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Requesting Complete Alien File G-639

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I became a US Citizen in October and just sent off form G-639 to request my complete alien file from the USCIS. A question I have, do people that do this just chuck/destroy the years worth of paperwork they have amassed with all their applications, interviews and such. I came to the US in 2000, so I have literally 15 years worth of documentation that is taking up a whole box in the closet. I am hoping I get my files on CD and can then just destroy the entire box of paperwork as I suspect I wouldn't be needing it.

Also, how long after sending form G-639 do you usually get a response or receive the file?

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I thought I would provide an update to my previous post based on a letter that I received from the USCIS regarding my FOIA request.

G-639 Sent: 3/27/2015

Letter Date: 4/6/2015

Letter Received: 4/13/2015

The letter I received was rather lengthy. It indicated that there could be fees involved, but I would be contacted if fees are in excess of $25. It also indicated that most requests don't require any fees.

I was also provided a control number with which I can monitor the status of my request online. It appears that it uses the same system to check status that I used for my N400 application. Though it appears to be down at the moment, so I can't check my status to see what it looks like. They did indicate that they do not provide assistance with FOIA requests via telephone. Have to send everything through mail it seems.

I will continue to update my timeline as I get more information.

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Why do you need them if you have them?


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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Does everyone just throw away all their papers that they have accumulated over the years once they become a citizen? I suppose I could and would have no issue. I have a box full of paperwork from the original K1 application through to N400. I would like to dump it, but I worry about the what-if. So I opted to request my complete alien file which will be delivered on a CD. Then I can dump all the paperwork and keep all the documents on my MC which takes up a lot less space.

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Just thought I would provide an update. I still haven't received my immigration file on CD. I hadn't been able to check my case number online, kept getting a message that my case number was invalid when I would check it on the Online Case Status system. To check the status, the letter indicated to click on the "FOIA Request Status Check" on the left side of the www.uscis.gov website under "Other Services". Apparently the letter verbiage is out of date, because I could not find anything related to Other Services or FOIA on the USCIS website. I ended up doing a site search with turned up the page where I could check the status. It is not the same system that is used to check the status of your N400.

When I check the status I receive a message "Your request is currently number 682 of 21991 pending requests in Track Two." I don't know exactly what that means, but when I first started checking I was closer to number 1700 also in Track Two. I guess I will find out more when I get closer to 0. Not sure if it will move in to a different track or what happens.

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Why does it matter?


“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

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I received my disk in the mail on Saturday. Here is my completed timeline.

G-639 Sent: 3/27/2015

Letter Date: 4/6/2015

Letter Received: 4/13/2015

Request was Processed (Online Status): 07/04/2015

Cover Letter Dated: 07/01/2015

Disc Dated: 07/06/2015

Disk Received: 07/11/2015

The disk contains a number of files, several are related to Adobe Acrobat Reader which is included on the disk. There is a cover-letter in PDF format as well as a very large PDF which is my complete alien file. Going through it, it contains pretty much every paper or form submitted. It doesn't contain any of the photos or personal letters/cards that we submitted for the original K1 application. Though I did see airline tickets and other stuff related to meeting and time spent together before applying for K1.

There are several redactions in the images. Looks like the redacted out officers names that perhaps processed background checks. There are also three pages that were referred to the Department of State for separate response to me. Not sure what that is about. The very first page of the file was my certificate of naturalization.

I did realize the other day before receiving my file that I had made an error on the G639 form that I submitted. Question one asks for the type of request, I checked the first option; "I am not a US Citizen/Lawful Permanent Resident and am requesting my own records" when I should have checked "I am a US Citizen/Lawful Permanent Resident and am requesting my own records". The underlining of "not" is mine. It was an easy question to miss. There was no mention of this error in the response I received from the USCIS.

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Thank you for this. I am currently in process of being naturalized. Your post has inspired me to make this request, once the N-400 is completed. As I came to the US in 1976, I would be very curious to see my original application information.

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