Request Status Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know you received my request?
The Genealogy Program acknowledges your online requests by generating a receipt after we process the request you submitted. The receipt includes the case identification number/Case ID (such as GEN-1000XXXX) and date of submission (open date). You will not receive any additional correspondence from us until we complete your request. Please do not submit a duplicate request on the same immigrant as it only delays your initial request and adds to our backlog.
To confirm your Genealogy mail requests, we will send you an acknowledgment letter through the U.S. Postal Service to the address provided in your request. The acknowledgment letter will include the date we received your request and the assigned case identification number (such as CMT-1XXXXXXXX). If you do not receive our acknowledgment letter within 20 days, please email us.
How can I check on the progress of my request?
I am waiting for my request and it has been longer than the average wait time. Why?
You may not have received the records you requested for one or more of the following reasons:
- The Genealogy Team is still waiting for the file to arrive from another USCIS office or storage facility;
- The records you requested contain information about a third party whose privacy must be protected under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552;
- You provided an incorrect record citation number (such as a file number) when you submitted your record request and we sent you an interim letter requesting the correct information, or we converted your record request to an index search request;
- Our systems reflect that the file number provided pertains to another subject. In this instance, the Genealogy Program will provide a refund of the record request fee only if the Genealogy Program provided the information based on a previous index search request; and/or
- The file contains classified documents and/or information that the USCIS Office of Security and Integrity must review and declassify before releasing the file.
How can I help to make processing my record request faster?
You can help speed our response to your record request by providing proof of death for any other persons you expect to be in the file. If all individuals identified in the file are proven deceased, we can release the file without processing it under the Freedom of Information/Privacy Act. Other persons most commonly found in the records are the immigrant subject's children, spouse, and/or siblings. Acceptable documentary proof includes the following:
- Photocopy of Death Certificate
- US Social Security Death Index record (individual record only, no lists)
- Printed obituary, funeral program, or photograph of gravestone
- Bible, church, or other religious death record
- Record relating to the payment of death benefits
- Other document demonstrating the individual is deceased
The Genealogy Program most often finds other persons ("third parties") named and identified in the following files:
- Registry Files
- Visa Files