If you are navigating a complex immigration case, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) can work in your favor. Under this federal law, you can request a copy of your immigration documents and information the U.S. government has for you.
The Freedom of Information Act request (G-639) form can allow you to obtain these valuable records, but the process is often lengthy and complicated. Working with an attorney can help you navigate this process effectively.
Contact our attorneys at Robert M. Bell, P.A., for assistance.
What Is the Freedom of Information Act?
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a law that requires federal agencies, including the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, to make certain records available to immigrants. This law enables people to obtain and view their immigration files to better understand what information immigration officials have about them.
The FOIA can provide crucial information in cases in which an immigrant’s extended history can impact their ability to stay in the U.S. For example, individuals involved in removal proceedings can obtain these files to learn the evidence the government holds against them.
FOIA Request Process
You can make a FOIA request through USCIS. One method is filing the Freedom of Information Act request (G-639) form.
Here are the steps you can follow to make a FOIA request:
- Determine the information you want through your Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request.
- Identify the file in which that information is located — such as your A file.
- Determine which immigration agency has your file.
- State the reason you need to obtain this file. (USCIS may expedite your request if you are in removal proceedings).
- Complete your request on the USCIS website through Form G-639 or another related form.
- Follow up on your request as needed.
Once you submit your request, you may have to wait anywhere from a few days to many months to receive the requested information. Simple requests process faster than complex requests. If you are facing court proceedings or time-sensitive processes, you can request that the USCIS expedite your documents.
You can receive the first 100 pages of records free of charge. If you need duplicate forms, you may need to pay 10 cents per page, up to $25.
Why Hire an Attorney?
Making a FOIA request may seem straightforward, but it is not always as simple as it appears. Hiring an attorney to help you with this process can be beneficial for several reasons:
- Your attorney can help you mitigate issues involved in your FOIA request
- Your attorney can help you draft your request form to improve your chances of receiving information quickly
- Your attorney can provide legal advice and guidance surrounding your immigration case once the FOIA response arrives and can be reviewed.
At Robert M. Bell, P.A., we have extensive experience helping Florida clients navigate immigration. We can guide you through the Freedom of Information Act request (G-639) process and help improve your case outcomes. We can also streamline your request to help you receive your vital immigration documents faster.
Contact our immigration attorneys today at 954-241-4209 to schedule your free consultation.