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:
- Your own immigration records;
- Someone else’s immigration records, if you have their written 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: Try to request only the specific documents you need. We can process requests for precise records much faster than requests for an entire file.
Step 4: Make your FOIA request online to avoid mailing, paper processing, and returned mail that could make it take much longer to process your request. You can also use this service to receive records online, if you already submitted a request by mail. See the chart below.
Step 5: Check the status of your request online. We will email you to check your account when 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 for 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 with your request a copy of 1 of these documents, which was sent to you by the Department of Homeland Security or Department of Justice:
|To request||You should|
Request records online with USCIS, to instantly:
Online record responses are easy to:
You can receive online responses even if:
|Records that are more than 100 years old||Request the records through the USCIS Genealogy Program|
|Accessible records under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act||
||Contact U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)|
|Information about Importer Trade Activity (ITRAC)||Contact U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 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. When you make a FOIA or PA request by mail, it delays 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 prefer to make your request by mail, download, complete, print, and sign Form G-639, Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request (PDF, 436.26 KB). Form G-639 ensures we receive the correct information to fulfill your request if you make it by mail.
Mail Requests Without Form G-639
You may draft and mail a request for records that meets statutory FOIA procedures without using Form G-639. If you do this, USCIS cannot process your request as efficiently as possible. If you mail your request, you may be more likely to omit some information we need to fulfil your request, which could delay you from receiving the records you requested.
If you choose this option, your request should include:
If you are requesting records about yourself, include a statement of your identity, notarized, or signed under penalty of perjury.
If you are requesting records about someone else, include:
However you make your request, be as specific as possible about which documents you need. We can respond to requests for specific documents faster than for large set of records, such as entire A-Files.
Also explain if you are requesting:
Where to Mail
|Records by by email, or fax||We will stop accepting FOIA or PA requests by fax or email on Dec. 16, 2022. For faster receipt of records, use our online FOIA request and response service first.|
|Appeal our determination of your request||
Write a letter, known as an administrative appeal, and mail it to:
USCIS FOIA/PA Appeals Office
Clearly mark both your letter and its envelope “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 another way. 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. 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).