Form G 639 Foia Freedom Information Act Request2023-12-27T07:46:32+00:00

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  • Form G-639, Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request
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Your Essential Guide to Navigating Form G 639: Mastering USCIS FOIA Requests

Navigating the U.S. immigration system can be complex, especially when it comes to accessing crucial immigration records. Fortunately,1 Form G-639, a vital tool under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), simplifies the process of obtaining these records from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This comprehensive guide will walk you through the ins and outs of Form G-639, helping you understand its purpose, benefits, and how to file a successful FOIA request.

Key Takeaways

  • Form G-639 enables individuals and attorneys to access important immigration records through FOIA requests.
  • Submitting Form G-639 requires preparation of an accurate form, inclusion of relevant documents, and submission to the USCIS office.
  • Citizen Concierge offers comprehensive services for filing Form G 639 with expert guidance & secure data handling protocols.

Understanding Form G-639: Purpose and Benefits

Form G-639 provides individuals and attorneys the ability to request a person’s immigration records from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) via FOIA requests. This form can be used to obtain information regarding a person’s immigration history, information that may be necessary for various immigration-related proceedings like adjustments of status.

Form G-639 utilizes the Freedom of Information Act to provide access to important immigration records which could have a significant impact on your case.

Role of Form G-639 in Accessing Immigration Records

Form G-639 plays a critical role in obtaining immigration records from USCIS via FOIA requests. By submitting this form, you initiate the process of requesting access to records, such as your immigration status or the arrival/departure records from Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Once submitted, you will receive an acknowledgement letter containing a FOIA control number, which enables you to track the status of your request.

Be aware that USCIS keeps records at the National Records Center for a period of 100 years, providing ample opportunity to access the necessary information.

Advantages of Using Form G-639 for FOIA Requests

Utilizing Form G-639 for FOIA requests offers several advantages, including:

  • Ensuring that the necessary information is provided for a successful request
  • Allowing for submission by mail or online, potentially accelerating the processing time
  • Enabling you to access not only your own immigration records but also those of another individual, provided you have the necessary authorization.

Filing Your USCIS FOIA Request with Form G-639

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Filing your USCIS FOIA request with Form G-639 involves several important steps. You must prepare your form with precise and comprehensive information, include the necessary documentation, and submit it to the correct USCIS office.

Let’s discuss more about the process of preparing and submitting your Form G-639.

Preparing Your Form G-639

To properly prepare your Form G-639, you must complete the form according to the official format found on the USCIS website. Make sure to give particular attention to Sections III and IV of the form, as they outline the requirements for submitting FOIA requests to USCIS, ICE, OBIM, and CBP as well as alternatives to Form G-639.

To complete the form, you are required to provide the following information:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Contact information
  • Description of the requested records
  • Relevant case numbers or file numbers
  • Signature (if submitting by mail)

Submitting a typed form rather than a handwritten one can help avoid errors and speed up the intake process.

When completing Form G-639, be mindful of common mistakes, such as not signing the document, using an outdated form, or not providing all necessary information. Make a copy of the completed form for your reference and ensure that you have followed all the instructions accurately to avoid delays in processing your request.

Submitting Your Form G-639

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Once your Form G-639 is prepared, it’s time to submit it to USCIS. You can either submit it electronically via the USCIS online FOIA request service or by mail, as per the instructions provided on the USCIS website. When submitting your form, be sure to include a copy of certain documents if you have an ongoing Immigration Court hearing, such as:

  • I-862, Notice to Appear
  • Form I-122, Order to Show Cause
  • Form I-863, Note of Referral to Immigration Judge
  • A written notice of continuation of a future scheduled hearing before the immigration court.

Additionally, provide your full name, A number, date of birth, father’s and mother’s names, address, country of birth, and state that you are requesting your records from, in order to request records successfully.

Navigating the USCIS FOIA Request System

The USCIS FOIA request system operates on a three-track system designed for processing various types of Freedom of Information Act requests. Understanding these tracks and how they apply to your request can help you prioritize and expedite the process, ensuring that you receive the immigration records you need as quickly as possible.

Understanding the Three Tracks of FOIA Requests

There are three distinct tracks for USCIS FOIA requests: Track One for routine requests, Track Two for complex requests, and Track Three for expedited requests. The agency evaluates the complexity and nature of your request to determine which track it should be processed under, generally processing FOIA requests on a first-in/first-out basis within one of the tracks.

Processing times for each track may vary, but under FOIA, agencies are required to respond within 20 business days. It is important to note that the complexity of your request can affect its prioritization, with more complex requests taking longer to process due to the volume of records and additional search and review time required.

Prioritizing Your FOIA Request

Knowing how to prioritize your FOIA request is crucial for ensuring a timely response. If your request is urgent and meets the criteria for expedited consideration, you can contact the USCIS Contact Center at 800-375-5283 (TTY 800-767-1833) or request expedited processing through Emma. Keep in mind that expedited requests are processed on a first-in, first-out basis with other expedited requests.

Another factor that can impact the processing time of your FOIA request is the amount of information requested. If your request requires a large volume of records or additional search and review time, USCIS may extend their response time by an additional 10 days to accommodate the request.

By prioritizing your request and understanding the factors that influence processing times, you can improve the chances of receiving your immigration records promptly. To expedite the process, you may request access to your records through our online portal.

Tracking Your USCIS FOIA Request Status

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After submitting your Form G-639, it’s important to monitor the status of your USCIS FOIA request to ensure an efficient process. This involves understanding the significance of the acknowledgement letter and request number you receive after submission and learning how to check your request status online.

Acknowledgement Letter and Request Number

Once you submit your Form G-639, you will receive an acknowledgement letter from USCIS, confirming receipt of your request and providing you with a unique FOIA control number. With the FOIA control number included, this serves as a crucial tool for monitoring the progress of your request, ensuring proper documentation, and processing.

You can expect to receive the acknowledgement letter within 20 business days of USCIS receiving your Form G-639. The letter is typically sent via the U.S. Postal Service’s Signature Confirmation Restricted Delivery service to ensure secure delivery.

Checking Your Request Status Online

With your FOIA control number in hand, you can easily check the status of your USCIS FOIA request online. Visit the USCIS online FOIA portal at and enter your control number to view your request’s progress. This allows you to stay informed throughout the process and take any necessary actions if issues arise.

It’s worth noting that the FOIA request status on the USCIS website is regularly updated, though the exact frequency is not specified. By keeping a close eye on your request status, you can ensure that you’re always up-to-date on the progress of your immigration records request.

Form G-639 Costs and Processing Time

While there is no filing fee for Form G-639 itself, understanding the associated costs and expected processing times when submitting your USCIS FOIA request is beneficial. Depending on the complexity of your request and the current workload of USCIS, timelines can vary significantly, hence, it’s prudent to prepare for potential delays when planning your immigration case.

Understanding Form G-639 Fees

Although there is no fee for submitting Form G-639, processing fees may still apply. If the total anticipated fees exceed $250, or if prior fees have not been paid, USCIS may require an advance deposit. The maximum fee for search, duplication, and review of your request is $25.

For further information on fees and payment procedures, refer to the Form G-639 instructions on the USCIS website. It’s important to consider these fees when planning your immigration case and ensure that you have the necessary funds available to cover any associated costs.

Estimating USCIS FOIA Request Processing Time

Estimating the processing time for your USCIS FOIA request can be challenging due to the varying nature of requests and the current workload of USCIS. In general, agencies must respond within 20 business days, but more complex requests may take much longer to process.

If your request is urgent and meets the criteria for expedited processing, you can contact the USCIS Contact Center for assistance. By understanding the factors that influence processing times and planning accordingly, you can ensure that you receive your immigration records in a timely manner.

Limitations and Restrictions of Form G-639 FOIA Requests

While Form G-639 is a powerful tool for accessing immigration records, there are some limitations and restrictions to be aware of when submitting a FOIA request. This includes understanding which records are unavailable through FOIA requests and being mindful of privacy and confidentiality concerns that may arise during the process.

Records Unavailable Through FOIA Requests

Certain records are exempt from FOIA requests, including information related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency. However, Form G-639 is an appropriate means of requesting access to all types of agency records under the Freedom of Information Act.

It’s important to be aware of these exemptions when planning your immigration case and understand which records may not be accessible through a Form G-639 FOIA request.

Privacy and Confidentiality Concerns

Privacy and confidentiality are important considerations when submitting a Form G-639 FOIA request, also known as a Privacy Act request. The disclosure of personal information and sensitive data during the request process can lead to privacy concerns, and there is the potential for unauthorized individuals to access this information. As a result, caution should be exercised when submitting a FOIA request to ensure that any sensitive information is redacted or protected to maintain privacy.

USCIS, under the umbrella of homeland security, takes measures to ensure confidentiality in FOIA requests by conducting an analysis for disclosure requests for PII on individuals not covered by the Privacy Act or the Judicial Act. Additionally, Section 1367 safeguards information related to non-citizens and their beneficiaries who are seeking or have been approved for immigrant benefits. By being mindful of these privacy and confidentiality concerns, you can better protect your personal information and maintain control over your immigration records.

Why Citizen Concierge to File Your G-639?

Citizen Concierge provides comprehensive services for Form G-639 filing, offering expert guidance and personalized assistance throughout the process. Their services include:

  • Helping you understand the requirements
  • Gathering the necessary documents
  • Completing the form accurately
  • Submitting the form to the appropriate USCIS office

Their team of professionals is dedicated to ensuring a smooth and successful filing process.

Utilizing the expertise and support of Citizen Concierge can simplify the process of filing your Form G-639, thereby increasing your chances of a successful FOIA request. With their secure data handling practices and encryption protocols, you can trust that your personal information will be protected throughout the process.


Navigating the USCIS FOIA request system and accessing immigration records can be a complex process, but Form G-639 offers a reliable and efficient solution. By understanding the purpose and benefits of Form G-639, properly preparing and submitting your request, and staying informed throughout the process, you can confidently access crucial immigration records that can significantly impact your case. With the help of this comprehensive guide and expert resources like Citizen Concierge, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the world of USCIS FOIA requests and take control of your immigration journey.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Form G-639 used for?2023-11-29T09:26:31+00:00

Form G-639 is used to make a Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request to access U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) records under the Freedom of Information Act or the Privacy Act of 1974. This request can be made for yourself or another person with their permission.

How much is Form G-639 USCIS?2023-11-29T09:00:53+00:00

There is no filing fee for Form G-639 when requesting a FOIA request from USCIS. However, you are required to sign a document stating that you will pay a maximum fee of $25 if necessary. Generally, the easier your request is to fulfill, the less likely it is that you will have to pay the fee.

Where do I send my G-639 form?2023-11-29T09:02:07+00:00

To submit your G-639 form, mail your request to the National Records Center (NRC) FOIA/PA Office at P.O. Box 648010, Lee’s Summit, MO 64064-8010. Alternatively, you can make your request online or with a FOIA request to Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

How long does it take to get a FOIA back from immigration?2023-11-29T09:03:14+00:00

Processing times for a FOIA request from immigration vary, but typically the agency must respond within 20 business days of receipt. However, due to the volume of requests and backlogs, responses can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

How do I submit my Form G-639 to USCIS?2023-11-29T09:04:34+00:00

To submit your Form G-639, you can either use the USCIS online FOIA request service or mail it in according to the instructions on the USCIS website.

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