The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires that USCIS acknowledge your request within 20 business days from the date received. You will receive an acknowledgement letter from USCIS that contains a control number and an estimate on time frame. However, if you have not provided sufficient information to process the request, USCIS may respond with a request for additional information. Further, USCIS may extend the response time for an additional 10 business days in certain situations.
Typical FOIA Request Processing Times
Processing times for Form G-639 and other USCIS FOIA requests can vary significantly based on the nature of the request. Simple requests for specific documents make only take four to eight weeks. However, more complex requests and requests for entire immigration files can take approximately six months. For this reason, limit your request to what you need.
Multi-Track Processing for Form G-639
USCIS uses a three-track, first-in/first-out (FIFO) processing system. This system is one of the most significant factors that affects FOIA request processing times. Your FOIA request will be assigned to a track based on several criteria.
- Track 1 is for less complex cases in which a requester needs only one or only a few specific documents from the file.
- Track 2 is for more complex cases. A complete copy of a file, requests from the news media, or special interest groups are examples of Track 2 cases. If USCIS receives a request for specific documents which implies most of the file (for instance, “the asylum application and all supporting documents,”) they will assign the request to the complex track.
- Track 3 is an accelerated track for cases involving individuals who are to appear before an immigration judge. In order to receive Track 3 priority processing, you must include one of several documents required with the FOIA request.
Check the Status of a FOIA Request
After filing Form G-639, Freedom of Information/Privacy Act (FOIA) Request, you will receive an acknowledgement letter from USCIS that contains a control number and an estimate on time frame. With the control number provided to you, you can check that status of your case using the online FOIA Request Status Check.