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New USCIS Policy Requires Original I-797 Approval Notices to be Sent Directly to Petitioner/Applicant, Not Attorney of Record, is Revoked

Earlier in the year, USCIS notified the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) that there would be a change in the processing of the I-797 approval notices and mailing of the “courtesy copy” notices. Instead of receiving the original approval notices as in past practice, the attorneys of record began to receive the “courtesy copy” of the approval notice. The petitioning company/applicant received the original approval notice. This change created many complications for immigration practioners and clients alike, and prevents attorneys from efficiently representing their clients. On October 3, 2011, AILA sent a letter to the Director of USCIS requesting rescission of this new practice. In this letter, AILA laid out an argument for its objection to the change, including an argument that such a change violates the Code of Federal Regulations. On October 20, 2011, USCIS announced that it had reconsidered this new policy. USCIS acknowledged that due to unforeseen negative consequences, it would be reverting to its previous practice of sending the original approval notice directly the attorney or accredited representative listed on the Form G-28. The change will take approximately 6 weeks to go into effect.