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Overview of the NOA (Notices Of Action) that you will receive when a petition is filed with the USCIS Service Center

The forms used by the USCIS when action is taken on your case, are called Notices Of Action ~ Forms I-797 or I-797C. One is just an earlier version. One will use Received Date, the other Receipt Date, but they have the same meaning.

NOA1 = Notice of Receipt of your petition.
NOA2 = Notice of Approval of your petition.

Once you submit your petition package to the USCIS Service Center having jurisdiction over your US place of residence, you will receive a Receipt Notice, commonly referred to on the internet as NOA1. The time it takes to receive the NOA1 varies.

The NOA1 Receipt Number is the number you can then use to track your case. You can do this by creating an account on the USCIS Case Status Online

On completition of the adjudication of the petition, you will then receive an Approval Notice, commonly referred to on the internet as NOA2. If the petition was filed for a fiance or fiancee for an eventual K1 visa, this NOA2 (Approval Notice) should be kept in a safe place as it will be needed when it comes to the Adjustment Of Status process once in the US.

You may receive other Notices Of Action prior to receiving your approval notice.

Understanding the dates on the NOA1 and NOA2

The below will help you to understand the dates on the NOA1 and NOA2. If you were to put your NOA1 & NOA2 side by side this is how it would read.


Received Date: October 13, 2005Receipt Date: October 17, 2005
Notice Date: October 17, 2005Notice Date: November 22, 2005
Priorty Date: 'will be blank'Priorty Date: October 13, 2005

Highlighted in RED is the NOA1 Received Date & NOA2 Priorty Date. This is the date USCIS uses and also the date that we use to guage whether our date is past the processing date. The priorty date, which is also the receipt date, is the date that determines if a visa number is available. K1 visa, K3 visa and the immigrant visa for a spouse etc. do not have to wait for a visa number to become available as it is always current so a visa is available immediately.

If you look at them both together, using how they are highlighted, there is a pattern. If you note you will see that all the receipt date (NOA2) is, is the date that the NOA1 (Notice Date) was generated.

Delays in Issuing Receipt Notices

At present there is a backlog due to the amount of petitions received to beat the fee increase that came into effect July 30, 2007. See USCIS Service Center & Lockbox Receipting Updates

Anecdotal reports indicate that NCSC operators have given receipt numbers without obtaining the number printed on the reverse of the cancelled check/money order from the petitioner, so long as the petitioner’s name was easily found in the USCIS computer system.

Duplicate Approval Notice ~ NOA2

If you have an approved petition and
* You need a new copy to replace a lost copy, or
* You never received the original notice of approval ( NOA2 ).
you can request a duplicate notice of approval.

If USCIS records show that a notice of approval ( NOA2) was sent to your address, you must file a Form I-824 (Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition) with the filing fee in order to obtain a duplicate approval notice ( NOA2 ).

Rules governing Form I-824 (Application for Action on an Approved Application or Petition) can be found in Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations under 8 CFR § 103.5b.

As per 8 CFR § 103.5b a duplicate approval notice ( NOA2 ) can only be applied for by the original petitioner during the petition or application validity and must be filed with the USCIS Service Center that approved the petition.

Check USCIS Processing Dates for the I-824.