About the Library

The History Office and Library are temporarily closed to visitors. Staff will continue to respond to emailed reference requests: cishistory.library@uscis.dhs.gov.

The library was created in 1987 as part of the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) History Office. Its mission is to track the agency history and the implementation of federal government immigration policy from 1891—when the federal government first created the Immigration Bureau—through its present organization, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) which is under the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

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Mission Statement

The USCIS History Office and Library program preserves and promotes understanding of the history of USCIS and its predecessor agencies and programs.

  • Historical Reference Office staff research, write, and distribute histories, and provide authoritative historical information to USCIS, other government agencies, and public researchers.
  • The History Reference Library acquires, organizes, and provides access to library resources supporting the history of USCIS, its predecessor agencies, and US Immigration and Nationality law; and provides professional library services to both  government and public researchers


The USCIS History Office and Historical Reference Library is located approximately two blocks from the Union Station Metro Station at:

111 Massachusetts Avenue, NW,
1st Floor  - Washington, DC 20529  
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Hours of Operation

Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding federal holidays.

* The library is open to non-USCIS researchers by appointment only.

To schedule an appointment please send us an email, or write to the USCIS History Office located at the address listed in the Location section of the web page above.

Visitors must present a valid photo ID and enter through building security. All aliens must submit identification 30 days in advance for security clearance.


We welcome individuals with disabilities and to ensure that they have access to the USCIS History Library and its services, please see the contact information in our Hours of Operation section to make disability accommodation requests known before scheduling a visit. Wheelchair users, please contact us in advance of your visit.


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