Request Records through the Freedom of Information Act or Privacy Act

Image of a person holding mobile phone with the text of "Requesting records from USCIS is faster, easier, online."


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.

How to Make Your Request
If you request We will
Specific documents from an A-File

Be able to process your request faster.

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:

  • Form I-862, Notice to Appear, documenting the upcoming date of the subject’s hearing before the immigration judge;
  • Form I-122, Order to Show Cause, documenting the upcoming date of the subject’s hearing before the immigration judge;
  • Form I-863, Notice of Referral to Immigration Judge; or
  • A written notice of continuation of a future scheduled hearing before the immigration judge.
Where to Make Your Request  
To request You should
  • Immigration records, whether your own or someone else’s with their permission; or
  • Agency policies, data, communications, and other records.

Request records online with USCIS, to instantly:

  • Get your request in line for processing;
  • Know we received it;
  • Be notified when we process it,
  • Track its status, and;
  • Conveniently access your records.

Online records are easy to:

  • Access from a phone, tablet, or computer;
  • Send to another person; and
  • Download and print.

You can receive records online even if:

  • You did not file for immigration benefits online;
  • You have a representative, as they can request your records through their USCIS online account; or
  • You already requested your records by mail, email, or fax.
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

Email the USCIS FOIA Program with:

  • Subject line “FOIA Disability Accommodations”;
  • Your name;
  • A phone number where you can be reached; and
  • Your FOIA control number.

We will contact you to assist.

  • Records of apprehension, detention, deportation, entry, exit, expedited removal, background investigations, or inspections by Customs and Border Protection
  • I-94 records
  • Travel industry reservation data such as passenger name record (PNR)
  • Voluntary return
Contact U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Information about Importer Trade Activity (ITRAC)

Contact U.S. Customs and Border Protection, ITRAC

  • Applications from U.S. citizens for U.S. passports
  • Visa requests from noncitizens to enter the U.S.
Contact the U.S. Department of State
  • Bond obligor requests
  • Medical records while someone was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement
  • Student and Exchange Visitor Information affecting those previously or currently in F-1, F-3, J-1, M-1, and I-20 status
Contact U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE)
Records by methods other than our online system 

Understand that FOIA and PA requests made by mail, fax, or email cause delays for you and for USCIS. To receive FOIA records in the fastest, most convenient format we offer, make your FOIA request online. Attorneys and representatives can also make online FOIA requests on behalf of their clients.

If you, or someone representing you, requests records by these methods, you will need to:

Then, send your request by:

  • Fax at 816-350-5785;
  • Email; or
  • Mail to
    National Records Center (NRC)
    FOIA/PA Office
    P.O. Box 648010
    Lee’s Summit, MO 64064-8010

After we receive your request, we will send you a letter of acknowledgement, process the request and send you our response. You will receive any records we release by mail as files on a compact disk (CD).

Records online, after you made a FOIA or PA request by mail, email, or fax

You will need:

Then, to connect your request to your online account:

  1. Login to;
  2. Click “My Requests”, then “Register Case by Pin”; and
  3. Enter the control number and pin found on the acknowledgement letter.

When your documents are ready, we will post them in your online account and notify you by email.

Appeal or Dispute Our Response to Your Request
To You can
Appeal our determination of your request

Write a letter, known as an administrative appeal, and send it to:

USCIS FOIA/PA Appeals Office
150 Space Center Loop, Suite 500
Lee's Summit, MO

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.

Contact the USCIS FOIA Program
To You can
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).

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