An Overview of Your Immigrant A-File

Apr 8, 2016 | Citizenship

As a Miami immigration lawyer, I always remind my clients who are applying to naturalize (i.e. attain U.S. citizenship) that the process of naturalization means that an immigration officer will be looking into their A-files. Below are some frequently asked questions about the A-file.

What is an A-file?
An A-file refers to an “alien file.” An A-file is the collection of documents that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) maintains for non-citizens. If you have any questions in regard to this, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.

What is in the A-file?
It typically contains all of the official files related to immigration status, citizenship, or relief, and includes both documents submitted by the non-citizen as well as any investigations, statements, correspondence, and memoranda created by the agencies. It also may include other identifying documents, such as birth certificates. If you have any questions in regard to this, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration lawyer.

Can I request a copy of my A-file?
Yes,  you can. If you would like to request a copy of your A-file, you and/or your Miami immigration lawyer can make a request for these immigration files by filing Form G-639, Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Request. U.S. citizens and permanent residents may also request copies of records from other people’s A-files (provided the person consents).

Should I be concerned about the fact that immigration authorities will be looking in my A-file?
If you have nothing in your immigration history to hide, then the A-file review — which is, indeed, part of every naturalization application — shouldn’t be a problem for you. But when applying for U.S. citizenship, some immigrants fail to realize that this will open the door to a review of their entire immigration history. If you have any questions in regard to this, you may want to speak with a Miami immigration attorney.

When should I be concerned that immigration authorities will be looking in my A-file?
If you have ever committed fraud, weren’t eligible for an immigration benefit that you obtained, or should have been deported from the U.S. or had your green card revoked, this may be the time when the U.S. immigration authorities catch on to this, and take action. If the above scenario applies to you, now may be a good time to consult with a Miami immigration lawyer.

What’s in my A-file?
The information contained in your A-file includes, but is not limited to:

  • * how you obtained lawful permanent residence
  • * what other applications or forms requesting immigration benefits you have submitted
  • * correspondence between you and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)
  • * internal memos and forms created by USCIS officers applicable to or discussing your eligibility for various immigration benefits, and
  • * any criminal records, correspondence from the FBI or other agencies, or investigative reports and records of immigration or other enforcement actions.

If you’re worried about anything that might turn up in this A-file review, I would encourage you to consult with an experienced Miami immigration lawyer to address these issue upfront.

If you would like more information on the A-file, please contact Miami immigration lawyer The Law Office of Tatiane M. Silva, P.A., Esq. at (305) 895-2500 or visit our website at tmsilvalaw.com.