A Comprehensive Handbook for G-639 Form, Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Application


Accessing USCIS immigration records is simple with Form G-639, the Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request. This form empowers you to ask for government-held information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), ensuring transparency.

USCIS, or the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, steers these records. Whether you seek your own records or those of others in specific situations, this form serves as your entry point.

Many individuals utilize a FOIA request, like Form G-639, to uncover valuable insights within their USCIS files. Immigration attorneys often employ this method to gather essential client data for well-informed advice.

Furthermore, if you're delving into your family's immigration history, a FOIA request can unearth ancestral records, shedding light on their past journeys to the United States.

Explaining the Alien File [or the A-file]

An alien file, often called an A-file, is a collection of documents. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) keeps it for people who come to the United States from other countries to live or just visit. 

This file holds all the important papers about their citizenship, immigration status, or any help they requested. 

It includes what they give to the government and what the government finds out about them, such as:

  • investigations, 
  • statements, 
  • letters, 
  • notes. 

Sometimes, it even has other papers that prove who they are, like birth records.

If you're a U.S. citizen or not, you can ask to see what's in someone's alien file. You do this by using the FOIA. 

To do that, you fill out a form called G-639. It's a good way to find out what information USCIS has about you. If you have permission, you can also fill out Form G639 for a child or someone else. You just need to be their parents or legal guardians or have their written consent.

Explaining the Freedom Information/Privacy Act Request [or the FOIA]

The FOIA is a U.S. law that says the government must share certain information when asked. It applies to government records and tells how they must share them. Some things can stay secret, though. 

This law helps people see how the government works and lets them ask questions. For immigration records, they allow you to get copies of specific files about immigrants.

How to Properly Use Form G639 Immigration Records

 You can use the G639 Form to:

  1. Ask for your immigration records.
  2. Ask for someone else's immigration records if they agree.
  3. Fix or change these records if needed.

Most of the time, USCIS will give you these records for free. (But if it takes a lot of work and copying, there might be charges.)

Common Mistakes When Using G639 Form Immigration Records

Avoid misusing the G639 Form. Here are some situations where it shouldn't be used:

  1. Don't use it to check the pending application status. Call USCIS at 18003755283.
  2. For approval of visa petitions, don't use it. Try Form I824.
  3. Don't use it to retrieve original documents. Use Form G884.
  4. For pre-September 27th, 1906, naturalization records, contact the court clerk.
  5. To inquire about the USCIS arrival manifests before December 1982, reach out to the National Archives.
  6. Don't use it to prove status like Social Security benefits or Selective Service requirements.

Properly using government forms is important for efficiency and to prevent legal or administrative issues. If unsure about the form, seek assistance from USCIS or consult an immigration lawyer.

Is Online Filing Available for Form G-639? 

USCIS offers an online request service to quickly and efficiently ask for records and check your case status. Being precise about the documents you need is crucial. USCIS will let you know if there are errors in your request.

For those who want help with the form, usa-immigrations.com provides affordable services designed by immigration experts. It simplifies the process and alerts you to any issues. You'll also receive clear instructions on what supporting documents to include.

Alternatively, you can get the USCIS Form G639 PDF file from the website, but make sure it's the accepted edition. Although you can fill it out by hand in black ink, typing is better to avoid mistakes and speed up the process.

How to Complete G 639 Form 

If you are not using USCIS's online filing, usa-immigrations user-friendly platform can assist you in preparing your request swiftly and precisely. usa-immigrations online service offers straightforward G-639 guidelines, ensuring simplicity. We will also make sure that USCIS will process your request.

Should you opt for the PDF version, Form G-639, there's an alternative route. Fetch the guidance manual from USCIS or heed these summarized steps for a smoother experience.

General Instructions

Follow these general instructions to file your request properly:

  • Use black ink for your answers.
  • If a question doesn't apply to you, write "N/A." And if your answer is zero, write "NONE."
  • If you have documents in a foreign language, provide a certified English translation.
  • For supporting documents, make photocopies except when an original is requested.

With the basic guidelines laid out, let’s now break down the general overview of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) or the Privacy Act (PA) in five parts.

Part I

Request Type 

Choose either "requesting" for the Freedom of Info Act (FOIA) or "amending" for Privacy Act (PA) purposes.

Part II

Requestor Information 

Specify whether you're using the G639 Form for yourself or someone else. If it's for yourself, you're the Record’s Subject, and you can skip the remaining queries in Part 2.

Representative Role 

Describe your connection to the Record’s Subject if you act on their behalf.

Part III

Regarding the Records You Want 

Describe why you're requesting these records. When you ask for information through FOIA, try to be clear about the specific files you need. It helps USCIS respond faster when you're precise instead of asking for a lot of records all at once.

Details About the Person 

In the rest of Part III, give as much data as possible about the person whose records interest you. This helps USCIS staff search their files effectively to find what they're looking for.

Part IV & V

About Identity and Consent 

Give detailed information about the person's identification and contact details for verification and consent.

Signing the Form 

If you're requesting it for yourself, you'll sign it. If it's for someone else, they must sign it. There's also an option if the person is deceased. They can sign with a notarized or sworn statement.

Processing Info 

Tell us if any special circumstances warrant this request. If you have proof, USCIS may process your request faster.

This is a shortened list of guidance for the G-639 Form. You can download the USCIS official guide or use the usa-immigrations service to complete the form. usa-immigrations.com offers specific instructions tailored to your case. You'll receive clear directions on what documents to include, how to arrange them, and the address to send the form.

Where Do I Mail My G-639 Form? 

You can send your G-639 Form to USCIS either online or by mail. It's important to note that USCIS no longer accepts in-person submissions at their offices. Instead, all requests are handled by the National USCIS Benefits Center. For those seeking arrival or departure records, you can also submit a G-639 Form to CBP or Customs & Border Protection.

Processing Time for Form G-639

USCIS response times to Form G-639 FOIA submissions vary. The timeframe hinges on request complexity and other factors. Simple, specific document requests are quicker. Seeking extensive records or full alien files often extends the wait. Expedited processing is an option in unique circumstances, such as impending immigration hearings.

USCIS employs a three-track FIFO system, a key determinant of processing speed, based on criteria:

Track 1: For straightforward requests, typically one or a few specific documents.

Track 2: For intricate cases, including full file copies, media or group requests. Requests implying most of the file fall here.

Track 3: Reserved for individuals facing immigration judges demanding specific documentation.

Post-submission, expect an acknowledgment letter confirming receipt with a FOIA control number in about a month. Monitor request status online using the provided control number, although response times may vary due to increasing FOIA requests.

How usa-immigrations.com Helps You

You can fill out this form on USCIS's website for free. However, they won't help you ensure it's done right.

usa-immigrations.com offers an accessible, cost-effective online solution for simplifying Form G-639, the Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request. Devised by immigration experts, our FOIA Request Package helps you sidestep common mistakes that lead to delays and frustrations. 

We're here to ensure your request is error-free, offering tailored filing guidelines. Empower yourself with this effective DIY resource while enjoying our dedicated customer support and a USCIS-requested file money-back guarantee (if available). Ready to begin? Get started now.

Get your G-639 FOIA requests with these 3 quick steps:

  • Verify Eligibility - No need to sign up.

We'll inquire about a couple of things to ensure you qualify and are filling out the right form.

  • Complete G-639 Form FOIA request - No commitment required.

Our user-friendly software will navigate you through the FOIA request process for a hassle-free experience.

  • Get, Print, and Submit - For just $$, gain service access and assistance.

Once you're content with your request, effortlessly obtain your G-639 form and tailored filing guidance.


Can I Ask for Immigration Documents for My Late Family Members? 

Absolutely, Form G-639 can be submitted to obtain the immigration record of a deceased family member. When initiating the process, it's essential to furnish proof of the individual's demise, typically in the form of an official death certificate.

For records exceeding a century in age, exploring retrieval through USCIS Genealogy Programs is advisable.

Do I Have to Pay for G-639 Form Immigration Requests? 

Usually, it's free for simple requests. Complex ones may incur fees. Don't pay when filing. Charges may apply after USCIS notifies you during processing, but narrowing your request can often keep it cost-free.

How Do I Sign G-639? 

When filing Form G-639, a Freedom Information Request (FOIA), USCIS mandates the Record's Subject consent to information sharing. The Subject must sign using a sworn declaration or opt for notarization. Two signing options exist:

  1. Notarized Affidavit - A verified statement witnessed by a notary public, carrying legal consequences if false.
  2. Sworn Declaration Under Penalty of Perjury - A similar commitment to truth, with acknowledgment of potential perjury if untrue. Sworn declarations are often preferred for their efficiency over notarized affidavits.

How to Proceed with G-639 When the Record's Subject is No Longer Living?

In cases where the Record's Subject cannot provide their signature, the Requester may step in, but additional criteria might apply.

Parent(s) or legal guardian(s) can sign a FOIA request on behalf of a minor, accompanied by proof of parenthood or guardianship. Acceptable documents encompass:

  1. Birth certificates
  2. Adoption decrees
  3. Any analogous document certifying the Requester's legal guardianship

When you seek information about a deceased Record's Subject, the Requester may sign while supplying evidence of the individual's demise. Suitable proofs include:

  1. Death certificates
  2. Obituaries
  3. Funeral memorials
  4. Photographs of the headstone

How Do I Find Out About My FOIA Request's Progress? 

Following your submission, expect a USCIS acknowledgment letter in approximately 20 business days (roughly a month). This letter validates receipt and provides a unique FOIA control number. Regardless of your request method (online or via mail), you can monitor request status online using the included FOIA control number in your receipt.

Last Updated 10/08/23 06:45:42AM

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