Q : How do I determine whether to request an A-File from the USCIS Genealogy Program or from the National Archives?
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has begun the transfer of some A-Files to the National Archives (NARA). Files eligible for that and future transfers are A-Files where the subject (immigrant) was born more than 100 years ago (DOB more than 100 years ago). While all the A-Files that transferred had DOB's more than 100 years ago, not all A-Files with DOB's more than 100 years ago transferred. The result is you may not know which agency now has custody of a given A-File.
To determine which agency has custody, search the A-File number in the National Archives' Archival Research Catalog (ARC, link at right). Enter the A-number without punctuation or spaces (for example, "A1234567"). If the A-number search returns an A-File result, follow NARA's online instructions for requesting A-Files. If the number does not yield an A-number match, the file must be requested from USCIS.
- If the A-number is below 8 million and the subject was born more than 100 years ago or you can produce proof of the subject's death, request the file from the USCIS Genealogy Program
- If the A-number is above 8 million and you can produce proof of the subject's death, request the file from the USCIS Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Program.
USCIS will transfer additional A-Files (where DOB is more than 100 years ago) to NARA in the coming years.