Law Offices of Stuart J. Reich, PLLC

Practice Limited to Immigration & Nationality Law

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What is an I-797? What do people mean by “NOA 1” and "NOA 2?"

Q: I see a lot of information on-line that mentions a “Form I-797”? or “Notice of Action” - what is this?

A: This is a form US Citizenship and Immigration Services uses to provide information. Officially, the name of the form is a “Notice of Action.” Here’s a list of just five of the things an I-797 might mean:

  • A “Receipt Notice” acknowledging that they have received a case, providing a case number that can be used for tracking and as a receipt for fees paid;
  • A “Biometrics Notice” providing an appointment date and time for fingerprinting and pictures as part of a background check (required for certain applications);
  • A “Transfer Notice” sending the case to another facility for adjudication or further processing;
  • An “Appointment Notice” setting a date for an in-person interview at a USCIS office; or
  • An “Approval Notice” for an application or petition (called a “Welcome Notice” in the case of approval of an I-485 Application to Adjust Status).

An I-797 Notice of Action can be issued for many different purposes – there is no one thing that “I-797” means unless specified (i.e.: “I-797 Receipt Notice” or “I-797 Appointment Notice”).

Q: I see people using terms like “NOA 1” and “NOA 2” – what do these mean?

A: These mean almost nothing. Although frequently used on message boards and often referring to the order in which an I-797 Notice of Action has been received after filing a case, the order doesn’t necessarily tell you anything about the significance of the I-797.

In most cases, the initial I-797 (often referred to as “NOA 1”) will be a Receipt Notice, as described above. However, it could in theory also be a Rejection Notice where the initial filing isn’t accepted for processing.

“NOA 2” – the second I-797 Notice of action Received after filing – may be a Biometrics Appointment Notice, a Transfer Notice, a Notice of an Appointment, an Approval, or other notice depending on the type of case, the specific facts of an individual case, and/or workload or policy shifts at USCIS.

Referring to a USCIS notice by “NOA number” is therefore confusing, potentially dangerous, and essentially useless without further specifics on what the I-797 form is actually about.

Contact us here to arrange a consultation, to inquire about retaining us to handle your immigration matter, or simply to suggest topics you would like to see covered on our site.

The above is presented for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship with our firm. The information provided should not be used as guidance in pursuing an immigration matter absent consultation with a qualified immigration attorney.