USCIS Changes Appearance of Form I-797C, Notice of Action

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has changed the paper used for Form I-797C, Notice of Action, effective April 2, 2012. The Form I-797C is now printed on plain bond paper, rather than the special paper previously used. The purpose of this change is to save the USCIS an estimated $1.1 million per year. MurthyDotCom and MurthyBulletin readers are alerted to this change, as the use of plain paper may raise questions about the authenticity of their I-797C notices.

Form I-797C: Receipt Notices, Appointment Notices, Etc

Form I-797C, Notice of Action, is used by the USCIS for specific types of communications. This notice of action is used for: receipt notices, rejection notices, transfer notices, case reopenings following motions, and USCIS appointment notices.

  • A receipt notice is issued following the filing of a petition or application. It confirms receipt of the case by the USCIS as well as payment of filing fees. It also provides tracking number information.
  • A rejection notice is issued when a filing is not accepted for filing due to incomplete information for acceptance for processing, incorrect information, or incorrect payment.
  • A transfer notice informs petitioners and applicants when cases are relocated to another USCIS office for processing.
  • A notice of reopening advises that a previously-denied case has been reopened and is being processed.
  • An appointment notice advises an applicant either that s/he has an appointment to obtain fingerprints or biometric capture or to provide dates and times for attendance at an in-person interview at USCIS.

Form I-797C: Does Not Grant a Benefit or Status

In addition to the change in paper, the new Form I-797C format includes a disclaimer at the top stating, “This Notice Does Not Grant Any Immigration Status or Benefit.” This is intended to more clearly inform the recipient that I-797C does not mean that s/he gains any specific immigration privileges or status as the result of the receipt of I-797C. Additionally, the new Form I-797C appointment notice provides disability accommodation information on the reverse side of the notice. This information was previously included as a separate page that accompanied the form. The intent is to save additional resources.

Prior Forms Remain Valid

All Forms I-797C, notices of action issued before April 2, 2012 remain valid. All forms issued on April 2, 2012 and after have the changes described above. The changes have the potential to be positive from economical and ecological points of view. Some recipients may not notice the disability information on the back of the appointment notice and others may question the official nature of a document printed on ordinary paper. Hopefully, in due course, any confusion or other problems will become minor as the USCIS’s new system of notices becomes familiar.

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Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.