- Prepare your request. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests must be submitted in writing. Form G-639 may be used, or you may send a letter with the required criteria.
- Provide identifying information. Clearly state the record you are requesting, as well as much identifying information as possible including timeframe of arrival, port of entry, alien registration number, complete name (including possible nicknames or spelling variations), birth date (and death date, if applicable) and location. If you're uncertain about some of the information, say that to.
- Provide proof of your right to the information. Include documentation that attests how you are related to the individual whose record you are requesting. USCIS restricts access to information on living individuals, so if the person died within the past 100 years it is also best to include proof of death in the form of a death certificate, obituary, etc.
Determine where to send your request. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from USCIS go to different addresses, depending upon the type of record you're requesting:
National Record Center (NRC)
P.O. Box 648010
Lee's Summit, MO 648010-8010
Naturalization Records, Visa Files and Border Patrol Records:
US Citizenship and Immigration Serivces FOIA/PA
111 Massachusetts Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20529
The envelope containing your request should be clearly marked "Freedom of Information Request."
- Do not include a fee. There is currently no charge for most FOIA requests from USCIS unless the file is a huge one. If there is a charge for extra copying and postage, they will notify you in advance
- USCIS does not have possession of passenger ship lists and manifests prior to December 1982. Those are available thorough the National archives.
- For records of naturalization prior to September 27, 1906, write to the cleerk of court where the naturalization occurred.