Freedom of Information Act

If you want to know what immigration information that the U.S. government has concerning you or somebody else, the information that you want can be accessed through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by forwarding the appropriate Form-G639 to the appropriate agency or subdivision thereof.  If the information is about somebody else, you’ll need his or her permission. Files and information regarding immigration fall under the purview of the FOIA. 

Processing Procedure

U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services uses a three-tiered system for processing FOIA document requests. Requests for copies of only a page or two of specific documents are responded to quicker than others. If a request involves more than that on an A-file-or non-A-File, more time will be required to respond. If the requests a copy of an A-File for purposes of a scheduled hearing, you must notify USCIS by accompanying your FOIA with one of the following forms:

  • I-862 Notice to Appear showing the date of your hearing with an immigration judge.
  • I-122 Order to Show Cause showing the date of your hearing with an immigration judge.
  • I-863 Notice to Referral to Immigration Judge.
  • A copy of a written notice of continuation of a scheduled hearing before the immigration judge.

Online Requests

By making your FOIA request for immigration records online, you’re likely to eliminate significant delays. You can even check on the status of your request online and print records sought when they’re accessed. You might not to be able to see parts of certain records like the names of certain officers or officials, but the sum and substance of the request sought will still be provided. 

Be Specific

USCIS might not even have a copy or copies of what you’re looking for. For example, any records of convictions might be in the custody and control of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. You’ll need to know which federal agency that you’ll need to submit the FOIA request to, and be able to articulate why you’re making it. For example, you might be making an applying for asylum, so state it clearly. Then, go ahead and submit your FOIA request.

We’re fully aware how important your immigration status is to you. We’re likely to be able to obtain FOIA compliance far more efficiently than and effectively than you are. Feel free to contact our California Central Valley immigration lawyers here at Maison Law Immigration Lawyers about making an FOIA request on your behalf. We know how to make the request and what agency to direct it to.