Time Period:1917-1918 and 1940-1944
What are Alien Registration Records?:
World War I Alien Registration Records
Following the beginning of United States involvement in World War I, all resident aliens who had not been naturalized, were required, as a security measure, to register with the U.S. Marshal nearest their place of residence. A failure to register risked interment or possible deportation. This registration occurred between November 1917 and April 1918.
WWII Alien Registration Records, 1940-1944
The Alien Registration Act of 1940 (also known as the Smith Act) required the fingerprinting and registration of any alien age 14 and older living within or entering the United States. These records were completed from August 1, 1940 to March 31, 1944 and document over 5 million non-citizen residents of the United States during this period.
What Can I Learn From Alien Registration Records?:
- Full name (including maiden name for females)
- Current residence and length of residence
- Place of birth
- Spouse’s name and residence
- Children’s names, sex, and years of birth
- Parents’ names (including maiden name for mother), birthdates, and birthplaces
- Names, dates of birth, and current residence of siblings
- Whether any male relatives serving in the military for/against US
- Whether registered for selective draft
- Previous military or government service
- Date of immigration, name of vessel and port of arrival
- Whether naturalized in another country
- Whether reported/registered with a consul since 1 June 1914
- Whether applied for naturalization or took out first papers; if yes, when and where
- Whether ever taken an oath of allegiance other than to the United States
- Whether ever arrested or detained on any charge
- Whether held a permit to enter a forbidden area
- Description of registrant
- Full set of fingerprints
1940-1944: The two-page Alien Registration Form (AR-2) asked for the following information:
- Name at time of entry to the US
- Other names used
- Date and place of birth
- Marital status
Not all registrants provided all information.
Where Can I Get Alien Registration Records?:
WWII Alien Registration (AR-2) files are available on microfilm from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and can be obtained through a Genealogy Immigration Records Request. Unless you have the actual alien registration number from an alien registration card in your family's possession, or from a passenger list or naturalization document, you will want to begin by requesting a Genealogy Index Search.
Important: Alien Registration Forms AR-2 are only available for A-numbers 1 million to 5 980 116, A6 100 000 to 6 132 126, A7 000 000 to 7 043 999, and A7 500 000 to 7 759 142.
If the subject of your request was born less than 100 years before the date of your request, you are generally required to provide documentary proof of death with your request. This might include a death certificate, a printed obituary, a photograph of the tombstone, or other document demonstrating that the subject of your request is deceased. Please submit copies of these documents, not originals, as they will not be returned.