Lost I-130 Approval? Use USCIS's I-824 Application for Action to Get New Copy

I-824 is used to request USCIS to take particular action with a pending I-130 petition or other application.

By , J.D. · University of Washington School of Law

Have you lost the approval notice that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued in response to your I-130 family-based immigrant petition or other immigration application? Or perhaps you never received the USCIS notice, despite USCIS records showing that it was sent to you! You might need to use Form I-824 to ask the agency to send you a new notice.

Why Having a Physical Copy of USCIS Approval Notices Can Be Important

USCIS often asks people to submit copies of its own approval notices as part of an immigration process. For example, after USCIS approves the initial Form I-130 for a family-based immigrant, if that person is in the U.S. and eligible to adjust status here, they would need to attach a copy of the I-130 to the adjustment of status packet before mailing it to USCIS.

You might think USCIS could look up the I-130 approval on its own. However, the agency is rarely willing to do that. With Form I-824, you can ask to receive your own copy of the approval notice to replace the one that's been lost or gone missing.

Other Uses of Form I-824 for Would-Be Immigrants to the United States

Below are some other situations where someone might need to file USCIS Form I-824:

  • To request that a different U.S. consulate receive notice of USCIS's approval of a nonimmigrant visa petition or waiver request (for example, if you've moved to another country since the original petition was filed).
  • To notify a U.S. consulate that you have successfully adjusted status to permanent resident in the U.S., thus allowing your family members to apply for derivative immigrant visas from overseas.
  • To request that USCIS send your approved I-130 petition to the Department of State's National Visa Center (NVC). This is mainly useful if you had originally been planning to adjust status in the United States—that is, apply for your green card without leaving the country, probably because you're legally living there—but you have changed plans, and will now use the consular processing procedure instead.

Preparing and Submitting Form I-824 to USCIS

Form I-824 (available for free download at uscis.gov) asks for basic application information including your name, employer, contact information, country of birth, country of citizenship, and identifying numbers. You'll need to attach various documents to help USCIS locate and confirm its original approval, such as copies of the original I-130 petition or application or a copy of the receipt notice from USCIS (Form I-797).

You'll also need to pay the latest fee ($590 starting April 1, 2024). Always doublecheck the USCIS website before filing. You can pay by money order, personal check, cashier's check, or by credit card using Form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.

Your completed form must be sent by mail to the USCIS lockbox indicated in the instructions to the form. You can request that you receive an email or text message saying that the form has been received at USCIS by completing Form G-1145 and attaching it to the front page of your application.

Form I-824 Cannot Be Used to Request Replacement Cards

The only document USCIS will send after you successfully file Form I-824 is a copy of an approval notice. You can't request any actual replacement cards using this process. For example, if you've lost your green card, you must apply for a replacement by filing and paying the fees for Form I-90.

A replacement work permit (employment authorization document) must be requested by refiling Form I-765 (and paying the fee all over again).

You Might Want a Lawyer's Help

Deciding whether you need to file Form I-824 is a good question for an immigration attorney. Don't spend the money on Form I-824 if you aren't sure you need it. The attorney can also help you prepare the form and monitor progress on your immigration case.

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