At the end of January, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a final rule that included a reduction in fees for the USCIS Genealogy Program.
Under the new rule, a Genealogy Program Index Search will drop from $65 to $30, if filed online. Also Genealogy Program Record Requests filed online will now cost $30 per record.
The records held by the USCIS Genealogy Program include an array of immigration and naturalization documents for millions of immigrants to the United States. The new rule dictates that Genealogy Program records that have already been digitized – a set that currently includes only Alien Registration Forms (AR-2s) and Certificate Files (C-Files) created before about 1944 – will be provided with the results of an Index Search, with no additional fee. Visa Files, Registry Files, high-numbered C-Files, and A-Files all remain in paper form.
According to the website ‘Records, Not Revenue,’ there is still a major problem with the backlogs at the USCIS Genealogy Program, with people waiting more than a year for an Index Search and even longer for a Record Request. Records, Not Revenue is a non-partisan project coordinated by an ad hoc group of genealogists, historians, and records access advocates.