I obtained an F1 visa in the United States. In the process, I have received a I-797 (USCIS Approval Notice) for my F1 reinstatement:

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Is there any point in keeping the I-797, or can I safely throw it away?

  • 1
    I keep everything original. You never know when something in the past might come into dispute, and there was a simple official document that could immediately clear everything up.
    – ouflak
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 6:28
  • @ouflak wouldn't the F1 be enough to clear everything up? Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 6:59
  • If it still exists, sure.
    – ouflak
    Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 7:38
  • How long did you wait for your approval?
    – Yan224
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 6:06
  • @Yan224: Sorry, I do not recall, that was over five years ago :/ Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 15:00

2 Answers 2


I would keep it, at least until the corresponding visa expires. If you really feel compelled to discard the physical paper now, then keeping a scanned copy should be sufficient.

  • Thanks, in which case this could be I-797 be useful, aside from loss of passport (on reaching the F1 visa is stamped) or I-20? Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 3:04
  • @FranckDernoncourt: It's difficult to predict exactly when this form might be useful to you. But loss of other documents could certainly be one case. Commented Jun 17, 2016 at 3:06

You should keep it.

For example, one of the requirements for Adjustment of Status (the process of getting US permanent residency from within the US) is that you've never been out of status in the US in any past trips (except if you are an Immediate Relative of a US citizen in which case you don't have to be in status). So if there's even a remote possibility of you applying for this (for example, if you will be in the US on a work visa and apply for permanent residency from the US) at some later point in your life, you want to make sure to retain all I-20s and I-797s to prove you were continuously in status.

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