Our Collection

The library was created in 1987 as part of the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service History Office (INS). 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, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

The USCIS Historical Office and Library collection consists of books, publications, reports, periodicals, microfilm, legal material, law enforcement material and secondary works by and about USCIS and the legacy Immigration and Naturalization Service. The collection includes materials created by the service over more than a century.

  • General Collection -The general collection consists largely of agency publications, reports, handbooks, and other material documenting agency operations and programs.  Included are complete sets of agency annual reports since 1892 and Statistical Yearbooks since 1978.  The collection also includes published works on immigration and nationality history and law.

  • Periodicals - Among the library’s most-used materials are late 20th century agency periodicals, including the INS Monthly Review, I&N Reporter, Information Bulletin, and Commissioner’s Communique.

  • Historical Photograph Collection - The library's collection of more than 8,000 photographs depicts agency facilities and operations throughout the country from the 1890's to the present.

  • Video Collection -  Videotapes dating largely since the 1980's cover major changes in immigration legislation, legacy Commissioner's conferences, training tapes, and a variety of other topics.

  • Vertical Files - Our extensive vertical file of miscellaneous materials relates to various immigration and nationality topics.

  • Legal History Resources - Certain library materials focus on immigration and nationality law prior to 1952, and include legislative histories, regulations, instructions, interpretations, and forms.

  • Microfilm - The USCIS History Library’s microfilm holdings include the two major indices for Immigration and Naturalization Service records now held by the National Archives.


The Historical Reference Library does not hold or provide access to any genealogical records.

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