U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has launched Freedom of Information Act Immigration Records SysTem (FIRST) – a new system for online processing of Freedom of Immigration Act (FOIA) requests.
Up until now, USCIS only accepted FOIA requests by mail, fax, and email, and requesters typically received their documents on a CD by mail. FIRST will eventually allow users to submit, manage, and receive FOIA requests entirely online.
USCIS will implement FIRST’s digital delivery of services in phases.
In the first phase, requesters who have an immigration court date pending and who filed an FOIA request, can now digitally access documents they have requested through FOIA as soon as USCIS processes the request. Such requesters can set up an account through myUSCIS and link it to their case. Once complete, they will be able to log into the digital delivery center to view and/or download the records they requested. If such requesters already have a myUSCIS account, they should login to their account and link the case to their existing account. Once they have linked their FOIA case to their account, USCIS will email them when it has processed their case and their records are ready to be accessed.
In subsequent phases, this digital delivery option will be expanded to all FOIA and Privacy Act (PA) requesters.
When FIRST is fully operational, requesters will be able to use a completely digital FOIA/PA system, from online submission to retrieving and downloading responsive documents.
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