USCIS

When a petition or application is approved by US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) an I-797 Notice of Action is issued. The original I-797 Notice of Action contains two parts. One part is to be retained by the employer and one part is to be retained by the employee. We discuss the USCIS I-797A and I-797B Notices of Actions here.

What is a USCIS Form I-797A Notice of Action?

A USCIS Form I-797A Notice of Action is an official communication from USCIS to an applicant or petitioner to inform them of the approval of their case. An I-797A is issued upon the approval of a petition for an extension or change of status. For employment-based petitions, an I-797A is typically issued with the approval for an extension of a work visa such as an H-1B visa, TN visa, or L1 visa.  An I-797A is also issued when approving a change of status from one nonimmigrant visa status to another such as a TN visa to an H1B visa.

What portion of the I-797A does the employer keep and what portion is given to the employee?

As per the guidance from USCIS:

The petitioner (employer) should keep the upper portion of this notice. The lower portion should be given to the beneficiary(ies). The beneficiary(ies) should keep the right part (the I-94 portion) with his or her other Form I-94, Arrival-Departure Record. The I-94 portion should be given to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection when he or she leaves the United States. The left part is for his or her records. A person granted an extension of stay who leaves the U.S. and is not visa-exempt must normally obtain a new visa before returning. The left part can be used when applying for a new visa. If a visa is not required, he or she should present it, along with any other required documentation, when applying for reentry based on this approval notice at a port of entry or pre-flight inspection station.

The petitioner (employer) keeps the original top portion of the approval notice along with a copy of the entire approval notice before detaching the bottom portion to give to the beneficiary (employee).

A copy of the entire approval along with the original bottom left and right portions are given to the beneficiary (employee).

USCIS I797A Approval

What does Form I-797B, Notice of Action mean?

A USCIS Form I-797B Notice of Action is an official communication from USCIS to an applicant or petitioner to inform them of the approval of their case. An I-797B is issued for an employee that will be processing their visa at a US Embassy, Consulate, or US Port of Entry.

The petitioner (employer) keeps the original top portion of the approval notice along with a copy of the entire approval notice before detaching the bottom portion to give to the beneficiary (employee).

A copy of the entire approval along with the original bottom portion is given to the beneficiary (employee).

USCIS I797B Approval Notice

Country of citizenship and the I-797 approval type determine how to process your H-1B visa. Citizens of certain countries, such as Canada, have special exceptions that eliminate the requirement for visa stamping at a US Consulate or Embassy. If you have any questions about processing for an H-1B visa after approval from USCIS, we can help.

Employment-based Immigration

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