How to request immigration files?

In my column This week's Consulta Migratoria® answers a reader's question about a family petition filed by her U.S. citizen brother.

Each case is different and the answers vary depending on the immigration history of each person. Here I provide general answers to your questions. Please consult with an immigration attorney to receive personalized legal advice before beginning any process.

This is the column:

My brother is a U.S. citizen and he filed a family petition on my behalf in the past, but my brother does not have copies of the documents he sent to immigration. How can I research the date my brother filed the petition and the status of my case? -Angelica L.

Angelica, I recommend that you and your brother call the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) National Customer Service Center at 1-800-375-5283. Ask to speak to an immigration officer to ask about the information you need. Have your biographical information, including your full names and dates of birth, ready for the immigration officer to search the USCIS database.

Also, I recommend that you both request your immigration records from USCIS and/or the U.S. Department of State (USDOS).

To request your files from USCIS, you must use the Form G-639 and include the information required by the form. USCIS files may include a copy of the family petition your sibling filed in the past and the case number assigned by USCIS.

To request your USDOS records related to an immigrant visa, you must send a letter to the government. by mail or fax that includes the following information:

1. Full names and other names they have used in the past.
2. Current mailing address.
3. Dates of birth.
4. The city and country where they were born.
5. Description of the files you are looking for.
6. Approximate dates when your sibling filed the family petition.
7. Notarized signature or a statement under penalty of perjury.

The collection of federal government records takes approximately 6 to 18 months. I recommend that you consult with an immigration attorney or a federally accredited representative before beginning any immigration proceedings.

For more information and immigration tips, read my blog