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Requesting past H-1B documents using a USCIS Freedom of Information Act(FOIA)

Tampa, FL |

I was the beneficiary of a 2009 H-1B approved petition, I only have the copy of I-797 approval for that H-1B petition. Rest of the documents were in a file which got lost when I changed apartments. Asking the employer who did my 2009 H-1B petition did not work since I am not working for them now so they don't want to cooperate. I want the documents since they are part of my immigration records.

1. If I request the 2008 H-1B petition details(like Labor Condition application and other supporting documents) via USCIS FOIA request, will the documents be redacted?

I don't think the documents should be redacted, since I am the beneficiary of the petition and these documents are required to be available for inspection 2. Can the FOIA request be done by a layman or I need an immigration attorney or a para-legal who has filed such requests?

Attorney Answers 6

Posted

You can FOIA for the records. However, most of the employer information will be redacted since you do not have a right to that information. Remember a H1B petition belongs to the employer.

800-688-7892, www.ImmigrationDesk.com. Law Office of Anu Gupta. The advice suggested here is for general information only. It is not to be construed as legal advice. We promise to zealously represent you - but as with any legal matter, we cannot predict the approval of your case based on our past successes. Each case is different. If you are in a similar situation, we would recommend that you contact us to discuss your case.

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Asker

Posted

Only the third party information will be redacted. The labor Condition Application, will be released. The I-129 petition and supporting documents will be released as I am beneficiary of the H-1B petition.

Asker

Posted

Thanks for responding.

Anu Gupta

Anu Gupta

Posted

Employer's info should also be redacted.

Asker

Posted

The employer's information on I-129 petition, supporting documents and LCA would be provided. If the employer's info on other documents is redacted, it is of little importance, since majority of the petition information(LCA, I-129 petition, supporting documents of the petition) will be given which should be enough for my records.

Anu Gupta

Anu Gupta

Posted

Not sure how the information will help you.

Asker

Posted

I thought I made it clear from the start "I want the documents since they are part of my immigration records" Just like people keep their tax returns which are 4-5 years old.

Anu Gupta

Anu Gupta

Posted

Some records are yours, some are not. Parts of the H1are not yours. H1 belongs to the employer.

Asker

Posted

Yes, but my understanding is I will be given the Labor Condition Application, the I-129 petition and supporting documents as I am beneficiary of the H-1B petition. Better than just having the I-797 copy(which is what I currently have).

Asker

Posted

Out of the 71 pages of my H-1B petition, 67 were given to me as they were. Out of the remaining four pages, only the tax id of the employer was redacted. More than the majority of the information was intact as I expected.

Anu Gupta

Anu Gupta

Posted

That's a new one. Thank you for letting me know.

Posted

What do you need those documents for? The approval should be all that you need as part of your immigration history documents.


Lynne R. Feldman, Attorney at Law
Concentrating in Immigration and Nationality Law
2221 Camino Del Rio South, Suite 201
San Diego, CA 92108
phone: (619) 299-9600, facsimile: (619) 923-3277
email: lynne@feldmanfeldman.com
website: www.immigrateme.com

Formerly Adjunct Professor -- Immigration law
University of Illinois College of Law

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Asker

Posted

Thanks for responding.

Posted

Yes, if you name is on the papers.

NYC EXPERIENCED IMMIGRATION ATTORNEYS www.myattorneyusa.com; email: info@myattorneyusa.com; Phone: (866) 456-­8654; Fax: 212-964-0440; Cell: 212-202-0325. The information contained in this answer is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter.

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Posted

If you just want the copies for your personal record-keeping, then you can do a FOIA but you will most likely get redacted copies. You might check with a Florida lawyer to see if the laws there give former employees any access to these documents. Otherwise, the only way to force a company to reveal information is by subpoena or court order.

Law Office of Mary K. Neal | www.immigratechicago.com | info@rogersparklaw.com| 773-681-1335 This answer is intended as public information about a legal topic. Answers posted here do not create an attorney-client relationship. For specific legal advice, please make an appointment to speak with an attorney in private.

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Asker

Posted

Thanks for responding, I hear only the third party information will be redacted. The labor Condition Application, will be released. The I-129 petition and supporting documents will be released as I am beneficiary of the H-1B petition.

Posted

This is a common problem with people on an H visa ... they don't realize that the visa is the property of the employer, not the employee.

Whether or not you think it is right that the papers be redacted .... that's the law and you have to accept the reality of the situation .... which, excuse me for saying this, appears to be the result of you having lost the papers in the first place. The employer is only required to give you one copy ... the one you lost.

Also, as one of my colleagues pointed out, all you really need is the approval notice.

Meeting with an attorney would be an incredibly wise thing for you to do.

PROFESSOR OF IMMIGRATION LAW for over 10 years -- This blog posting is offered for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Also, keep in mind that this is an INTERNET BLOG. You should not rely on anything you read here to make decisions which impact on your life. Meet with an attorney, via Skype, or in person, to obtain competent personal and professional guidance.

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Asker

Posted

"Meeting with an attorney would be an incredibly wise thing for you to do." How would that help in my situation? The records are with USCIS and if they redact it, what can an attorney do about it? From the documents to request FOIA, it appears that a layman can do it himself.

F. J. Capriotti III

F. J. Capriotti III

Posted

Yes, a layman can attempt to get records via FOIA ... but, only a skilled and experienced lawyer can 'glean' information from other sources and ... assemble a working 'picture' of the facts that will be of sufficient use for your purposes. Mr. Ferrari's idea of reviewing the LCA is a good one ... but, if the company doesn't want to help you ... may also benefit from an attorney's involvement.

Asker

Posted

Thanks for responding, I hear only the third party information will be redacted. The labor Condition Application, will be released. The I-129 petition and supporting documents will be released as I am beneficiary of the H-1B petition. A skilled lawyer would at a rate of 400/hour, charge me around 800 to "glean" the information. Cannot afford 800 for it, have to do with what I can "learn" myself from the petition.

F. J. Capriotti III

F. J. Capriotti III

Posted

You are a very brave person. Good luck.

Asker

Posted

Perhaps, instead of "brave", the adjective "practical" would be more apt. Most people in my position would do the same thing. Thanks for your wishes and response.

F. J. Capriotti III

F. J. Capriotti III

Posted

I will stick with 'brave', or perhaps 'courageous' ... especially, as you can see from my colleague's comments ... we don't understand what you're trying to accomplish by obtaining redacted documents ... the won't help with obtaining employment for a different company.

Asker

Posted

I thought I made it clear from the start "I want the documents since they are part of my immigration records" Just like people keep their tax returns which are 4-5 years old. I don't understand why redacted documents is being mentioned repeatedly. Only a small part of the documents will be redacted. I hear only the third party information will be redacted. The labor Condition Application, will be released. The I-129 petition and supporting documents will be released as I am beneficiary of the H-1B petition. Some company attorneys will want to see the full paperwork of a past petition, not just the I-797. Telling them I lost the copy I was given is improper according to me. So, there is another reason for getting the documents.

F. J. Capriotti III

F. J. Capriotti III

Posted

I understand ... telling a future employer that you lost your immigration papers will make it appear that you are irresponsible. Go ahead and file and be satisfied with what they give you.

Asker

Posted

"telling a future employer that you lost your immigration papers will make it appear that you are irresponsible " Your use of adjectives continues to amaze me. If most attorneys who posted here(including you) feel, those documents are not needed, why would an attorney think I am irresponsible. He "may" or may not feel it is improper NOT Irresponsible. If I don't have supporting documents used for my 2008 federal tax return(but have a copy of the 2008 tax return which was filed and accepted), some may think it is improper. But, hardly would anyone think I am irresponsible.

F. J. Capriotti III

F. J. Capriotti III

Posted

No further comment is necessary.

Posted

The LCA is required to be available for inspection, not the entire filing.

J Charles Ferrari Eng & Nishimura 213.622.2255 The statement above is general in nature and does not constitute legal advice, as not all the facts are known. You should retain an attorney to review all the facts specific to your case in order to receive advise specific to your case. The statement above does not create an attorney/client relationship. Answers on Avvo can only be general ones, as specific answers would require knowledge of all the facts. As such, they may or may not apply to the question.

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Posted

Thanks

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