Request Records through the Freedom of Information Act or Privacy Act

Make your request online to receive it faster

Records You Can Request from USCIS

Under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), you can request:

  • Your immigration record;
  • Another person’s immigration record; or
  • Non-A-file information such as USCIS policies, data, or communications.

To Find Records as Efficiently as Possible

  1. Confirm the information you are looking for is not already in the USCIS Electronic Reading Room.
  2. Review the following sections to avoid unnecessary delays.

How to Request Immigration Records from Other Federal Agencies

USCIS does not have all immigration records, so be sure to make your request to the right agency. 

To requestYou should consult
  • 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

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

  • Importer Trade Activity (ITRAC)

US Customs and Border Protection, ITRAC

  • Applications from U.S. citizens for U.S. passports
  • Visa requests from non-citizens to enter the U.S.
US 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
U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE)

How We Process Your FOIA Request

The more precise you make your request, the more efficiently we can return the records you need.

If you requestWe consider this a
  • Specific documents from an immigration file (A-file)

Simple request, so it is likely to move quickly.

  • A complete record
  • Most of a record
  • Non-A-file material

Complex request, so our review will likely take a significant amount of time.

If you request “the application and all supporting documents,” our review will require more time than a request for a specific document.

  • An A-file as soon as possible, because you have a scheduled hearing with an immigration judge.

Priority request, but you must include a copy of one of the following forms, issued by the Department of Homeland Security or Department of Justice, with your request:

  • Form I-862, Notice to Appear, documenting a future scheduled date of the subject’s hearing before the immigration judge;
  • Form I-122, Order to Show Cause, documenting a future scheduled 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.

How to Request Records from USCIS

To requestYou should
  • Your immigration record or A-File
  • Another person’s immigration record, with their approval
  • Non-A-file information such as USCIS policies, data, or communications

Use FIRST, our online FOIA system

Request records through FIRST to instantly:

  • Get your request in line for processing;
  • Be certain we received your request; and
  • Be notified as soon as we process your request.

Online records are easy to:

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

Watch a video tutorial (youtube.com)

  • Current average FOIA request processing times
  • The status of your FOIA records request

Visit FIRST’s Check Request Status page, scroll down, and enter your FOIA control number

  • Records that are more than 100 years old

File Form G-1041, Genealogy Index Search Request

  • Information about our FOIA process or operation

Email FOIAPAQuestions@uscis.dhs.gov

  • Records on behalf of a member of Congress

Email congressionalnrc@uscis.dhs.gov

  • Immigration records by physical mail

NOTE: Requesting records by mail will increase your processing time.

To request records by mail, you will need to:

  • Print, complete, sign, and mail Form G-639, Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request; or
  • Provide your full name, mailing address, date of birth, place of birth, and a signature that is notarized or one that is executed under penalty of perjury.

You will also:

  • Wait for us to receive your request, open it, and add it to our processing line; and
  • Potentially need to mail more information to us to complete your request.
  • Receive a compact disk in the mail that contains your immigration record.

Or you may request and receive your records more quickly using our online FOIA system.

  • Accessible records under Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Email FOIAPAQuestions@uscis.dhs.gov with:

  • Subject line "FOIA Disability Accommodations"
  • Your name
  • A phone number where you can be reached
  • Your FOIA Control Number

We will contact you to assist.

Disputing a FOIA Request

If you wish to dispute a USCIS FOIA request, please visit the website of the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). OGIS offers mediation between FOIA requestors and federal agencies

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