USCIS ERROR IN APPROVAL NOTICE MAILINGS
Important Message for All Company Representatives Assisting with Immigration Matters:
USCIS is temporarily sending original approval notices directly to the Petitioner or Applicant. Ordinarily, USCIS will send a Courtesy Copy of immigration approval notices to the Petitioner or Applicant (the employer or the foreign national, depending on the case type), and the original approval notice to the attorney of record.
In the past few days, we have noticed that we are receiving from USCIS the courtesy copy of immigration approval notices, rather than the original. We contacted USCIS and the agent referenced a new Form G-28 – this is the attorney representation form which allows USCIS to communicate with the attorney regarding a matter. We didn’t know what they were talking about. Today, USCIS issued a statement indicating that a new form has been developed, but is not yet available outside of USCIS. However, USCIS changed their internal procedures based on this form already. As a result, if a particular box is not checked to send correspondence to the attorney, USCIS is not doing so. Problem is – this box does not exist on the current G-28, which is the only one available to us. (That’s right – we couldn’t make this stuff up.)
USCIS does not provide a date when the new G-28 will be available for use. Therefore, please let your attorney or contact at LAC know if your company receives an original approval notice. This is important because in many cases the foreign national will need the original approval notice for work authorization and travel purposes. When we receive the approval, we record the information on it for accuracy and expiration tracking purposes, and send correspondence regarding the significance of the approval to both the employer and the employee. For nonimmigrant visa matters we also provide the employee with a copy of the underlying petition and travel information specific to the approval.
It is very difficult and can take months to obtain a duplicate approval notice from USCIS. Therefore, it is critical that these documents do not get lost if received by parties who don’t recognize their significance.
So you know what to look for to determine if you have received an original Approval Notice.
– The original approval notice is issued on Form I-797 or I-797A (reflected on the bottom left of the notice)
– Upper left: Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service
– Upper right: Notice of Action
– Notice Type: Approval Notice
Other types of notices you may receive are issued on Form I-797C, Notice of Action. These include Courtesy Copies of Approval Notices, Receipt Notices and Transfer Notices. It is the I-797 / I-797A that we need; please alert us if you receive it. We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope USCIS will resolve this matter quickly.
Please note that it is our standard operating procedure to contact the client when we receive correspondence from USCIS related to their case. If we have not contacted you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that an approval was issued but we don’t have it. You can confirm the status of a case by checking the USCIS website: https://egov.uscis.gov/casestatus/landing.do. This will be updated when a case is approved. It usually takes 7 to 14 days thereafter for us to receive the approval notice from USCIS.
If you would like to review the USCIS statement, please see http://www.uscis.gov/news/alerts/important-information-pending-cases-during-transition-current-version-form-g-28-revised-version.