USCIS to Begin Online Processing of FOIA Requests


USCIS has announced that it will be processing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests entirely online in the near future, as well as providing the results of those requests online.

Previously, USCIS allowed FOIA requests to be made only via mail, fax, and email and all results were provided on a compact disc by mail. USCIS will now be moving to a system of digital delivery that will take place through several stages.

Individuals who have an immigration court date pending will be able to file a FOIA request by creating an account on myUSCIS and receive the results of the request digitally. Requestors will be able to track the status of their FOIA request and receive notifications once USCIS has uploaded their records into the portal.

Within the next few months, digital delivery will become available for all individuals making a FOIA and Privacy Act request. USCIS is currently testing the system and will provide an update once these services become available to the general public.

The move is expected to streamline FOIA processing, reduce FOIA backlogs, eliminate errors, and speed up delivery of requests.

What is a FOIA request?

The government is required to allow the public to request access to various forms of public information held by federal agencies including immigration records held by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. USCIS, like other federal agencies, is required to disclose immigration records and information held by the agency upon receiving a FOIA request.

Who files a FOIA request?

Individuals may request their immigration records for their own personal review. Attorneys also file FOIA requests on behalf of their clients to better understand their client’s immigration history.

We will notify our readers as soon as online processing becomes available for all FOIA requestors.