The I-797 is a form that gets used by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”). It’s an essential tool of communication between the USCIS and those seeking either citizenship or an immigration benefit. It’s a Notice of Action document, and it contains vital information about a petitioner or applicant’s case. The I-797 gets issued when the USCIS approves a petition or application. The approval gets sent on the I-797.
The I-797C is significantly different because it communicates specific information for a petitioner or applicant beyond approval. It’s a non-approvable action form utilized for documents such as receipts, denials, transfers, requests for more information, rejections, and appointments.
For example, if a petitioner’s naturalization petition got denied, then an I-797C would get utilized to advise that person when their case is re-opened. However, it doesn’t get used for final determinations. Additionally, the I-797C operates as a receipt or rejection notice when a person files a document or request with the USCIS. Most agency processes within the federal government get governed by the Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”), and the CFR requires that people who file petitions or applications with the USCIS should receive notice of receipt or rejection of their document. The I-797C is USCIS’s designated form for such information.
In April of 2012, the I-797C started notifying petitioners and applicants that the I-797C form does not grant any immigration status or benefit. It also contains disability information should a recipient need such services. Before April of 2012, the USCIS sent this information as a document separate from the I-797C.
It’s important to understand that other communications with USCIS do not constitute official communications. Only the I-797 is the official notice and communication document from the USCIS. For instance, when a person completes a form G-1145, which is the form used for USCIS applications and petitions, there is a section on the form where a petitioner or applicant can enter their e-mail address. When a person provides an e-mail address, then within 24-hours of processing the G-1145 a petitioner or applicant will receive electronic notice of its processing, but this is an unofficial government communication.
The I-797C is not only an essential part of communication for recipients, but it’s also an important document for the USCIS as an agency. The I-797C contains tracking information that allows USCIS employees to track down information about a petition or application. A petitioner or applicant can use the information on the I-797C to file an e-request for information on USCIS.gov.