I've been researching relatives that immigrated to the United States during the early 20th century and have done search reports with USCIS Genealogy Index Search Request. In my index search requests, you can specify whether you want paper or electronic results and I always request electronic. This has worked for the search index report first stage, but on every second stage requesting records, they keep sending me paper copies instead of electronic. I would prefer electronic as I expect it has more information than a printout that I then scan into my computer. I tried submitting a follow up request via their ticket system, but that fell on deaf ears.

One example of this is I create a records request for the following for one person in response to the index search request giving these documents as being available:

File Series    File Number
 C-File         C-4841275
 AR-2 Form      A-3528497

These are C-File (Certificate Files, September 27, 1906 - March 31, 1956) and AR-2 (Alien Registration Forms on Microfilm, 1940 - 1944).

Is there a way to request documents such that they don't mail them and I get an electronic copy? The C-File and AR-2 are listed as mainly being on microfilm, do they have way of creating electronic copies of microfilm? Will electronic documents have more information than the printouts that I get?

  • Please indicate which records you have received from USCIS. A list of the available records and their description is on uscis.gov/history-and-genealogy/genealogy/… I suspect the answer depends on which records you asked for. It would also help if you used the USCIS terminology for the requests you made, so it would be easier to follow your question.
    – Jan Murphy
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 5:21
  • @JanMurphy I've updated the question with the specific files requested in one instance and using the terminology of the USCIS.
    – WilliamKF
    Commented Aug 27, 2017 at 22:09

1 Answer 1


On the USCIS Genealogy program's instructions for Making a Request by Mail, it says:

Response information

Please note that all Search Results and Records from the USCIS Genealogy Program will be sent through United States Postal Service. Records are not available in electronic formats. (emphasis mine)

There are no options on Forms G-1041 (Index Search) and G-1041A (Record Request) to receive electronic copies of records. The option of microfilm versus paper next to some of the check boxes are left over from the days when the fees for record requests depended on the format of the records being requested. The records offered via the USCIS Genealogy program are either microfilm or paper records -- they do not have "born digital" records.

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