US CIS Record Services Branch

Determine if an ancestor was ever naturalized and, if so, discuss your consulate's requirements for proving this.

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US CIS Record Services Branch

Postby Giuseppe » Wed Aug 02, 2006 7:15 pm

I’m hoping someone can provide me with some feedback on dealing with US CIS (formerly INS). I requested a certified copy of my grandfather’s naturalization certificate from their FOIA office (located on the 2nd floor); only to be told by them that I needed to resubmit my request to the Record Services Branch (located on the 4th floor of the same building. One would think…or hope that they could forward the request up two floors, but…no luck on that happening.) It has now been several months since I re-sent my request, and I have not received any correspondence from the office acknowledging that my request is being processed, or that it was even received. For the past week I have made several attempts to contact the office, all to no avail. Today I was able to speak with the lady who is in charge of the FOIA office, and she admitted that her office has received numerous complaints about the Record Services Branch not acknowledging requests. But she also added that if I supplied the office with adequate details, such as name, date of birth, naturalization certificate number, etc… (Which I did), that the delay shouldn’t be too long. The Record Services Branch is the same office that issues the certificates of non existence. Can anyone who has dealt with this office give me an idea of how long it takes for them to process a request? Also, if anyone has a contact telephone number for them, I would be grateful if they could pass that along as well. Many thanks.

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Postby Em » Thu Aug 03, 2006 9:10 am

Giuseppe,

I have not had to deal with them because I'm using the Oath of Allegience instead. However, I've heard from others that the wait is approximately one year.
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Postby Giuseppe » Thu Aug 03, 2006 3:37 pm

Thanks for your reply Em. I don’t mind waiting the year; however, it’s the uncertainty that’s killing me. At least with the FOIA office they send you a letter acknowledging that they received your request. With the Record Services Branch, no letter, and there is no way of contacting them other than by mail. Hopefully I provided them with enough information.

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Postby Jim » Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:36 pm

Hi. I've spoken with the head of Records at the Washington office. He told me that they only issue certified copies of Naturalization Certificates if you have the original copy (which, of course, begs the question: Why would I need a certified copy of I already had the original?) I have been in contact with the INS in Lee's Summit and Washington and I get a different answer everytime.
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Postby Giuseppe » Fri Aug 11, 2006 7:33 pm

It seems that a lack of communication at the agency is the primary problem. The lady I spoke with at the FOIA office in Washington, DC was very frank with me regarding this. She stated that since the agency transitioned to Homeland Security from the Department of Justice, “everything has been turned completely upside down.” All we can do is keep sending out requests. Hopefully, eventually someone at the agency will have some pity on us.

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