Written by attorney Thomas Esparza Jr.


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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

USCIS Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act (PA) Contact:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services National Records Center, FOIA/PA Office P. O. Box 648010 Lee’s Summit, MO 64064-8010 Live Assistance: 1-800-375-5283 Fax (816) 350-5785 [email protected]

Making a FOIA or PA request:

1. To Request USCIS Records: Unless otherwise noted below, mail or fax all requests for USCIS records, including alien files and procurement information, to the National Records Center at the address listed above.

  • ALL FOIA REQUESTS MUST BE SUBMITTED IN WRITING. Form G-639 (available from this website under Immigration Forms) may be used for this purpose, but is not required.
  • Please see the Freedom of Information Request Guide for detailed information necessary to process your request.
  • If you are able to scan the subject of record’s notarized signature or signature made under penalty of perjury, we will accept your FOIA request as an attachment to an e-mail at [email protected].

2. Personnel-related FOIA requests: Effective October 1, 2009, please send personnel-related FOIA requests to the address above.

3. To Request Certifications: Certification of Nonexistence of a Record involves an agency decision. The USCIS Office of Records Management prepares this documentation. Requests for this service should be addressed to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, ATTN: Records Service Branch, 1200 First Street, NE, 2nd Floor, Washington, D.C. 20529-2204.

4. To Request Customs and Border Protection records: Mail all requests for non-Alien file Customs and Border Protection records to:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection FOIA Division 799 9th Street NW, Mint Annex Washington, DC 20229-1177

The phone number for the CBP FOIA office is (202) 325-0150.

5. USCIS does not collect Social Security Numbers in connection with FOIA or PA requests. When forwarding any documents to USCIS related to a FOIA or PA request, please ensure all Social Security Numbers are blanked out or removed.

Check The Status of Your Request Online:

  • The National Records Center has created an electronic FOIA/PA status check that allows requesters the ability to obtain the status of pending requests online. To check the status of your request, just click on “FOIA Request Status Check" located under “Related Links" and provide the control number assigned to your request by the National Records Center.

If you are a bond obligor, send your request to:

FOIA Office, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 800 North Capital St., NW 5th Floor, Suite 585 Washington, DC 20536 • Alternatively, you may fax your request to (202) 732-0310 • Alternatively, you may e-mail your request or questions to the following address: [email protected].

Reading Rooms:

1. Conventional Reading Room:

The USCIS Public Reading Room is located at 111 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W. 1st Floor, Washington, D.C. 20529. The hours of operation are 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The Reading Room is closed on Federal holidays. Please contact the Freedom of Information Office at (202) 587-9720 to make arrangements to view information in the Reading Room. At this on-site location you can review information that has been placed in binders and shelved, or you can take advantage of two computers made ready for electronic viewing of information maintained in our Electronic Reading Room.

The majority of information in our public reading room is made up of Administrative Decisions. The numerous Decisions have been indexed and categorized to assist you in navigating to your desired document.

2. Electronic Reading Room (ERR): The ERR includes frequently requested records, opinions, policy statements, and staff manuals/instructions to staff, created after November 1, 1996.

Multitrack Processing:

USCIS uses a three-track system to process FOIA requests.

  • Track One: Routine requests;
  • Track Two: Complex inquiries that normally necessitate additional search and review time; and
  • Track Three: Requests by individuals scheduled for a hearing before an immigration judge.

Track Three became effective March 30, 2007. It consists of FOIA requests of individuals who are scheduled to appear before an immigration judge. The new track allows for accelerated access to A-files requested through the FOIA process, provided an individual or the individual’s representative includes at least one of the following documents with the FOIA request:

  • Notice to Appear (Form I-862) documenting a future scheduled date of the subject’s hearing before an immigration judge;
  • Order to Show Cause (Form I-122) documenting a future scheduled date of the subject’s hearing before an immigration judge;
  • Notice of Referral to Immigration Judge (Form I-863); or
  • A written request of continuation of a scheduled hearing before the immigration judge.

Requesters wishing to move a pending FOIA request to this new Track Three for processing must resubmit the request and comply with the above requirements.

Notice of this new track was published in the Federal Register February 28, 2007. A link to the Federal Register Notice is located under "Related Links" on this page.

USCIS National Customer Service Center:

If you have any questions concerning your pending FOIA/PA request, please call the National Customer Service Unit at 1-800-375-5283. Alternatively, you may fax inquiries to the National Records Center at (816) 350-5785, or e-mail your questions to [email protected]. Please note that the National Records Center can help you with matters concerning your FOIA/PA request, but cannot assist you concerning any pending Applications or Petitions or any other type of immigration matter.

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