Form G-639 Cost2024-01-11T11:24:10+00:00

Form G-639 Cost: Understanding the Fees for Freedom of Information Act Requests

Form G-639, the Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request, allows individuals to access U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) records. USCIS provides this form for those seeking information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act of 1974. These laws enable applicants to request access to federal agency records or information unavailable to the public. Form G-639 can also be employed to amend or correct records if the applicant finds inaccuracies in their records maintained by USCIS.
A significant advantage for applicants is that filing Form G-639 typically does not involve a fee. This encourages individuals to request access to their immigration records or make necessary corrections without the burden of additional costs. In certain situations, USCIS may charge a fee, primarily when the processing of a request necessitates an extensive search or duplication of records. However, the agency is clear in its guidance that the fees, if applicable, often do not exceed $25. This fee structure applies as long as the request does not require unusually high manpower or photocopying.
g-1055 form
The process is designed to be accessible while ensuring that sensitive information is handled appropriately. USCIS stipulates the proper use of the form, such as obtaining one’s immigration records or those of another individual with their consent. This procedure is vital for maintaining transparent and accurate immigration records, empowering individuals with the right to information regarding their legal status and history in the United States.

Overview of Form G-639

Form G-639 is an official document used to request access to records held by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It falls under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act of 1974.

Purpose: The primary function of Form G-639 is to facilitate the retrieval of personal immigration records or other USCIS-held information by the individual or an authorized representative.

Application Process:

  • The requester completes the form with the necessary details for identification.
  • The completed form is then mailed to USCIS for processing.

Features of Form G-639:

  • Convenience: It streamlines the request for information.
  • Efficiency: Using Form G-639 can ensure quicker handling of requests.
  • Structure: Provides a standardized format for FOIA requests.


  • As of the information available, there is typically no fee to file a Form G-639. However, depending on the nature or volume of the records requested, some costs may be incurred for extensive searches or photocopies.

Processing Times:

  • Times can vary widely based on the complexity of the request and the current workload of the USCIS.


  • The form includes an OMB expiration date, indicating its validity; for example, a date of 07/31/2025 found in the form denotes its usability up to that date.

It is important to ensure that Form G-639 is carefully completed and accurate to prevent delays in processing the request.

Eligibility and Requirements

This section identifies who can use Form G-639, what details must be provided, and which documents are necessary to fulfill a request.

Eligibility Criteria

An individual must be seeking access to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) records about their person under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or the Privacy Act (PA). They may also seek to amend or correct their records if relevant.

Required Information

Form G-639 requires specific pieces of information to process the request. These include:

  • Full Name
  • Address
  • Date of Birth
  • A-Number (if applicable)
  • Description of the records sought

Supporting Documents

Though not always required, certain documents may support the request:

  • Proof of Identity: A copy of a photo identification, such as a passport or driver’s license.
  • Authorization: If requesting on behalf of someone else, written consent from that individual is necessary.

Form G-639 Filing Process

Form G-639, the Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request, is instrumental for individuals seeking access to their USCIS records. Below are the specific steps to file this form and the submission methods.

Steps to File Form G-639

  1. Complete Form G-639: Individuals must fill out the form with accurate information. This includes providing personal details, the type of request (FOIA or PA), and the requested information.
  2. Sign the Form: The requestor must sign the form to certify the authenticity of the provided information.
  3. Identify Records: Identify the requested records to facilitate a timely response from USCIS.
  4. Optional Consent: If requesting information about another person’s immigration records, the requestor must obtain that person’s written consent.

Submission Methods

  • Online: USCIS encourages individuals to submit their FOIA requests through the online FOIA request and response service for faster processing.
  • Mail: Alternatively, requestors can send their completed Form G-639 to the USCIS FOIA/PA mail address.
  • In-Person: Although less common, submitting the form in person at a USCIS office is also an option.

Filing Form G-639 does not incur a fee. However, USCIS may charge a fee for providing records in some circumstances, but the requester will be notified in advance.

Processing Times and Delays

When individuals submit Form G-639 for a Freedom of Information/Privacy Act (FOIA) request, they should be prepared for varying processing times. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) handles each submission individually, and the processing time can depend on several factors.

  • Complexity: The key determinant of the processing time is the complexity of the request. Simple requests for specific documents may be processed faster than broad or vague inquiries.
  • Workload: The current workload and backlog of the FOIA office at USCIS can also affect processing times.

Typical Processing Time Frames:

  • Simple Requests: Could be processed within 20 to 30 days.
  • Complex Requests: These may take several months to process.

Applicants should also note that the USCIS may experience delays beyond the typical processing window during periods of high volume or due to unforeseen circumstances. Requesters must provide as much detail as possible to ensure efficiency and avoid further delays.

In certain instances, USCIS offers the option to check the status of the FOIA request online, which can inform the applicant of any delays or progress in processing their request. If significant time has passed beyond the projected processing times, applicants have the right to inquire with USCIS regarding the status of their Form G-639.

It is also possible to narrow down a request to specific information, which could reduce the processing time and help applicants receive their desired records more promptly.

Cost and Fee Structure

When filing Form G-639 for a Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request, applicants must understand there is no initial filing fee. Still, there may be costs associated with the processing of the request.

Fee Details

Form G-639 does not require a fee at the time of submission. However, the requester agrees to cover costs up to $25 potentially. In practice, most individuals are not charged for FOIA requests. Charges may occur if the request involves an extensive search or reproduction of documents. If fees exceed the amount above, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will notify the requester for consent before proceeding.

Fee Waiver Eligibility

Requesters may be eligible for a fee waiver if they demonstrate that the request is in the public interest and not primarily for personal or commercial benefit. Documentation of eligibility is necessary if a requester seeks a fee waiver. The USCIS evaluates fee waiver requests on a case-by-case basis and grants them if the disclosure will contribute significantly to public understanding of government operations or activities.

Common Questions and Answers

What is Form G-639 used for?2024-01-08T09:05:15+00:00

A: Form G-639 is utilized to request access to records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act of 1974 from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Is there a fee to file Form G-639?2024-01-08T09:06:10+00:00

A: Filing Form G-639 does not initially require a fee. However, if complex, some requests may incur charges after USCIS evaluates them. USCIS will notify the requester if there are applicable fees.

How can one minimize potential costs associated with Form G-639?2024-01-08T09:11:29+00:00

A: Costs can often be minimized by narrowing the scope of the request, thereby reducing the processing time and resources required to fulfill it.

Are there any instances where fees cannot be avoided?2024-01-08T09:13:41+00:00

A: If the request is particularly complex or involves a large volume of records, USCIS may determine that fees are necessary to cover the processing costs.

Where does one find information regarding the status of their FOIA request with USCIS?2024-01-08T09:14:51+00:00

A: After submitting Form G-639, USCIS issues an Acknowledgment Letter with a control number. This number can be used to check the request status online through the USCIS FOIA Request Status Check system.

Individuals need to understand that while Form G-639 can typically be filed without an upfront fee, additional charges may apply under certain circumstances as determined by the complexity and scope of the request. Information regarding the filing, fee structure, and tracking of FOIA requests can be found through USCIS or by contacting their support services.

Troubleshooting and Issues Addressed

When applying for records using Form G-639 under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or the Privacy Act (PA), applicants sometimes encounter issues that need troubleshooting. The following are common problem areas and the steps for resolving them:

  • Incorrect Usage of Form: Form G-639 is not a catch-all for immigration records requests. It should not be used to request records outside of FOIA/PA scopes, like checking case status or for expediting visa processing.
  • Fees: There are occasions when USCIS might charge a fee for processing Form G-639, especially in cases involving a significant amount of time or photocopying. Applicants should be prepared to pay costs if their request surpasses the typical fee waivers. The standard waiver covers requests with costs up to $25.
    Fee Condition Action Required
    Standard Fee Waiver No action unless notified of extra costs
    Costs above $25 Applicant’s consent to incur costs needed
  • Incomplete Information: USCIS cannot efficiently process the request without the necessary details. Applicants must ensure that all required information is accurately provided. The request must still meet statutory FOIA procedures if opting to draft a mail request without Form G-639.

When facing these issues, applicants can correct the course by reviewing the instructions provided with Form G-639 or through the USCIS official resources for updates on proper usage and requirements. Proper compliance with these guidelines will minimize delays and the need for further clarification.

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