Where to File G-639: Your Guide to Requesting Immigration Records

Filing a Form G-639, also known as the Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request, allows individuals to access U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) records. These records can provide important information regarding immigration history, case status, and other personal data held by USCIS. In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act of 1974, applicants can submit their requests for information that the government holds. It is also possible to request amendments to records if inaccuracies are found.

Submitting these requests has been streamlined by the ability to file them online. This not only expedites the sending of the request to USCIS but also enables individuals to track the progress of their requests.

g-1055 form

Upon the processing of their FOIA or Privacy Act requests, applicants can directly receive responses and securely download the requested records.

While individuals can use the designated Form G-639 for such requests, USCIS will accept any written request for information, as long as it complies with the requirements and regulations of the FOIA and the Privacy Act. Regardless of the format chosen, it is imperative the request includes sufficient detail to allow the agency to identify and locate the pertinent records.

Overview of Form G-639

Form G-639, referred to as the Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request, is a document used to request access to records held by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). It operates under the framework of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act of 1974, which allows individuals to seek records about themselves or, in permitted cases, about others.

Key purposes of Form G-639 include:

  • Personal Record Requests: Individuals can request their immigration records or other USCIS-held information.
  • Third-Party Information Requests: With appropriate consent or proof of death, one may request records on behalf of another individual.

Filing Options:

  • Mail Submission: Requests can be made by submitting a filled-out Form G-639 through postal mail.
  • Online Submission: USCIS offers an online filing system for convenience and potentially faster processing time.

Important aspects when filing Form G-639:

  • Documentation: Ensure all necessary supporting documents are gathered prior to filing.
  • Accuracy: Complete the form with precise and correct information to prevent processing delays.
  • Form Completion: Incomplete forms may lead to further delay or inability to process the request.

It is essential for users to follow the specified instructions for filing their requests to ensure efficiency. USCIS emphasizes that using Form G-639 might streamline the process, albeit not mandatory; alternative written requests that conform to statutory FOIA procedures are also acceptable.

Eligibility for Submitting Form G-639

When seeking access or amendments to personal records held by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Form G-639 may be submitted by individuals or organizations. The eligibility criteria are clearly defined for both entities.

Individual Eligibility

Any individual, regardless of their citizenship status, has the right to request access to their own immigration records from USCIS through Form G-639. They can also seek to amend or correct these records if they believe there are errors. The individual must provide sufficient proof of identity to process the request.

Organization Eligibility

Organizations such as law firms or non-profits representing individuals can file Form G-639 on behalf of their clients. It is imperative that they have written consent from the individual whose records are being requested. Organizations must comply with the same identification verification processes as individuals when submitting requests.

Filing Locations for Form G-639

When filing Form G-639, an applicant has two primary options: submitting electronically or through postal mail. The method selected determines the corresponding filing location.

USCIS Electronic Filing

Individuals can file Form G-639, Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request, electronically via the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) online portal. This method is efficient and allows for easier tracking of the request’s status.

Postal Mail Submission

Alternatively, requests can be sent through postal mail. The current mailing address for Form G-639 submissions is:

  • FOIA/PA Office
    P.O. Box 648010
    Lee’s Summit, MO 64064-8010

Fax submissions can be sent to 816-350-5785, and it’s advisable to check the USCIS official website for the most recent contact information before sending the request.

Required Documents for Filing Form G-639

When filing Form G-639 to request records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or Privacy Act (PA), applicants need to provide sufficient documentation to verify their identity and authorization. Failure to provide necessary documents may result in delays or denial of the request.

Evidence of Identity

An individual must provide proof of their identity to ensure the proper handling of their records. The documentation should be current and contain sufficient detail to confirm that they are the subject of the records sought. Examples include:

  • Government-issued photo identification: Such as a passport or driver’s license.
  • Birth certificate: Along with a secondary form of identification that includes a photo or physical description.

Authorization Documentation

If the requester is not the subject of the records or is requesting information about another individual, they must supply authorization documentation.

  • Written consent: From the individual the records pertain to, authorizing the release of information.
  • Proof of guardianship or power of attorney: If the requester is the legal guardian or holds power of attorney for the subject of the records.

Ensuring that the provided documents are accurate and complete is crucial for the timely processing of Form G-639.

Processing Times and Expectations

When filing Form G-639, applicants should be prepared for varying wait times due to the nature of the information requested and the workload of the processing center.

Estimated Processing Times

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) does not specify a standard processing time for Form G-639, as it largely depends on the complexity of the request and the current workload. However, some requests may be processed and receive a response within approximately 10 business days. Applicants should note that this is a best-case scenario and that more complicated cases will inevitably take longer.

Status Inquiries

Once an applicant has filed Form G-639, they have the ability to check the status of their request online. This online service is beneficial as it allows the requestor to track the progress of their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or Privacy Act (PA) request and download records when they become available. It’s essential for applicants to regularly monitor their request to stay informed of any updates or actions required.

Fees and Fee Waivers

When filing Form G-639 for the Freedom of Information/Privacy Act, one must be keenly aware of the associated fees, as well as the options for fee waivers under qualifying conditions.

Fee Structure

Form G-639 typically does not require a fee when requesting copies of records held by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). However, if a request necessitates significant hours of search or photocopying efforts, fees may be incurred. The fee is determined by the scope and complexity of the request.

Qualifying for Fee Waivers

Fee waivers may be granted if the requester demonstrates that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. Fee waivers are assessed on a case-by-case basis, with approval contingent upon the requester meeting specific criteria set forth by USCIS.

Special Considerations

When filing Form G-639, it is crucial to differentiate between requests under the Privacy Act and those under the Freedom of Information Act, as each has unique processing guidelines.

Privacy Act Requests

Privacy Act Requests should be made when an individual seeks access to their own records or seeks to amend them. These requests are often more straightforward, as they pertain to personal information that may be protected by privacy laws.

  • Who: The requester must be the subject of the records or have written consent from the individual to whom the records pertain.
  • How: Complete Form G-639, providing the necessary personal details to facilitate record retrieval or amendment.

Freedom of Information Act Requests

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Requests are broader and can include requests for information on agency policies, procedures, or other non-personal records.

  • Who: Any individual, regardless of personal involvement or interest, may file FOIA requests.
  • How: While Form G-639 can be used for FOIA requests, alternatives such as a letter may be submitted.umbo

After Submission

Once Form G-639 is submitted, applicants will encounter a set of procedures to acknowledge their request and address potential delays or issues.

Receiving Acknowledgement

After an individual submits Form G-639, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) typically sends an acknowledgement letter. This letter confirms that USCIS has received the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and provides a tracking number. Applicants can use this number to check the status of their request.

Handling Delays and Issues

In cases where the response to a Form G-639 submission is delayed beyond the usual 20 business days, applicants may contact USCIS for updates. If issues arise, such as requests for additional information or clarification, the applicant should respond promptly to prevent further delays. It is essential for applicants to keep a record of all correspondence with USCIS to ensure a comprehensive understanding of their request’s progress.

Contact and Support

When seeking assistance for filing Form G-639, individuals have access to various sources of support. They can reach out directly to USCIS for guidance or consult legal professionals for comprehensive help with their requests.

USCIS Contact Information

For direct inquiries and support, one should contact the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). The USCIS offers multiple channels for contact:

  • Phone: They can call the USCIS Contact Center at 1-800-375-5283.
  • Online: Individuals can use the USCIS Electronic Immigration System (USCIS ELIS) to submit their FOIA request and track its progress.
  • Mail: Requests can also be mailed to the appropriate FOIA Requester Service Center. The address may vary depending on one’s location and the type of record requested; hence, one should verify the correct address on the USCIS website.

Legal Assistance

For those seeking more detailed guidance or representation, consulting with an immigration attorney or an accredited representative may be beneficial. Legal professionals can help:

  • Understand rights: An immigration lawyer can explain an individual’s rights under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and Privacy Act (PA).
  • Prepare documentation: They can assist in correctly filling out Form G-639 and gathering the necessary supplementary documents.
  • Navigate complex cases: If the case involves complicated legal issues, an attorney’s expertise could prove crucial in successfully accessing or amending immigration records.