How FOIA Requests Work
You must determine what specific information you need before making an FOIA request, as not all relevant information may be included in your immigration file. If you are only looking for a copy of your immigration file, you can generally file a request directly with USCIS.
You may need to submit requests to other government agencies if you need information that is not necessarily contained in your immigration file. If you need information on a criminal background, for example, it is often advisable to request that information through the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Requests involving border entries and exits may need to be filed with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Note that if you are currently in removal proceedings, FOIA requests must be made through the Department of Justice’s Executive Office of Immigration Review (EIOR). We can help identify what agencies you need to contact to obtain the information you need.
When seeking information from the government through the FOIA, it is important to be specific about what information you are seeking. In some situations, you can ask the government to expedite your request, but you must provide a compelling reason for doing so. Generally, the government will only expedite FOIA requests if your life and/or liberty are at stake.
Most FOIA requests can be made online. You must consent to the access of your records through either a sworn affidavit or via a notary public.
Our Portland FOIA lawyer can guide you through the process of filing a request and help avoid common errors. Our team at Sarpa Law understands how to interpret information included in your immigration file and can leverage our findings to benefit your case.