I-797: Notice of Action

What is I-797 Form?

Form I-797 is a family of forms designed to notify applicants. USCIS issues I-797 form, also known as a Notice of Action, to applicants to communicate information about the immigration status or benefit. Unlike other USCIS forms, applicants do not complete Form I 797 to hear back from the USCIS. Instead, USCIS proactively sends the applicant a Notice of Action. There are several types of Form I-797. Each type is utilized to communicate specific information. If you have received a I-797, refer to the table below to understand the notice.


A Notice of Action is issued to notify an applicant when a petition is approved. Only the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services has the authority to approve an applicant’s petition. This can be used as proof for certain benefits an immigrant can receive. 


This Notice of Action is issued to an applicant to replace Form I-94. I-94, also known as the Arrival Departure Record Card, tracks non-U.S. citizens or permanent residents on when they enter and leave the United States. I-94 form is issued by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency. For applicants who get an extension (I-539) or a non-immigration work petition, they will receive a Form I-797A to replace I-94.


Notice of Action is issued to notify an alien worker petition is approved. Applicants with I-797B do not receive Form I-94. If an applicant is residing outside the U.S. at the time of the notice, she must receive a visa stamping from a U.S. embassy or consulate before traveling to the U.S.


Notice of Action is issued to communicate an update on the applicant’s case. Update includes receiving payments, rejecting applications, transferring files, fingerprint biometric, interview and re-scheduled appointments, and re-open cases.


Notice of Action is issued. I-797D is accompanied by benefit cards. Examples of benefit cards include a permanent resident card (green card) and an employment authorization document.


Notice of Action is issued to request evidence. Applicants may be contacted by the USCIS if additional information is required for their case.


Notice of Action is issued overseas to permit applicants to travel.

What should I Know about Form I-797C?

As of April 2012, the USCIS has implemented a new paper to print the form as a cost savings measure. While this change does not much affect how applicants interpret the form, there are several key items about the form. As stated above, I-797C communicates an application receipt, rejection, transfer, case reopening, or appointment at the USCIS.

  • Applicants may receive an application receipt notice after filing a petition. On the notice, the applicant can find a tracking number information that can be used to check the case status at the National Visa Center.
  • Applicants may receive a rejection notice if the application contains incomplete information or incorrect payment. This notice is a rejection of the filing, not necessarily a rejection of the application. Correcting the errors in the applicants may lead to a resubmission of the application.
  • Applicants may receive a transfer notice if the applicant is being relocated to another USCIS processing office. This may occur as certain application criteria are exclusively processed by specific regional offices. For example, Applicants seeking to remove their inadmissibility must file I-601 to an appropriate USCIS processing office based on their application status.
  • Applicants may receive a reopening notice if a previously denied case is reopened and is being processed by a USCIS office.

Applicants may receive an appointment notice if the application requires a fingerprints or biometric to be captured at a local USCIS office. To find out if the application requires a biometric, visit the USCIS Form page. Note there is typically a biometrics service fee required by the USCIS.