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Differences between Forms I797A, I797B, I797C, I797D, I797E, and I797F

Differences between Forms I797A, I797B, I797C, I797D, I797E, and I797F

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Form I797 is a Notice of Action form that is issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to communicate details that pertain to petitions with applicants. When a petition is submitted to the USCIC, you will received this form when the government confirms that it has been received. 

A Notice of Action form can have several purposes. It can illustrate that an application has been approved, can be used to request the submission of further evidence to support a petition; or it can serve as a notice for a scheduled appointment. There are seven different types of Form I797, and each type communicates the details of a petition once it is received by the USCIS. The seven types include:

  • I797

  • I797A

  • I797B

  • I797C

  • I797D

  • I797E

  • I797F

Below, we will highlight the differences between each Form I797 type. 

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Form I797 – Standard Notice of Action

A Form I797 is a standard Notice of Action form. The USCIS issues this form to applicants to let them know that their petition or application has been approved. A standard Form I797 is merely a receipt of an application or a petition, so it is usually not accepted as an official document for job applications or during travel. 

That being said, the standard Form I797 contains important information about your petition such as the receipt number, which is usually printed on the upper left-hand corner of the form. This unique 13-digit number begins with three letters and is followed by 10 numerals; it can be used to check the status of your case on the USCIS website. 

This form may also feature a description of the requested action as well as the name of the individual or the organization that filed the application. Other valuable information includes the visa classification that has been approved and the validity dates of the visa. The applicant’s Form I-94, the Arrival/Departure Record,  is also issued with standard Form I797. It indicates the date the foreign national was admitted into the U.S., his or her admission class, and the date that he or she is permitted to remain in the country. 

It’s important to retain the standard Form I797, as the document may be used as evidence for other supporting documents you may be required to fill out. 

Form I797A – Replacement I-94 form

Form I797A may feature all of the information that a standard Form I797 contains; however, it is usually issued as a replacement for Form I-94. The bottom portion of a Form I979A acts as the official document while the other sections of the form contain other relevant information. 

A Form I797A is only issued to foreign nationals who are currently admitted to the U.S. and who are changing their status. For example, a foreign national may wish to change his or her status to an F-1 or  H-1 visa. The “A” represents that the applicant’s change of status has been approved and that he or she is legally permitted to remain in and work in the U.S. For that reason, Form I797A will typically be issued with an original I-94 document attached to it to confirm the approval of the applicant’s status.

Form I797B – Petition for alien worker

The USCIS issues a Form I797B when a foreign national submits a Form I-140, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker. This version of Form 1797 is issued to foreign nationals who are currently living within the U.S. as well as applicants submitting the petition from their country of residence. Form I797B indicates that the applicant’s Form I-140 has been approved. 

A Form I797B is not usually issued with a Form I-94. If you are issued a Form I797B, the USCIS has usually already approved your petition, but your request for an Extension of Stay has not yet been approved. In such cases, you may be required to exit the U.S. and return to your country of residence to have your visa stamped at an American consulate in your prior home country. 

You may have to attend an interview at the U.S. consulate in your home country and provide additional documentation to support your case to reside in the U.S. Once your visa is stamped and the supporting evidence has been approved, you will usually be allowed re-entry the U.S. The USCIS may also issue a Form I797B if you applied for an H-1B visa outside of the U.S. 

With a Form I797B, you may usually remain in the U.S. until the end of your valid stay, which is typically found on your most recent Form I-94, as this date indicates when the permission you were granted to remain in the country expires.

Form I797C – Important information 

A Form I797C is one of the most commonly issued versions of the I797 form. The USCIS issues a Form I797C to communicate critical information regarding your application. For instance, it may issue this form to notify you when a payment has been received or in other circumstances ranging from an application rejection to file transfer, case reopening, appointment for biometrics or scheduled interview. 

The form may also contain information regarding the next steps in your application process. If you receive information on next steps, read through it carefully as mistakes may delay your case.

A Form I797C may also serve as a copy of your approved petition and is usually issued to your employer and placed in your reference file. The major difference between Form I797A, I797B, and I797C is that both A and B are issued to applicants, while C is issued directly to the applicant’s employer.

Form I797D – Benefits card

Applicants who are issued a Form I797D will receive a benefits card that may serve as an official document, such as a Green Card or an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).

Form I797E – Request for Evidence

Form I797E is a Request for Evidence. If you receive this form, it usually means that the USCIS may not have received all of the necessary evidence with your application. The form indicates and explains any problems with evidence you have already submitted and next steps to resolve outstanding issues in your case.

Form I797F – Travel permit

A Form I797F is the only version of this form that does not serve as a Notice of Action. Rather, it permits you to travel. This version of form I797F, the Travel Permit, is issued to overseas applicants and usually contains information on the next steps the applicant should take. Copies of this form may also be kept and stored for personal records.

What should you do if you receive a Form I797? 

It is usually simple to determine the next steps the applicant should take once they receive a Form I797, as this information will be clearly stated on the form itself. 

Some versions of Form I797, such as Forms I797A, I797B, and I797D usually do not require further action. Forms I797C and 1797E require you to take additional steps. 

If additional evidence is requested through Form I797E, ensure that only photocopies of the original documents are submitted to the USCIS unless stated otherwise as you may not receive them back once your case is closed.

The takeaway

Form I797 and all its variations typically serve as announcements of the results and decisions of the USCIS regarding the submitted petition or application. Each version of the form is meant to communicate different information and additional steps the applicant may take if needed.

While the process of applying and obtaining the visa may appear daunting, this guide is intended to help simplify the process of starting your new life in the U.S. After you have been approved for your visa and are preparing to travel to the U.S., consider how you will live during your stay — especially how you manage your finances from setting up a bank account to managing your credit. In the U.S., credit history is important in securing things necessary for everyday life from credit cards to utilities and even your apartment. 

How Nova Credit can help you establish credit in the U.S.

Nova Credit creates a global Credit Passport that helps people bring their credit history with them when they move to the U.S. While your credit history won’t be transferred to national bureau databases, creditors and lenders can use your Credit Passport to evaluate your application for a loan, apartment, and other services. 

Nova Credit currently connects to international credit bureaus in Australia, Brazil, Canada, India, Mexico, Nigeria, South Korea and the UK.

Moved to the U.S. from Australia, India or the UK?

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A strong credit score helps you access a lot in the U.S., and a credit card is an easy way to start building your U.S. credit score. Access your free international credit score, and see which U.S. credit cards could be right for you. No SSN required

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