We’ve created a new (free) tool that allows you to request an official copy of your USCIS immigration file. Just fill out this short online questionnaire and our website will email you a customized FOIA request, ready to file. You’ll also get instructions explaining how to correctly file your request.
Why would you want a copy of your immigration file?
Most of us are used to having most of our personal records online and easily accessible. If you want your bank records or even your Social Security statement, you just log into the right website and there you go. But immigration files aren’t like that. They are not online, and you don’t have any quick way of getting documents contained in your file.
This can often be a problem when you are starting a new application process. Unless you’ve been represented by a law firm – or are really good with record keeping – you probably don’t have a copy of everything you have filed with USCIS. That can be a problem, because immigration forms often ask for prior petition/application numbers, and for other information you would have provided on previous forms.
By requesting your official immigration file form USCIS, you’ll be sure to have a complete record of what is in your “Alien” registration file. The records will be provided in digital format on a CD, so it’s easy to just dump them onto your computer for safe keeping.
What does this cost?
Use of our FOIA request generator is absolutely free. You’re welcome 🙂
Likewise, USCIS does not charge a fee for responding to FOIA requests. You will see that the cover letter (created by our generator) says that you have to pay costs of up to $25. In reality, USCIS doesn’t actually bill for FOIA responses.
Is there any reason not to file a FOIA request?
Almost always there is no reason not to file a FOIA request. Especially for someone in valid immigration status there is usually no reason not to request a copy of your immigration file. Doing so is your right under federal law, and again, it doesn’t cost anything.
One very small risk is for individuals who are not in valid immigration status. There is some non-zero risk that filing a request would create a risk of immigration enforcement by providing the government with address information for the individual. In reality I have never seen any evidence that FOIA requests make it more likely for someone to face immigration enforcement. But you are providing address information to the government, so there is at least a theoretical risk there.
How do I get started?
To generate your free FOIA request just complete the short questionnaire below. Depending on the device you are using, it may display better if you access the form directly here. After submitting the questionnaire, you’ll be emailed a customized FOIA request ready to be signed and filed. You’ll also get instructions about how to file and what to expect next.
Hope this is helpful for folks!