Update on Recent I-797 Receipt and Approval Notice Changes

In mid-September, USCIS began, without any notice, sending original I-797 receipt and approval notices directly to petitioners (employers). Under this new procedure, attorneys received only the courtesy copy of the notices. This flip-flops the long-standing practice of sending attorneys the original and sending employers the courtesy copy.


The new procedure contains flaws USCIS did not consider and is facing opposition. So far, USCIS has refused to suspend the new procedure, but it is hosting a public engagement on October 12th to invite "stakeholders to provide feedback that will assist the agency in identifying the impacts of this change on the stakeholder community."


Until ILG is certain the new procedure is in fact permanent, we will employ a "work-around" to ensure the original I-797 continues to come to the law firm. The work-around entails ILG using its office address as the petitioner's address, but including a cover-letter with the petition that clearly indicates the current address of the petitioner so that USCIS completes a manual check in VIBE using the petitioner's real address.


In the meantime, clients are advised to alert the company's mailroom staff that important USCIS documents will arrive (for cases filed in late September and early October), and provide directions on whom to forward such mailings to.