What is Form G-639?
Have you ever wondered what information the USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) has about you? Do you perhaps need that information to help settle an ongoing immigration matter?
The Form G-639 FOIA request can help you get the information you need. Take a look below for information on how to request it, where to send it, and how much it costs.
What is a G-639?
The U.S. has a law called the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which allows someone to gain their immigration-related information from the USCIS. Form G-639 is referred to as an FOIA request. With this form, you can request specific types of information about yourself. In certain cases, you may also ask someone else to request the information on your behalf. You would have to provide proper authorization for that person to submit a successful application, however.
The following things you can’t request or do with a G-639:
- Check the status of a pending case
- Consular notification of a visa petition approval
- The return of original documents
- Records of naturalization before September 27, 1906
- Information on USCIS manifest arrivals before December 1982
- Proof of status, such as Social Security benefit or Selective Service requirement
- Certification of Nonexistence of a Record involving any agency division.
Who Needs to File Form G-639?
You might be filing an EB1 visa application and you want some information which the USCIS holds about you. Who needs to file the FOIA request? You can file it yourself, or you can give someone the consent to file on your behalf.
The person about whom the information is requested is called the “subject of record”. The FOIA request asks for their personal information. A parent can also file on behalf of their children. They only need to prove parenthood. You can even file a Form G-639 for a deceased person.
Required Documents for G-639
You don’t actually need to file too much paperwork for a Form G-639. But, supplying the USCIS with enough evidence and proof will help them to find your information faster.
Here are the predominant groups of people filing an FOIA request and the type of documentation they need to file with the Form G-639:
- People requesting about themselves – Provide information proving your identity and include any information that relates to the information you require.
- Parents of the subject of record – Proof of parentage. It’s like a Form I-130 which proves your relationship with the subject of the record.
- When filing a request for a deceased person – Provide a death certificate. Include an obituary excerpt from the Social Security Death Index or a funeral service invite as proof.
How to Fill Out Form G-639
There are three things you need to clarify on the G-639. You must identify the information you need, determine which government immigration agency holds the information, and you must identify specific reasons for your request for information.
You can request the information from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) if you need information like manifests of U.S. exits and entries or even the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). If you are in removal proceedings before the immigration court, you need to direct your request to the Department of Justice’s Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR).
You can even file the FOIA request online.
If you are uncertain about any aspects of your Form G-639, contact a licensed immigration attorney. They will give you the best possible advice regarding your situation.
Form G-639 Sections
The form is broken up into different sections. They are as follows.
- Part 1 – For “Type of Request” mark the first box named “Freedom of Information Act”.
- Part 2 – If you are filing this for your own information, mark the box named “yes”.
- Part 3 – List the specific information you are requesting.
- Part 4 – This part usually serves for the purpose when someone has the subject of record’s consent to file on their behalf.
Where to File G-639
Online applications will automatically reach the USCIS if you follow the instructions supplied. But in some cases, people would rather opt to file the paperwork physically. You can find the mailing address for your G-639 request on the USCIS website. Open the “Where to File” tab for the address.
How Much Does G-639 Cost?
The cost of the Form G-639 may be confusing. There is no official filing fee for it. But commercial requestors may be required to pay a fee based on their request. The first 100 pages of reproduction and 2 hours of search time are for free. Thereafter an FOIA request may charge 10 cents per page.
The fees will be charged if the combined cost exceeds $14. By submitting this form, you agree to pay for fees up to $25. If the anticipated fees exceed $250, or you have failed to pay fees in previous instances the USCIS will require you to pay a deposit for the G-639 request.
Processing fees are not refundable and you shouldn’t send it to the USCIS via mail as a cash amount. Submit all fees in exact amounts to curb any confusion or the owing of change. You can submit a check or money order, but only in U.S. currency. Make the check or money order payable to the Treasury of the United States.
Please note, a check will automatically be changed to an electronic funds transfer (EFT). The USCIS will use your banking details supplied on the check to electronically debit your bank account for the stated amount. An unpayable check will be charged a returned check fee and your G-639 request will be rejected.
G-639 Processing Time
Send your G-639 request to the USCIS and wait about 20 business days for them to accept the request. They will acknowledge the request by issuing you a control number for your request and an estimation for the expected time frame. The USCIS will send you a request for additional information if you haven’t supplied enough evidence or information. This will undoubtedly prolong the processing time and you must try to avoid it by supplying the right information from the beginning.
Processing times will vary dependent on the nature of each unique case. It is possible to request priority processing in the instance where information is urgently required for an upcoming immigration hearing. You may also ask for expedited processing if the circumstances of the subject of record require imminent action to prevent loss of life or physical harm. Or in the case of an urgency to inform the public about the actual or alleged federal government activity if made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information.
There are instances in which you may require immigration information about yourself held by the U.S. government. You may request that information through a Form G-639 or also called an FOIA request (Freedom of Information Act). You can file the form online or send a physical request to the applicable USCIS mailing address. You are also allowed to request priority processing if you have valid reasons.
Please ask a professional like a licensed immigration attorney to help you with the filing fees since an FOIA request has an intricate fee structure. They can also advise you on the best way to settle the payment.
File your FOIA request today. You may even file one for your child or a deceased person. All you need to remember is to submit the required proof.