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What is the cost of an immigration FOIA request (Form G-639)?

In most cases, there is no cost for an immigration FOIA request with Form G-639, Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request. Generally, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not charge a fee if the request is very simple. On the other hand, complex requests for an entire immigration file with hundreds of pages may result in a fee.

Guidelines for FOIA Request (Form G-639) Fees

  1. Do not include any fee when you file Form G-639. You will be asked to consent to pay a maximum of $25; however, do not pay when filing.
  2. Except for commercial requesters, the first 100 pages of reproduction and the first two hours of search time will be provided without charge. Thereafter, for requests processed under the Privacy Act, there may be a fee of 10 cents per page for photocopy duplication. Other costs for searches and duplication will be charged at the actual direct cost.
  3. Fees will only be charged if the aggregate amount of fees for searches, copy, and/or review is more than $14. No fees are required until you are notified by USCIS during the processing of your request.

However, today’s FOIA requests are fulfilled on a DVD. Therefore, there is no paper. The typical individual FOIA request results in no charge to individual requesters.

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How to Avoid Cost for an Immigration FOIA Request

If you can keep your request very limited in scope, it’s unlikely that there will be any cost for an immigration FOIA request. For example, if you simply need to know if an I-130 petition has ever been filed on your behalf, make your request for “any and all Form I-130 petitions that include my name.” Or if you need to know your alien registration number, make the request for “a copy of my alien registration number” rather than your entire immigration file.

Even if you request an entire immigration file, most people do not have a file large enough to justify a fee.

RECOMMENDED: How to Get a Copy of Your Immigration File

Cost for CitizenPath

You may always download a free Form G-639 from the USCIS website. If you want help preparing the form, CitizenPath can assist you for a small fee.

CitizenPath provides simple, affordable, step-by-step guidance through USCIS immigration applications. Individuals, attorneys and non-profits use the service on desktop or mobile device to prepare immigration forms accurately, avoiding costly delays. CitizenPath allows users to try the service for free and provides a 100% money-back guarantee that USCIS will approve the application or petition. Learn more >>

Source: USCIS