Request Records through the Freedom of Information Act or Privacy Act
Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act (PA), you can request:
Immigration records, whether your own or someone else’s with their permission; and
Agency policies, data, communications, and other records.
How to Request and Receive Records as Quickly as Possible
Step 1: Read this entire page, to ensure you request records the right way, from the right agency.
Step 2: Confirm we have not already posted the records you need in the USCIS Electronic Reading Room.
Step 3: Plan to request only the specific documents you need. We can return precise requests much faster than an entire file.
Step 4: Make your FOIA request online to bypass mailing, paper processing, and returned mail that can add significant additional time to your request. You can also use this service to receive records online if you have already made a request by mail. See below.
Step 5: Check the status of your request online. We will email you to check your account once your files are ready to download.
|If you request||We will|
|Specific documents from an A-File||
Be able to process your request faster.
When you make your request, be as specific as possible about which documents you need. We can respond to requests for specific documents faster than large set of records, such as entire A-Files.
Also explain if you are requesting:
Another kind of record in USCIS custody.
|Large portions of A-Files and non-A-File records||
Require more time compared to specific documents.
Records we do not have, or if you make the request incorrectly
|Notify you as quickly as possible.|
|An A-File, as soon as possible, because you have a scheduled hearing with an immigration judge||
Prioritize your request to deliver it faster.
You must include a copy of one of the following forms, as issued by the Department of Homeland Security or Department of Justice, with your request:
|To request||You should|
Request records online with USCIS, to instantly:
Online records are easy to:
You can receive records online even if:
|Records that are more than 100 years old|
|Accessible records under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act||
We will contact you to assist.
||Contact U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)|
|Information about Importer Trade Activity (ITRAC)|
||Contact the U.S. Department of State|
||Contact U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE)|
|Records by mail||
Make Your Request Online
Our online FOIA request service is the fastest, most convenient way to request and receive records from USCIS. FOIA and PA requests made by mail delay responses to all requestors.
Attorneys and representatives can also make online FOIA requests on behalf of their clients.
Requests Using Form G-639
If you wish to make your request by mail, download, complete, print, and sign Form G-639, Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request (PDF, 384.25 KB). Form G-639 is not mandatory, but it ensures we receive the right information to fulfill your request.
Mail Requests without Form G-639
Alternately, you may draft and mail a request for records that complies with statutory FOIA procedures without using Form G-639. This method may increase the likelihood that you inadvertently do not include all the information we require to fulfill your request, delaying you from receiving the records you need.
If you choose this option, ensure your request includes:
If you are requesting records about yourself, include a statement of your identity, signed under penalty of perjury, or notarized.
If you are requesting records about someone else, include:
Also explain if you are requesting:
Where to Mail
|Records by by email, or fax||
We will soon stop receiving FOIA or PA requests by fax or email.
Make Your Request OnlineOur online FOIA request service offers instant delivery of responses, easy access to records, and no postage costs. Attorneys and representatives can also make online FOIA requests on behalf of their clients.
|Records online, after you made a FOIA or PA request by mail, email, or fax||
Follow these steps:
Then, to connect your request to your online account:
|Appeal our determination of your request||
Write a letter, known as an administrative appeal, and send it to:
USCIS FOIA/PA Appeals Office
Both your letter and its envelope should be clearly marked “Freedom of Information Act Appeal”.
|Address concerns with your request or appeal by consulting a neutral third-party||
Visit the website of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). OGIS offers mediation between FOIA requestors and federal agencies.
|See the status of a pending FOIA or PA request||
Check the status of the request online, whether you made it online or by another means. You will need the FOIA control number included in your receipt message.
Ask more detailed questions about our process or your pending FOIA or PA request
Email the USCIS FOIA Program, or send us a fax at 802-860-6908 or 816-350-5785. Please note that we can only answer questions about FOIA or PA requests. We cannot help with, or respond to, questions about pending applications, petitions, or any other immigration matter. For these inquiries, call the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY: 800-767-1833).