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What Is a Form I-797C Notice of Action?

By Danielle Smyth - Updated March 01, 2019
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Form I-797C Notice of Action is a generic USCIS notice that is sent to an immigration applicant or petitioner if action is needed on the part of the applicant or to inform him of the status of the application. According to the United States Customs and Immigration Services, these forms may be sent to advise status or next steps, regardless of the type of application you have completed. Form I-797C will have different instructions depending upon the actions that need to be taken. Simply stated, these forms contain instructions for you to complete before your application can be processed further. It’s important to heed any instructions presented to you on the form so that your application can progress.

Who Receives Form I-797C?

Some of the reasons that you would receive a USCIS notification Form I-797C are to acknowledge receipt of forms that you have submitted; as a rejection of some or part of your application; an indication that your application is being transferred to a different department; a reopening of your case file or a notice of an appointment, such as fingerprinting, biometric capture, interview or rescheduling of appointments.

What Does Form I-797C Look Like?

The form is printed on plain bond paper and states: THIS NOTICE DOES NOT GRANT ANY IMMIGRATION STATUS OR BENEFIT. After that statement, it contains instructions that you must follow to the letter for your application to continue processing. Any delay in filling out these forms will delay your application. To assure that you are following the requests to a letter, contact the agent that is handling your immigration case.

You do not have to be going through an immigration visa to have an I-797C notice of action form sent to you. Foreign nationals may receive Form I-797C as a result of changing from one nonimmigrant classification to another, such as switching your student visa to a work visa. You can also have a form filed for you by your employer or other entity.

USCIS recognizes that depending on the state, local, public or private benefits, granting agencies could accept Form I-797C as evidence for awarding benefits that they administer. This includes any insurance packages, identification or tax filing status. The ability to do so is dependent entirely on the state.

In the case where you have the assurance that your visa will be processed, the use of the form as evidence for benefits may be your best option. However, you must complete all the requests for action to continue to receive those benefits. So while you can access some benefits through filing depending on the state, it is imperative that you fully comply and complete your residency actions to maintain your visa status.

Every form that you receive from the USCIS will be clearly noted and will not ask for any banking information. If the forms ask you for any money or access to bank accounts, or if you suspect any fraudulent behavior, contact the USCIS representative that has been handling your case.

Checking I-797C Status

The process of your United States Citizenship and Immigration Service Form I-797C is easiest to follow through the USCIS online portal. All you need to check is your application receipt number from the USCIS. Your 13-character application receipt number is clearly printed on application notices that you have received from the USCIS office. Do not enter the number with any dashes. Other information that you should provide includes your full name, email address and case type.

It is important to note that this status site is not endorsed by any government agency. When you click on the link you are agreeing to have the site cross-reference your data with the USCIS database. The information will be transmitted to the USCIS and results will be obtained for you, however. When you check the status you are agreeing to share the information you provided while you were searching. You can also check the status of your case by visiting the USCIS website, which will tell you its general processing time.

About the Author

Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. Her experience includes years of work in the insurance, workers compensation, disability, and background investigation fields. In addition to being the content writer and social media manager for Alliance Worldwide Investigative Group, she has written on legal topics for a number of other clients. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing (www.wordsmythcontent.com), and she enjoys writing legal articles and blogs for clients in related industries.

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