In many cases there is no fee to file a 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
How to Avoid Fees
If you can keep your request very limited in scope, it’s unlikely that you’ll have to pay for the 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.