Decoding the I-797 Notice of Action: What You Need to Know

The I-797 Notice of Action is a pivotal document issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), providing crucial information regarding an individual’s immigration case. Understanding the contents of this notice is essential for applicants navigating the immigration process. In this guide, we’ll decode the I-797 Notice of Action and outline key insights to help applicants interpret its significance accurately.

Deciphering the I-797 Notice of Action

The I-797 Notice of Action is a formal notification issued by USCIS to communicate various updates, decisions, or requests related to an individual’s immigration case. This multifaceted document serves as a critical point of reference throughout the immigration process and contains important information that applicants must comprehend.

Key Components of the I-797 Notice of Action

Having five key components, the I-797 Notice of Action informs applicants about their immigration cases. You’ll find its important information below.

  1. Receipt Number: The notice includes a unique receipt number assigned to the applicant’s immigration case, which serves as a reference for tracking the case’s status online or when communicating with USCIS.
  2. Case Type: The I-797 specifies the type of immigration benefit or application associated with the case, such as a petition, application for adjustment of status, request for evidence, or approval notice.
  3. Notice Date: This indicates the date when the I-797 Notice of Action was issued by USCIS, providing a reference point for timeline tracking and response deadlines.
  4. Case Status: The notice outlines the current status of the immigration case, such as receipt, approval, denial, or request for additional evidence, allowing applicants to stay informed about the progress of their case.
  5. Action Required: Depending on the nature of the notice, applicants may be required to take specific actions, such as attending an interview, providing additional documentation, or responding to USCIS requests within a specified timeframe.

Understanding the Significance

The I-797 Notice of Action plays a pivotal role in the immigration process, providing applicants with vital information about the status and next steps of their case. By comprehending the contents of this notice and adhering to any instructions or requirements outlined therein, applicants can navigate the immigration process more effectively and ensure timely compliance with USCIS procedures.

Different Types of I-797 Notice of Action Documents

The I-797 series of Notice of Action documents are critical notifications issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), providing updates on immigration applications. Each variant—A, B, C, and D—serves unique purposes, confirming receipt of applications, granting benefits, or requesting further evidence. Understanding these notices is vital for navigating the immigration process effectively.


Upon entering the United States, individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents will receive an arrival/departure record, which is also known as Form I-94. In cases where Form I-94 is not available, Form I-797A, Notice of Action, is issued as a replacement. This notice of action may be sent when a person changes their address while in the United States, among other reasons.


Individuals who are interested in obtaining an employment-based immigration visa, such as an EB-2 or EB-2 NIW, must complete and submit Form I-140, which is officially known as the “Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers.” If the petitioner’s I-140 is approved, they will receive Form I-797B, Notice of Action.


Form I-797C, Notice of Action, is sent to notify an applicant or petitioner when there is an update on their application/petition. The notice can inform the recipient that their application/petition has been received, transferred, re-opened, or rejected. Additionally, the notice may contain information about an upcoming appointment, such as for an interview, fingerprints, or biometrics.

It is crucial to read all the information in Form I-797C as it may include essential instructions. Failure to read the letter could lead to missing an appointment, which could significantly delay the process.


When USCIS sends certain benefit cards, such as a green card or work permit, they will also send a letter known as Form I-797D.

The I-797 Notice of Action Decoded

The I-797 Notice of Action serves as a crucial communication tool between USCIS and immigration applicants, conveying important updates, decisions, or requests related to their cases. By deciphering the contents of this notice and understanding its significance, applicants can stay informed about the progress of their immigration applications and take appropriate actions as necessary.