Having accurate information about your immigration history in the U.S. can help you assess your eligibility for a visa or other immigration benefits. If you are interested requesting your record with the immigration agencies in the United States you may do so in several ways.
Requesting your file from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
First, if you have ever submitted or someone has submitted on your behalf an application seeking some sort of immigration status in the United States for example, a work authorization, a request for permanent residency, etc. you may want to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to United States and Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Full instructions on filing a FOIA request with USCIS can be found here.
Your request must be in writing. The easiest way to do this is by completing Form G-639, Freedom of Information Act/ Privacy Act Request. Your completed and signed application should be mailed to:
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
National Records Center, FOIA/ PA Office
P.O. Box 648010
Lee’s Summit, MO 64064-8010
Once you submit the form, you can request an update on the status of your FOIA request by calling the USCIS National Customer Service Unit at 1-800-375-5283 or by emailing FOIAPAQuestions@uscis.dhs.gov.
Requesting your Record from U.S. Customs and Border Protection
Have you ever been detained or returned to your home country? Do you need proof that you exited or entered the United States at a port of entry (at a land border or airport)? You can check what record the U.S. government may have you on by requesting your record from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
You can also request your record from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This can be helpful to check what record the U.S. government may have on you if you were ever detained and returned to your home country at the border or if you need proof that you exited or entered the United States at a port of entry (at a land border or airport.)
To file a FOIA request with CBP, click here. If you create an account, you can track the status of your request online. The following are some tips for successfully completing your FOIA request with CBP:
Agency Selection: select CBP FOIA Division.
Contact Information: complete as accurately as possible. If you are concerned about the government having your home address, you might consider using the address of a trusted friend or family member.
Additional Information: You must select the type of record you are looking for. For example, if you were ever stopped or detained at the border by border patrol you would select Border Apprehension/ Encounters. If you were detained or taken aside for questioning at the airport you might select Travel & Apprehension Records. If you want a record of the times you have entered or exited the United States you would select Entry/Exit. Complete the rest of this section to the best of your ability. The more information you provide, the more likely it is that the agency will be able to locate the records you are seeking.
Processing Fees: You are entitled to receive your information up to 100 printed pages or no more than 2 hours of the agency’s time searching for the information. You must specify what amount of fees you are willing to pay if the agency exceeds these limits in searching for your records, or the system will automatically allow charges up to $25.
Description: Specify what kind of record you are looking for. You might also give a range of dates for which you are looking for records. For example, if you know that the first time you entered the United States was May of 2005 you could write: “All records of entries from May 2005 to the present.”
Request a Fee Waiver: Select NO, since fee waivers are usually given to organizations doing work that will impact the general public, not for individual requests.
Request for Expedited Processing: is to request the records to be processed as quickly as possible. This is usually only granted in extenuating circumstances
You may need to submit the form multiple times if you are seeking different types of records since this form only allows for requesting one type of record at a time.
Requesting Your Immigration Court Record
Did your immigration case ever go before an immigration judge? You may want to request your file from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). EOIR is the official name of the immigration court. Full instructions for requesting your file from EOIR can be found here.
Unlike USCIS and CBP, EOIR does not use a form for FOIA requests. You must write your request and include as much information as possible about what information you are seeking. (for example, a record of your court proceedings.) For any request, you should include your full name, any aliases, the city and the state where the hearing(s) took place and your alien registration (A) number, if you know it. Your request must also verify that you are the person who is the subject of the records you are requesting. The easiest way to do this is to submit a “certification of identity” form, which can be found here.
FOIA requests to EOIR must be sent to the following physical or email addresses:
Office of the General Counsel
Attn: FOIA Service Center
Executive Office for Immigration Review
5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 1903
Falls Church, VA 22041
To follow up on the status of a FOIA request with EOIR, call (703) 605-1297 and ask to speak to the FOIA Specialist assigned to your request or the FOIA Public Liaison.