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USCIS Transitions to Direct Mailing of Original Receipt and Approval Notices to Applicants and Petitioners

Effective 9/12/2011, USCIS began mailing original I-797 receipt and approval notices directly to applicants and petitioners. Copies of the notices are being sent to attorneys or accredited representatives, if a Form G-28, Notice of Entry of Appearance as Attorney or Accredited Representative, was submitted with the application. Prior to this, USCIS had sent the original notice to the attorney or accredited representative of record and the copies went to the applicant or petitioner. Additionally, effective 11/28/11, documents produced as the result of an approved application will be mailed directly to the address provided by the applicant rather than the attorney or accredited representative on file. These adjustments are to ensure that original receipts and notices, decisions, and documents produced are mailed directly to the address specified by the applicant or petitioner.

For Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, USCIS will allow petitioners who wish to continue the practice of having the original receipt and approval notices sent to their attorney may use the attorney’s address as the mailing address on the petition. However, please note that using an alternate address other than the petitioner’s address as the mailing address may result in processing delays related to the Validation Instrument for Business Enterprises (VIBE) which automatically uses the address provided on the petition to validate the petitioner’s current location. Therefore in these circumstances where the petitioner uses an attorney’s address as the mailing address on Form I-129, USCIS recommends including a cover letter indicating the actual address of the petitioner. Please also note that if an attorney’s address is used as the petitioner’s mailing address, the petitioner will not receive any I-797 notices.

Lastly with regard to cases filed through premium processing, USCIS will mail the original approval notice to an alternate address as long as the applicant or petitioner provides a pre-paid, self-addressed envelope with the requested alternate address.