FOIA permits any person to request access to federal agency records. FOIA requires federal agencies to disclose any information requested unless it falls under one of nine exemptions. Beginning June 25, 2019, USCIS began accepting FOIA requests online through (FOIA) Immigration Records System (FIRST) in order to improve the process, reduce errors and save time. FIRST allows requesters to submit and track FOIA status, receive email notifications, and receive documents digitally. In order to submit a FOIA request online, the requester must have a USCIS online account.
FIRST is a part of USCIS’s attempt to transfer the nation’s immigration system away from paper-based services to digital transactions. Before, FOIA requests were submitted via mail, fax or email and the response was provided on a disc. Now, FIRST offers a fully electronic service: online submission and online receipt of requested records. This should help to reduce costs and save time.
If you are interested in immigrating to the United States, be sure to contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today!