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Make a Genealogy Request

Welcome to the new USCIS Genealogy online request system.  Please take a moment to read the important information below before clicking the "Order Online Now" link at right. 

If you prefer to order by mail, click the "Make a Genealogy Request by Postal Mail" link to the left.

How does it work?

When you click the "Order Online Now" link at right, you will enter your request data in a series of screen "forms" for uploading into our Genealogy request system.  Once you have completed all the screens and verified the information is correct (or made the corrections), you will click directly to the Pay.Gov website to enter your credit card payment information.  Once that transaction is complete you will return to the Genealogy system page, and to a printable receipt showing your new USCIS Genealogy Case number. 

Important: If you are submitting an Index Search Request or Records Request without Case ID, do not close your browser after receiving your case number. Instead, click the "Next" button at the bottom of the page to go to the security information page. Your order is not complete until you submit a security question and answer. If you do not submit security question information, you will not be able to use your Case ID to make a Records Request.

Quick Tips

  • If you know about your immigrant, but do not know their file number(s), choose to make a Search Request.  A separate index search request is required for each individual immigrant. Requests for related immigrants cannot be combined and you will only receive index search results for the subject of your request.
  • If you know about your immigrant and have the correct file number(s), choose to make a Record Request.  You may have learned the file number from a previous Search Request, or from other research.  If you have any doubt that the number is correct, request an index search.
  • Which name, which spelling?  Do not worry if you have more than one name or name spelling for your immigrant.  When filling out the request you will first enter the name you think is correct, and later can add alternate spellings in the optional information section.
  • Don't know the exact date of birth?  Do not worry if you have only an approximate birth date (or multiple birthdates) for your immigrant.  The online form asks for an exact date, then asks you if the date given is an estimate.  If you can only provide an approximate year enter January 1 as the birthdate (01/01/ ) and check the "estimated" box.  Later, in the "other biographical information" section, you can provide alternate birth dates.
  • If you enter an estimated date of birth the system will alert you that proof of the immigrant's death may be necessary.  If you know the date of birth is more than 100 years ago (for example, an estimated birth year of 1878) you will not have to provide any proof of death.  If you estimate 1907 the system may accept your request without proof, but if we determine the immigrant was born less than 100 years ago you will be contacted and asked for proof of death before records or information can be released.

Detailed Instructions for submitting a Search Request Online

The step-by-step instructions below are for Index Search Requests, the most common request received by the Genealogy Program.  All requesters can benefit from reading the instructions as much of the information pertains to both Search and Record requests.

Step 1: Begin your Index Search request

To begin your Index Search request, click the "Order Online Now" link on this or several other USCIS Genealogy Program webpages. On the first screen, choose the Index Search Request option by clicking the button next to the $20 fee listing. After reading the information about the fees and required supporting documents, click the “next” button at the bottom of the page.

Next, complete the Requestor Information page.  Note that you are required to choose a method of contact: mail, telephone, or email. USCIS researchers may use this information to contact you in the event that they need additional information about your request. Providing a telephone number or email address allows our researchers to contact you promptly and may accelerate the completion of your request. Index search results will be mailed in a letter via postal mail to the address you enter.

Once you complete the requestor information, click “next.”

Step 2: Enter your immigrant ancestor’s information

Required Information:  While the online form only requires you supply at least a surname, country of birth, and date of birth (actual or estimated), you must provide the immigrant's first and last names.  If you know your immigrant’s  middle names, please supply it as well.  In this section use the name(s) that you believe to be correct. You will have an opportunity to submit alternate names and spellings in the optional information section.

Important: You must complete the date of birth field for both actual and estimated dates of birth.  For an estimated year of birth, use January 1st as the month and day of birth. (e.g.: 01/01/1905).  If you have conflicting dates of birth, enter the one you believe is most accurate.  You can provide the alternate later when asked for "other biographical information."

Once you complete the required information, click “next.” 

* If your ancestor’s date of birth is less than 100 years ago or if you supplied an estimated date of birth, you will see a page notifying you of the required proof of death. If you do not have any of the acceptable forms of proof, you may consider canceling your request now and beginning a new request when you have copies the necessary documents. If you have proof of death for your immigrant (or the date of birth is more than 100 years ago), click “next.” At the end of the request process you will be provided with the opportunity to upload scanned copies of your documents, if necessary. The mailing address for paper copies is provided then, as well.

Additional Information:  The next request pages allow you to provide additional information that may help our researchers locate your immigrant. Though it is not required, it is recommended that you supply as much of this information as possible. In many cases, our researchers can differentiate between immigrants with the same name only when additional information is provided.

If you know the exact date of your immigrant’s arrival (listed on the immigrant’s arrival record or a ship’s passenger manifest), provide it in the date boxes. If you know the approximate date of arrival, select the appropriate date range from the drop down menu.

If you know any of your immigrant’s places of residence (often available through census records) and the approximate periods of residence, list them in the boxes provided.

Click “next” to move to the second page of additional information.

Because immigrants often changed their names alternate names and spellings may help our researchers locate your ancestor. If you know any of these alternate names, please provide them. USCIS researchers will search only the alternate names that you provide and cannot return records for names other than those provided.

The names of family members (children, spouse, sometimes parents) may help our researchers locate your immigrant. If you know any of these names, please provide them. Family member names are used only to help locate the subject of your request. You will not receive index search results for family members unless you submit a separate index search request for each individual.

Finally, other biographical information may help our researchers find your immigrant. For example, providing the dates of military service may point our researchers toward a record of military naturalization. If you know the date of naturalization, military service, marriage, or other important information, please type in the box provided.  You may also use this space to explain or provide additional information about conflicting dates of birth.

After completing the additional information, click “next.”

Step 3: Submitting your request

You now have the opportunity to review your request. If any of the information listed is incorrect, you may use the “previous” button to go back and correct the errors. If the information is correct and you wish to proceed with your order, click “submit.” Once you click the submit button you will be unable to change your request (you will not, however, be charged at this point and you will still have the option to cancel the request).

After reviewing the Fee information, select your payment type (online or by mail) and click “submit payment.”  Be sure to only "submit" once to avoid duplicate charges.

* If you choose to pay by credit card you will be redirected to the pay.go site to enter your payment information. Once your payment information is submitted, you will automatically be returned to the Web Request Page to complete your transaction.

After you have been returned to the Web Request Page, you will find yourself on a page titled "Genealogy Search Request Submitted." Do not Close your browser.  Instead, review the information and click the "Next" button at the bottom of the page. If you are making an Index Search Request or Records Request without Case ID, you will be prompted to supply a security question and answer. After submitting your security information you will again see your Case ID. 

Step 4 : Upload supporting documents (if required)

If the immigrant's date of birth is less than 100 years before today's date you must upload documentary proof of death with this online request.  To do so, you will need to 1) identify an acceptable document, 2) save that document in an electronic form, and 3) upload the document when prompted to do so.  Remember, if you cannot upload an electronic document, you can choose to mail supporting documents and the system will provide mailing instructions.

1. Examples of acceptable documentary proof of death include:  Death certificate (uncertified copy); Printed obituaries, funeral programs, or photographs of gravestones; Bible, church, or other religious records; Records relating to the payment of death benefits; U.S. Social Security Death Index records (individual records only, not lists); and/or other documents demonstrating that the immigrant subject of the request is deceased.

2. Electronic file format.  Documents may be uploaded as image files (.jpg, .gif, .PDF, etc.).  Or, if you are sending more than one document, paste the images into a Word document, save it, and upload the Word file.

3.  Upload.  When prompted to upload your file, clicking the "Browse . . ." button should open your familiar "open file . . ." window.  Locate the document on your computer, select the document, and click "open," "upload," or "OK" as indicated.

When sending supporting documents by mail, please do not include original records because such documents will not be returned.

Last updated: 04/27/2012