Skip to main content

An official website of the United States government

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Change is Underway at DHS FOIA

DHS FOIA is moving to a NEW system which will allow us to process records faster. We expect to begin moving to the system in August. There may be a temporary delay in response to your request while launching the new system. Learn more about the change.

Mission

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Office enables transparency in accordance with the law and Department of Homeland Security policy by overseeing and managing ICE’s implementation of the FOIA (5 U.S.C. § 552) and responding to individual requests for information under section (d)(1) of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. § 552a).

We are currently experiencing a high volume of FOIA requests and we thank you for your patience during this time.

  • Have you checked our FOIA Library?

    ICE proactively posts hundreds of documents online, including statistics, inspection reports, contracts, and other frequently requested documents.

More information about the FOIA or Privacy Act

Request my immigration records by mail

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
The National Records Center
FOIA Division
P.O. Box 648010
Lee’s Summit, MO 64064-5570

Phone: (800) 375-5283 or (TTY: 800-767-1833)

Request my ICE records by mail

U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement
500 12th Street SW, Stop 5009
Washington, DC 20536-5009
Phone: (866) 633-1182

 

What you need to know before filing your FOIA request

  1. Please submit your FOIA request in writing via the online portal or mail and reasonably describe the records you’re seeking.
  2. When possible, please include specific information that may assist ICE in identifying the requested records such as: date, title or name, author, recipient, subject matter, case number, file designation, or reference/case number. A timeframe may speed up the search process as well.
  3. Please know that the FOIA does not require we answer your questions. A question does not amount to a FOIA request. If you have a question about an ICE policy or activity please contact ICE.
  4. If you are requesting ICE records about yourself or on behalf of someone else, please complete the Certification of Identity form.
  5. If you are requesting an amendment or correction to an ICE record please contact the ICE Privacy Office at: ICEPrivacy@ice.dhs.gov or 500 12th St., SW Stop 5004 Washington, DC 20536-5004.

How do I know whether the records are at ICE, USCIS, CBP or another DHS component?

Requests for individual immigration records should be made directly to USCIS, the federal agency that manages and releases A-Files, where these records are maintained. A-files are a series of records maintained on a person that document the person's immigration history. A-Files contain records contributed by federal agencies such as ICE, CBP, and USCIS. These agencies consult and share A-Files within the federal government to make decisions about immigration benefits and conduct law enforcement actions.

  • U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) records – an individual’s immigration records plus applications, apprehensions, birth certificate, arrival and departures from the U.S., I-129: Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, I-90: Application to Replace a Permanent Resident Card (green card), I-130: Petition for Alien Relative, I-140: Immigrant Petition for Alien Workers, I-485: Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, I-751: Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence, N-400: Application for Naturalization, Labor certification, Naturalization Certificate, Proof of Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status, Record of removal from the U.S.
  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) records – SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information) records, medical or other records while someone was detained, I-213: Record of Deportable Alien, bond obligor and investigation records
    • Please note that most ICE records are also in your immigration file at USCIS
  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP) records – apprehension, entry, exit, expedited removal, background investigations, or inspections by CBP, I-94 records, travel industry reservation data such as passenger name record (PNR), voluntary return and deportation records
    • Please note that most CBP records are also in your immigration file at USCIS.
  • Please contact the FOIA Officer(s) if you have any questions.

Fees and Fee Waivers

Please note ICE does not generally collect fees. If ICE anticipates there will be fees involved with processing your request, we will contact you. You can learn more about the FOIA fee structure and waivers on DHS' FOIA Fee Structure and Waivers web page.

Expedited Processing

Under certain circumstances, your request can be granted expedited processing, meaning that it is moved into a higher-priority track than other requests. ICE will thoroughly consider your request for expedited processing especially if there is:

  1. a compelling need such as to prevent imminent threat to someone’s life or physical safety,
  2. an urgency to inform the public concerning a federal government activity,
  3. a risk of losing substantial due process rights, or
  4. a matter of widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible questions about the government’s integrity that affect public confidence.

Please explain why your request should be expedited and falls under one of these categories.

Administrative Appeals

You may file an administrative appeal of any adverse determinations in response to your FOIA request. For example, if you believe that:

  • ICE withheld information that does not fall under an exemption.
  • ICE did not perform an adequate search.
  • ICE did not produce your records within the statutory timeframe.
  • ICE inappropriately denied your request for expedited processing.

Your appeal must be within 90 days of ICE’s adverse determination letter. Please send your appeal in writing to:

  • GILDFOIAAPPEALS@ice.dhs.gov 
    or
  • Office of the Principal Legal Advisor
    Government Information Law Division
    500 12th Street SW, Stop 2900 
    Washington, DC 20536-5900

Your appeal determination letter will advise you of your rights to seek judicial review.

Judicial Review

You may also file a lawsuit in federal district court if you believe that ICE’s determination on your FOIA request was improper. You may file (1) where you reside, (2) where you have your principal place of business (if any), (3) in the District of Columbia, or (4) where the records are located, if they are not located in the District of Columbia.

Updated: 08/25/2022