On May 7, 2014, JCS Immigration and Visa Law Office, an immigration attorney’s office in Los Angeles, CA obtained information on frequently asked questions about U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)’s FOIA Office. We have included these FAQs below for your convenience. The Freedom of Information Act allows citizens and non-citizens to request information about themselves by formally submitting a written request to different agencies of the Government.
1. How do I submit a FOIA request to CBP?
The fastest way to submit a FOIA request is to submit it electronically. This can be done by visiting https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/public/home and create a FOIA online account. The online method is preferred to mail or fax for several reasons:
- you will immediately receive a FOIA tracking number and receive acknowledgement from CBP that the request was received.
- you will be able to track the request any time through the online account.
- you will receive an email to retrieve responsive records or documents visa the online account, when the records become available.
- you can view all of your historical FOIA requests in the online account.
2. Can I submit a FOIA request to receive my travel history to apply for U.S. citizenship?
This is a common request of individuals when applying for U.S. Naturalization. Please note that USCIS only requires you to record your time outside the United States during the last 5 years only. Your travel history can be retrieve from your official passport; you do not need to submit a FOIA request unless you do not have possession of your passport. Read more about N-400, Application for Naturalization here.
3. As a nonimmigrant U.S. visitor, how can I access my I-94 arrival/departure records and history?
Recently, CBP updated their website to allow visitors the ability to review the past 5 years of their arrival/departure record. This new feature will eliminate the need for certain FOIA requests as a result. Nonimmigrant U.S. visitors are encouraged to visit http://cbp.gov/I94 where they may access their travel records by entering their biographical information and passport information.
4. Can I submit a FOIA request to receive records in my Alien File (A-File)?
FOIA request for copies of A-File records should be submitted directly to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Alien files are maintained by the National Records Center (NRC) and are under the control of USCIS. A-Files may include visas, photographs, affidavits, and correspondence leading up to an alien’s naturalization, permanent residency, or deportation. To file a FOIA request with USCIS, please visit this link.