History and Genealogy
Instructions on Making a Genealogy Request Online
The step-by-step instructions below apply to Index Search Requests, the most common request received by the USCIS Genealogy Program. However, all requesters can benefit from reading the instructions. Much of the information pertains to both Index Search and Record Requests.
To begin your Index Search request, click the "Order Online Now" link on this or several other USCIS Genealogy Program webpages.
Once you complete the "Requestor Information," click “Next.”
1. Required Information - While the online form only requires you supply a surname, country of birth, and date of birth (actual or estimated), you must provide the immigrant's first and last names. If you know the immigrant’s middle name, please provide it as well. In this section use the name(s) that you believe to be correct. You will have an opportunity to submit alternate names and spellings in the "Optional Information" section.
Important: You must complete the date of birth field for both actual and estimated dates of birth. For an estimated year of birth, use January 1st as the month and day of birth (e.g., 01/01/1905). If you have conflicting dates of birth, enter the one you believe is most accurate. You can provide the alternate later when asked for "Other Biographical Information". Once you complete the required information, click “next.”
* If your ancestor’s date of birth is less than 100 years ago or if you supplied an estimated date of birth, ou will see a page notifying you of the required proof of death. If you do not have any of the acceptable forms of proof of death, you may consider canceling your request now and beginning a new request when you have copies the necessary documents. If you have proof of death for the immigrant (or the date of birth is more than 100 years ago), click “Next.” At the end of the request process you will be provided with the opportunity to upload scanned copies of your documents. If necessary, the mailing address for paper copies is also provided.
2. Additional Information - The next request pages allow you to provide additional information that may help our researchers locate your immigrant. Though it is not required, we recommended that you supply as much of this information as possible. In many cases, our researchers can differentiate between immigrants with the same name only when additional information is provided.
Click “Next” to move to the second page of Additional Information.
After completing the additional information, click “Next.”
*If you choose to pay by credit card, you will be redirected to the pay.gov site to enter your payment information. Once your payment information is submitted, you will automatically be returned to the Web Request Page to complete your transaction.
If the immigrant's date of birth is less than 100 years before today's date you must upload documentary proof of death with your online request. To do so, you will need to:
2. Save that document in an electronic form - Accepted electronic file formats include:
3. Upload the document - When prompted to upload your file, clicking the "Browse . . ." button should open the familiar "Open File . . ." window. Locate the document on your computer, select the document, and click "open", "upload", or "OK" as indicated.
If you cannot upload an electronic document, you can choose to mail supporting documents. The system will provide mailing instructions.
* Do NOT mail original documents with your Index Search Request. Documents will NOT be returned to you.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 09/16/2013