FOIA Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides the public the right to request records from any federal agency, including US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). USCIS is required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under an exception that protects interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement. We discuss a USCIS FOIA and how to file one here.

Why would I need to file a USCIS FOIA?

A USCIS Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request can be used to access your immigration records as well as any additional information that US Immigration might have on record for you. We often see FOIA requests made for the following:

  • An A-File, whether your own or someone else’s with their permission;
  • Agency policies, data, communications, and other records;
  • Records of apprehension, detention, deportation, entry, exit, expedited removal, background investigations, or inspections by Customs and Border Protection;
  • Form I-94 records;
  • Travel industry reservation data such as a passenger name; or record (PNR);
  • Voluntary return records;
  • Applications from U.S. citizens for U.S. passports;
  • Visa requests from noncitizens to enter the United States;
  • Bond obligor request;
  • Medical records while someone was detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and
  • Student and Exchange Visitor Information affecting those previously or currently in F-1, F-3, J-1, M-1, and I-20 status

What records can I get under a USCIS FOIA?

Under a USCIS FOIA request you are able to obtain:

  • Your own immigration records;
  • Someone else’s immigration records if you have their written permission; and
  • Agency policies, data, communications, and other records

How do I make a USCIS FOIA request?

The fastest way to obtain a copy of your immigration records with USCIS is by creating an account with USCIS and submitting your FOIA request online. Here are the details.

You can also make a USCIS FOIA request by mail with USCIS Form G-639.

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