About the History Office and Library
For over 35 years, the History Office and Library has been the steward of the agency's history. Our staff researches, communicates, and preserves the history of the agencies that have administered federal immigration and naturalization law. We welcome inquiries from researchers, and we encourage studies of diverse topics in citizenship and immigration history.
History Office and Library staff provide assistance to the public as well as USCIS and other federal employees, including:
- Reference and research services on the history of USCIS, INS, and topics related to the history of federal immigration and nationality policies;
- Consultations on locating research material within Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) records at the National Archives and Records Administration;
- Webinars for beginner and advanced researchers about methods and topics in immigration and citizenship history, including information useful for genealogists.
You may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
To explore our collection, which focuses on agency history and federal policy, review our Collection Highlights below and search our library catalog. Our catalog includes over 1400 agency publications available online.
Please note: The Historical Reference Library does not hold or provide access to any individual’s immigration or naturalization records.
- For the records of deceased individuals who immigrated before 1951 or naturalized before 1956, please contact the USCIS Genealogy Program.
- For the records of individuals who immigrated after 1951 or naturalized after 1956, please contact the USCIS Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act program.
Visiting the History Office and Library
To conduct research in our collection onsite, please e-mail us to arrange your visit and let us know if you require special accommodations. Our library is located in Camp Springs, MD outside Washington, DC, approximately two blocks from the Branch Avenue Metro Station. We are available for researchers by appointment only.
Additional information about visiting our library is available through our Researcher Guide (PDF).
The general collection consists largely of agency publications, reports, handbooks, and other materials documenting agency operations and programs. Included are complete sets of agency annual reports since 1892 and Statistical Yearbooks since 1978. The collection also includes published works on immigration and nationality history and law.
- Statistical Yearbook, 1978-1995 (The current Yearbooks on Immigration Statistics, 1996-present are available from DHS, Office of Statistics)
- Annual reports, 1892-1986
- Annual reports of Commissioner of Naturalization, 1913-1932
- Immigration and Naturalization Service 1934 Lecture series
- Immigration and Naturalization Service 1943 Lecture series
- World War II Immigration and Naturalization Service Documents
Among the library’s most-used materials are late 20th century agency periodicals.
The following titles are now digitized. Each individual issue is cataloged. You can search the catalog or click on the title below to see a list of issues.
The library’s historical photograph collection depicts agency facilities and operations throughout the country from the 1890s to the present.
For more information about the USCIS History Office and Library photo collection please contact us at CISHISTORY.LIBRARY@uscis.dhs.gov.
Our video collection dates from the 1980’s and cover major changes in immigration legislation, legacy Commissioner’s conferences, training tapes, and a variety of other topics.
For more information on making an appointment to view our video collection at the USCIS Historical Library please contact us at CISHistory.Library@uscis.dhs.gov.
These files contain information on various Immigration and Naturalization (INS) topics and are arranged alphabetically, for example, from A-Files (material related to the concept of A-files) to Work Force and Labor programs within the service.
These files also contain numerous Immigration and Naturalization fact sheets, press releases, newspaper clippings, important people files and service projects created under the Department of Justice and INS.
Below is a sample list of topics covered by vertical files. Check our online catalog for further listings.
- Adjustment of status—United States—Statistics
- Border Patrol (INS)—History
- Bracero program—United States—Statistics
- Detention and deportation (INS)—Expedited removals—Statistics
- Ellis Island Immigration Station (N.Y. and N.J.)
- Gangs—United States—Black Dragon
- Hmong (Asian people)—United States
- Identification cards—United States—Border crossing cards
- Japanese Peruvians—Evacuation and relocation, 1942-1945
- Kickapoo Indian
- Language policy—United States
- Mail order brides—United States
- Narcotics, Control of—Illinois
- Olympic Games (26th : 1996 : Atlanta, GA)
- Ports of entry—Maine—Houlton
- Refugees and asylees : annual flow report
- Sanctuary movement—United States
- Traffic checkpoints—California—San Clemente
- United States—Emigration and immigration—Drama
- Visas—United States—B-1 (business visitors)
- War criminals—United States
- Immigration Laws & Regulation, 1893-1942
- Naturalization Laws & Regulations, 1906-1942
- Chinese General Orders 1924-1945
- Chinese Rules: treaty, laws and regulations 1899-1936
- Opinions and letters of the Solicitor (Department of Labor) 1913-1923