCIS.

• Priority Date, is your place in the waiting list queue. This date depends on the preference category you come under and the country of birth. If your priority date is the current date, it means that a visa is immediately available.

• Notice Date.

• Type of notice, whether it is USCIS Approval or receipt.

• Class, what category you belong.

• Validity of your petition. This states how long your petition is valid. The consular authorities have the right to extend your validity period.

The USCIS Approval Notice on Form I-797 has the information about how long you are permitted to have a legal stay in the United States. Please note that this date always matches with the date in the I-94 card. If your application is rejected by USCIS, you will receive Form I-797C, where the receipt number would be blank.

When you receive the USCIS Approval Notice, carefully go through the form. If you find any errors in it, you should immediately inform the centre from where you have received the USCIS Approval Notice. You can find the address of the centre in Form I-797. Keep the USCIS Approval Notice safely, as you have to include it along with the supporting documents, when you submit certain visa petitions. Moreover the USCIS Approval Notice should be taken to the embassy when called for the interview and for visa stamping process.

If the applicant does not receive the USCIS Approval Notice on Form I-797, a duplicate copy will be issued without fee. Similarly when there are errors in the USCIS Approval Notice, corrected Form I-797 will be issued without fee.

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