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H1B FOIA Request to Obtain Copies of Immigration Records

11,628 views 70 comments
posted Jun 18, 2014 in Letter Templates by dan (24,624 points)
edited Jan 20, 2016 by dan

The following template is to be used to request copies of Immigration Records, you may use this for records of any type of Non-Immigrant or Immigrant Petition. I have made this letter for H1B records.

You may write a letter with your Name, passport number and case type. Please use a United States address as USCIS will send your case information in a Compact Disc. You can mail or fax NOIA request for USCIS records, including alien files and procurement information, to the National Records Center. 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
National Records Center, FOIA/PA Office
P. O. Box 648010
Lee’s Summit, MO 64064-8010
Live Assistance: 1-800-375-5283
Fax (802) 288-1793 or (816) 350-5785
uscis.foia@dhs.gov

Alternatively you may file FORM G-639 and it is not required. The form is little complicated, sending a simple letter is the best option.

How long does it take to obtain records?

USCIS takes up to 3 months to process your request, so plan right away

I am not in the United States, can I still submit a request?

Yes, it’s better to use a local US address of a friend or relative or even your new employer.

Will I get a copy of the I-797 Approval Notice?

No, USCIS will send you a copy of the I-129 petition with an Approval Stamp on the first page (if it was approved)  

How to use Cap Exempt H1B with FAQs

Please let me know if this information is helpful or you need more information to file an FOIA request to obtain copies of your H1B Records.

LETTER TEMPLATE

Date:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
National Records Center, FOIA/PA Office
P. O. Box 648010

Dear Sir or Madam:

Re: FOIA Request for H1B Petition/Immigration Records

Receipt # EAC/WAC

Full Legal Name:

Passport Number:

Country of Citizenship:

Date of Birth:

Please provide copies of my H1B Immigration records to the following address:

US Address or Overseas Address

____________________

____________________

____________________

Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Sincerely,

Name and Signature

Courtesy  rheidrick 

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70 Comments

commented Jun 4, 2015 by Raj
Hello Dan,

I would like to know why do we need to request for the Immigration documents. USCIS will send you approved documents if your application is approved, why is this to be requested again? Please clarify. Thanks
commented Jun 4, 2015 by Dan
You request only when you do not have access to your documents from the h1b employer.
commented Jun 4, 2015 by Rama Moorthi
Hi Dan,
           This article is very useful. Thanks a lot.

 Just 1 question USCIS send you the soft copies right?
 In that case why cannot they send a soft copy to your email? which will be fast and cheap.

  Any way it their call but any inputs on that.

Thanks
commented Jun 4, 2015 by Dan
You are right, but due to security issues, they will not send an mail.
commented Jun 4, 2015 by Raj
Thank you Dan. It is very useful.

I would like to know if there will be any problem if we request for soft copy, though we receive the USCIS approved documents (hardcopies) from the employer?
commented Jun 4, 2015 by Rama Moorthi
Hi Dan,
            Your answers have been always helpful for me :).
I have on more question please provide some info on that.

To obtain FOIA wee need to sign the letter and USCIS says the sign has to be notarized :(.
(http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/About%20Us/FOIA/FOIA-FAQs.pdf, In section 2.b)

IS this strictly followed will I get my H1b approved petion if I sen a letter with only signature ( no notary).

Thanks and Regards,
tony
commented Jun 4, 2015 by Dan
You may send it with original signature.
commented Jun 5, 2015 by Par
Hi Dan,

Thanks for this article. I just wanted to know if we open FOI for H1B documents. If USCIS notify this to employer about it?
commented Jun 5, 2015 by Dan
No, they won't!
commented Jun 5, 2015 by Par
thanks Dan

-Par
commented Jun 5, 2015 by Rama Moorthi
Hi Dan,

Actually I sent a for mat of the letter to USCIS by sanil mail. I used the template here and modified it little bit.
But they are asking for notarized signatue.

Here is the reply I got
===================
We received your FOIA request.  However, we need you to submit a completed G-639 form which can be found on our website at USCIS.gov, or you need to submit your request in writing with either a notarized signature or a statement signed under penalty of perjury that includes your full name, Date of Birth, and Place of birth.  You will have to resubmit your request per the last letter that we sent you.
 
Thanks,
 
 
 
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
Supervisory, Government Information Specialist
FOIA/PA Operations (Case Create, PAC, FST)
DHS/USCIS/ESD/NRC
=========================================

Any suggestion on this.
Any way I consider this as good as I can resubmit again with express option
Thanks
commented Jun 6, 2015 by Dan
You have 2 options, use the form or send a letter with the following: (If possible notarize the letter)

I,
commented Jun 7, 2015 by Par
USCIS sent me documents like approved G28 & 129 forms. But they mentioned that they were unable to locate H1 B i797 approval copy. What else i can do now to get the copy of H1 B approval?
commented Jun 7, 2015 by Dan
The I-129 has the approval stamp, you can use it to file an H1B Transfer. They dont send a copy of the H1B approval notice.
commented Jun 7, 2015 by par
I went through document in USCIS CD and I found a contract agreement of 3 years. Employer sent me this agreement (where he mentioned he can fire me any time without notice and if i want to leave him i have to give 30 days notice and $22000+ amount) and i refused to sign on this. I modified that document (as two sided agreement) and signed on that new updated document which i created. but i think he copied my signature from new document to his own agreement and used that for petition. I think i am going back to india in next 2 weeks as i don't wanna work with him because he is asking me to he will start my paycheck when he will find client and asking me to work on my current employer silently until i get the job.

thanks for all your help till today. God may bless you
commented Jun 7, 2015 by Dan
I dont think agreements like this are enforceable to h1b holders. Your H1B employment is at will and i am surprised that they send such documents to USCIS. You are now eligible to transfer your h1b, if you need help with a project and h1b transfer, send me your resume with contacts at admin@h1bsupport.com
commented Jun 8, 2015 by Dan
commented Jun 8, 2015 by Dan
commented Jun 8, 2015 by Manish
Hello Dan,

I have sent G-639 by email and post but I have not heard anything from them, its being almost 1.5 month now?

Can you suggest me what can I do now?

Manish
commented Jun 8, 2015 by Dan
You should have received a receipt by now, email at: uscis.foia@dhs.gov
commented Jun 8, 2015 by Dan
YEs, the I-129 form will have the stamp with the receipt number (This is the form your H1B employer has filed with the USCIS, it also has all your information including name, passport number etc,) http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-129.pdf
commented Jun 8, 2015 by Dan
YEs, the I-129 form will have the stamp with the receipt number (This is the form your H1B employer has filed with the USCIS, it also has all your information including name, passport number etc,) http://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/files/form/i-129.pdf
commented Jun 8, 2015 by Manish
Hi Dan ,

As you mentioned they will send i-129 with approval stamp does that stamp will show the receipt number as well?

My current problem is I have receipt number but how to prove that the receipt number belongs to me.

Regards
Manish
commented Jun 8, 2015 by Rakesh
Hello Dan,

I see a lot of helpful replies posted by you here.

I also had a similar question.

My employer filed an H1B petetion for me and it got approved and is valid from October 1st 2013.

But i only have the LCA number related to the same.

Can i file the FOIA without receipt number?

If yes, will i be able to H1 transfer using the receipt number provided in I-129 and How long will this take.

Thanks in advance!

Regards,
Rakesh
commented Jun 8, 2015 by Rahul
Hi Dan,
I have Signed and sent the scan copy of G-639 by email, I got the auto-mailer but not received any acknowledgement letter yet. Do they sent the acknowledgement by Post? or will they also send via email? how long it takes to get the acknowledgment letter?

P.S. you are doing a great job. Thanks a lot for helping the people.
commented Jun 9, 2015 by Elie Fabros
Thanks for the info, it
commented Jun 9, 2015 by Elie Fabros
Thanks for the info, it
commented Jun 9, 2015 by Elie Fabros
Thanks for the info, it
commented Jun 9, 2015 by Elie Fabros
Thanks for the info, it
commented Jun 9, 2015 by Deepa
Hi,

When we write a letter or fill the G 639 form, should our signature be notarized? Thanks a lot for your time and answers.

With regards
Deepa.
commented Jun 9, 2015 by Deepa Yamini
Hi,

I want to get a copy of all my immigration records including my OPT. Should I place a single request or should I place multiple requests? Should I give the specific receipt numbers or is it not required? I am planning to email the request, the statement of perjury - should I just type it in a word document, sign it and scan it? Please provide a sample of the statement of perjury.

with smiles,
Deepa.
commented Jun 9, 2015 by Dan
NOT REQUIRED.
commented Jun 9, 2015 by viren
No notarization required. I have just signed and emailed the scan copy and I got the response after a month.
commented Jun 9, 2015 by Deepa Yamini Ramesh
Hi,

I want to get a copy of all my immigration records including my OPT. Should I place a single request or should I place multiple requests? Should I give the specific receipt numbers or is it not required? I am planning to email the request, the statement of perjury - should I just type it in a word document, sign it and scan it? Please provide a sample of the statement of perjury.

with smiles,
Deepa.
commented Jun 9, 2015 by Rahul
yes, the whole purpose of FOIR is to get your information. If you have receipt then why you need to file FOIA, you can just transfer your H1 with the receipt#
commented Jun 9, 2015 by Arun
Hi,

I have not receipt number with me. Can i file the FOIA without Receipt number. Is it possible for USICS to get the information by my Name, Passport Number, Date of birth and Country of residence.

Please respond me ASAP!

Thanks & Regards
Arun
commented Jun 9, 2015 by Par
Hi Dan,

I got my H1B FOIA copy. I need some help. Would like to talk. Please send me an email so we can talk.
commented Jun 9, 2015 by Dan
Yes, while filing request a copy of the entire immigration record, please send a copy of your Passport Bio-Page.
commented Jun 9, 2015 by Dan
What's your email? I am at dan (at) hireitpeople.com
commented Jun 9, 2015 by Rafta
Dan, Do you get back all the documents in the H1 petition that the employer submitted (resume, edu/experience docs etc.) OR just the h1 approval notice? Pl let me know. Thanks.
commented Jun 10, 2015 by santosh
I really appreciate your response ..

I have written a letter asking for my old  H1B records as i don't have any details ---
I have attached my old passport as well ..Is there anything else you can advice me i  should send over ?
commented Jun 10, 2015 by Dan
Yes, if you requested for all your records.
commented Jun 10, 2015 by Par
It took one month to get the documents from USCIS
commented Jun 10, 2015 by Santosh
@ Guest Par -- can you please tell me how long it took for you to get your documents/file  ?
I have sent the request for H1B details .. previous employer in 2009 did not provide me the details and I had to quit the company in 2009 .
I am currently in USA on L1A visa

Kindly advice if my case would be eligible

Regards
Santosh
commented Jun 10, 2015 by santosh
yup i have used the form as mentioned ..
commented Jun 10, 2015 by Vamshi
Hi,

Can I request it for I140 Approval copy.

Vamshi
commented Jun 10, 2015 by Dan
Did you use a form as explained in this Article?
commented Jun 10, 2015 by Dan
Sure, you can request copies of your I-140 records.
commented Jun 10, 2015 by Dan
You need to send them a copy of ID, if you are overseas, send first page of passport in color and any other ID to show that you are the person.
commented Jun 10, 2015 by santosh
Hi ,
Got a response via MAIL on my H1B receipt /Petition details .

This is the contents to the MAIL ..Kindly adivce on how i should proceed

Again i had request for my H1B Receipt no/Petition details ..

We received your request for information on September 25, 2015, relating to Santosh Ignatius Balu Chowrappa.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C.
commented Jun 10, 2015 by santosh
Hi,

I did send my passport copy  ..correct me if i am wrong they are asking for a notarized signature ?
am planning to send my passport and DRIVING license  copy

Regards
Santosh
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replied Nov 20, 2017 by Divya
Hi All,

I currently do not have my petition number and I am trying to get copy of my I129 to know my petition numner. I need the help with below information:

1) What details should I provide in the email? Is passport number and its color scan copies enough?

2) Should I also fill and attach scanned G-639 form?

3) Is just the signature on the G-639 form enough? I am currently not in US and I do not know how to notorize it.

Thank you so much in advance. Your response is highly appreciated.

Regards,

Divya
commented Jul 5, 2016 by sp (100 points)

Dear Dan,

I don’t have my H1B receipt number and would like to apply FOIA as mention above to obtain the same. However I have following questions.

  1. As per https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/About%20Us/FOIA/How%20to%20File%20a%20FOIA%20Privact%20Act%20Request/USCIS_FOIA_Request_Guide.pdf

this guideline applicant have to specify current address. Currently I’m leaving outside of USA so I have to specify my local country address as current address. In this case, can I ask USCIS to send my immigration records to my friend or relative at US address?

2. In FOIA, applicant has to verify his/her identity. Do I need to i.) The notarized signature of the subject of record or Declarations under penalty of perjury. ? FYI, I'm planning to send my FOIA request through email (scan copy) in that case my signature will be consider as verified ?

Thank you very much for your help. 

replied Jul 5, 2016 by RaNa (14,558 points)
  1. As per https://www.uscis.gov/sites/default/files/USCIS/About%20Us/FOIA/How%20to%20File%20a%20FOIA%20Privact%20Act%20Request/USCIS_FOIA_Request_Guide.pdf

this guideline applicant have to specify current address. Currently I’m leaving outside of USA so I have to specify my local country address as current address. In this case, can I ask USCIS to send my immigration records to my friend or relative at US address?

You can use a friend address

2. In FOIA, applicant has to verify his/her identity. Do I need to i.) The notarized signature of the subject of record or Declarations under penalty of perjury. ? FYI, I'm planning to send my FOIA request through email (scan copy) in that case my signature will be consider as verified ?

Better ask someone you know to mail it from US or Fax (Not email). You don't need to notarize

Also make sure to send the copy of your passport and the sign is same on passport as well as form

replied Jul 19, 2016 by anonymous
Better to notarize with a seal valid internationally.
It will be a sure shot.
commented Jul 9, 2016 by dimple jaral (100 points)

Hi Dan,

Hope you are doing great!!

I really need your help and suggestion, It is now more than 8 months that my petition has been approved but due to no current project related to my profile in USA, i am still in my parent country. I tired to get receipt number from my employer but they denied to give me. I have few question to be asked, please provide answers for the same.

1. Is there is any way by which i can get my receipt number from USCIS ?
2. What happen to my petition if i change company?
3. New company can file my cab exempt petition?
4. Do we have any thing called as H1B transfer, If yes please tell me list of consultancies or organisations who can help me?

replied Jul 19, 2016 by anonymous
1) u can get your petition number( and a copy) using FOIA, but u cannot get any I-797 receipt using FOIA. U can try apply for duplicate reciept. but if yoy are not the applicant or the emp[loyer you cannot do that either.
Petition no is good for most of the purposes.
replied Dec 2, 2016 by vaibhav.munale (952 points)

Hi ,

I had filed a FOIA request at USCIS to receive my H1B petition and had received acknowledgement number on 19thOct'2016. Till yesterday my request was around 8 of pending 22 requests in Track one but suddenly they moved my request to 1800 of 4000 pending requests in Track one. Now I doubt that i will receive it till next month due to holidays. I don't have much time left in filing my PERM so is there any way to expedite my FOIA request and get the petition in next 20 days ? Please let me know. It is very urgent. 

replied Dec 15, 2016 by anonymous
Try emailing them, quoting all the details about your application and also provide a proof  of identity in the email. Also state the reason for your urgency.
They have responded to my email(when my FOIA cd got lost in transition and they send it again).
Good luck.
replied Jan 15, 2017 by vaibhav.munale (952 points)
edited Jan 18, 2017 by vaibhav.munale
Thanks for your suggestion.

I wrote twice to them and I also received reply from them.

For the first time, i received following reply.

"You must establish that one of the following situations exists in order to receive expedited treatment of your FOIA/PA request:

1. Reasonably expected circumstances pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; or

2. There is an urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged Federal government activity made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information."

For the 2nd time, I suggested it has been already more than 59 days for my FOIA requst  but they reply following.

"Per the notations, they had to contact the location that has your file. Until we receive that file, we cannot process your request."

As per the current processing time, it looks like i may not receive my H1B copy until 31st March'2017 and then i will have only 2.5 months to apply for PERM.  and they don't have any intention to bring me on board until my L1B expires. Can someone please help me to come out of this situation ?
commented Jan 17, 2017 by mihu
Hi Dan,

Thank you for sharing the information, and how to go ahead with filling the FOIA for getting H1b docs.

My H1b is filled in consular processing in 2014 and approved, and as you suggested - I am going to send snail mail with the template you suggested and form G-639 (and also passport first/last page colored).

Should I mention that I am in USA and on H4 visa(dependent of my husband on H1b) as of now.

Should I mention in the template you provided or in the form G-639 or both.

Is a banker will be comfortable to notarize form G-639
replied Jan 24, 2017 by anonymous
Hi Dan,

Hope you are doing good..

I had H1b Approved Petition in 2016 and i didnt travel to US on this, but currently i cameto US on H4 but when i left my company they revoked my H1B petition...can i still search jobs now in US on H1B?

Please suggest..

Thanks
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commented Aug 23, 2017 by MSR99 (100 points)
This artical is very very useful.
commented Apr 3 by joy
Hi,

i requested for my i797 and i129 by providing my petition number. after 20 days r so i received a acknowledgement (i live in US) from them along with a control number. after 3 months of wait i received a soft copy of my i129 and i797e (notice of action) along with LCA. now my question is can i again request for copy of i797a  with the same control number? i have read your post saying they dont provide i797 approval copy.but i have a friend who says he received a approval copy though i have'nt confirmed it yet.
replied Apr 3 by anonymous
You just need receipt number to transfer, just send i797 u got to employer, that would do
commented Apr 12 by anonymous
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