Assistance and advice for this article was sought from the INS History Office and they provided most of the information in it.
Starting in 1906, Federal Law required that a copy of all naturalization documents be sent to the Immigration and Naturalization Service, formerly known as the Bureau of Immigration, and today known as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This was required regardless of where the court was located that performed the service. These documents are all available from Washington D. C. In order to obtain copies, you must use a Freedom of Information Act and/or Privacy Act request.
NOTE! The information below applies for genealogists needing information about ancestors who were naturalized in the United States from 27 Sep 1906 until the present day. It does not apply for immigrants needing information about their own naturalization records.
1. Determine whether US Citizenship and Immigration Services does, or might, have a record for you. USCIS can service requests for naturalization records with:
2. Open USCIS Form G-639. Complete and print form.
- Index to all naturalizations since 27 Sep 1906
- C-Files (Declaration of Intention, Petition, Certificate), from 27 Sep 1906 to present.
3. Upon receipt of Form G-639, fill it out, including at least your immigrant's full name, date of birth (or approximate date), and country of birth. Alternate names/spellings can be helpful. Where they settled in the United States can be helpful (as long as they stayed in one place). Ask for "any and all records, especially any naturalization records."
4. Attach any documentation you have, such as a copy of an old certificate, old immigrant identification card, or whatever you have relating to immigration and naturalization. If the immigrant's birthdate is less than 100 years ago, attach a copy of the death certificate, an obituary from the newspaper, or something showing the person is deceased.
5. Make a copy of all of this.
6. Mail or Fax it to:
National Records Center
P.O. Box 648010
Lee's Summit, MO 64064-8010
Fax: (816) 350-5785
7. In 2 or 3 weeks, you should get a receipt in the mail saying INS received your request and assigned it a case number (shown on the receipt). Keep this receipt, because you may need that number.
8. Not usually necessary, but be prepared! - If you don't get a receipt in about one month, send in another copy of your request, and do so until you get that receipt.
9. Wait. If you are in the system, your number has to come up eventually.