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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

[Federal Register: May 15, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 95)]
[Rules and Regulations]               
[Page 28026-28032]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []



 8 CFR Parts 103 and 299

[CIS No. 2074-00; DHS Docket No. USCIS-2005-0013]
RIN 1615--AB19

Establishment of a Genealogy Program

AGENCY: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, DHS.

ACTION: Final rule.


SUMMARY: This rule establishes a fee-for-service Genealogy Program 
within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to streamline 
and improve the process for acquiring historical records of deceased 
individuals. Currently, USCIS processes such requests through its 
Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act (FOIA/PA) program, thereby 
adding unnecessary delays to the process.
    USCIS expects that this Genealogy Program will ensure a timely 
response to requests for genealogical and historical records and will 

[[Page 28027]]

USCIS' FOIA/PA program of requests that do not require FOIA/PA 
expertise. It will put researchers in touch with the correct staff 
persons within USCIS, and it will create a dedicated queue for 
genealogists and other researchers seeking access to historical 

DATES: This rule is effective August 13, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marian L. Smith, Office of Records 
Services (ORS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department 
of Homeland Security, 111 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 
20529, telephone (202) 272-8367.


Table of Contents

I. Background and Purpose
II. Discussion of Comments
    A. Summary of Comments
    B. Response to Comments, Generally
    C. Response to Comments about Fees
III. Regulatory Analyses
    A. Regulatory Flexibility Act
    B. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
    C. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996
    D. Executive Order 12866
    E. Executive Order 13132
    F. Executive Order 12988
    G. Paperwork Reduction Act

I. Background and Purpose

    USCIS currently processes requests for historical records of 
deceased individuals (i.e., genealogical requests) under USCIS' FOIA/PA 
program. However, the demand for historical records by historical and 
genealogical researchers, as well as other members of the public, has 
grown dramatically over the past several years. The volume of 
genealogical requests has contributed to the USCIS FOIA/PA backlog. 
USCIS believes that removing genealogy research from the immense FOIA 
group of ``all'' requesters would improve service to historical 
researchers, genealogists, and other members of the public. It would 
also greatly reduce the number of FOIA requests and improve the ability 
of USCIS to respond to requests for other non-historical records and 
    On April 20, 2006, the Department of Homeland Security published a 
proposed rule in the Federal Register (71 FR 20357), soliciting 
comments from the public on the establishment of a fee-for-service 
Genealogy Program in USCIS. As discussed in the proposed rule, the 
Genealogy Program would accept genealogical research requests directly 
from requesters. There would be two types of requests: (1) Requests for 
searching the index of records if the requester is unable to identify a 
specific historical record; and (2) requests for making copies of 
historical records the requester can identify by file number. To make a 
request, the requester would need to submit to the Genealogy Program 
the appropriate request form, accompanied by any supporting 
documentation and the applicable fee. The Genealogy Program would 
handle the entire request/retrieval process.

II. Discussion of Comments

A. Summary of Comments

    The comment period for the April 20, 2006 proposed rule closed on 
June 19, 2006. USCIS received a total of thirty-three comments, 
including thirty-one comments from individuals identified as either 
hobbyists or professional genealogists. One of the comments came from 
an umbrella organization for numerous genealogical societies worldwide. 
There were twenty-eight positive remarks in favor of USCIS establishing 
a Genealogy Program. In addition, USCIS received three negative 
comments that objected to USCIS' establishment of a Genealogy Program.
    Of the positive comments, seven requested that the Genealogy 
Program have an online search capability with public access to the 
index. Nine supported USCIS' proposal to remove genealogy research from 
the FOIA program. One of the commenters, an umbrella organization for 
genealogical societies that was in favor of creating a dedicated fee-
for-service Genealogy Program, noted the benefits of such a program. 
The program would permit individuals to make requests over the 
Internet, remove those requests from the FOIA program (thereby 
eliminating the excessive waiting time), and support the creation of a 
dedicated staff that the public can contact. This commenter noted that 
the organization and its members approved of a fee-based system and 
expressed hope that USCIS would balance the final fee range with the 
issue of affordability for individuals seeking records.
    Five commenters discussed the range of fees that USCIS proposed. 
One commenter stated that fees above $10 will limit access to the 
documents. A second commenter suggested that the proposed fees would 
make USCIS-held records ``records of last resort,'' because a 
researcher would only submit a request if it were impossible to find 
the naturalization or immigration information elsewhere. A third 
commenter opined that the proposed range of fees would substantially 
dampen people's interest in obtaining such records and stop people from 
continuing their genealogy research. This commenter further stated that 
most of the people who do genealogy research are over 50 years old or 
are senior citizens with finite financial resources. The fourth 
commenter wrote that the proposed fees were too high for the average 
genealogy researcher and suggested that fees in the $15 to $25 range 
would be more affordable. The fifth commenter expressed concern that 
the proposed fee range of $26 to $55 for a copy of textual 
documentation is much too high for the average person to afford.

B. Response to Comments, Generally

    USCIS will establish the Genealogy Program as a fee-for-service 
program. USCIS will not expend any of its financial resources, which 
are dedicated to its overall mission for the administration of 
immigration and naturalization adjudication functions and establishing 
immigration services, policies, and priorities.
    In many cases, USCIS is the only government agency that will have 
certain historical records that provide the missing link for which 
genealogists or family historians are searching. An example is the Visa 
File packet, which contains the original arrival record of immigrants 
admitted for permanent residence under provisions of the Immigration 
Act of 1924. The packet contains information and documents of the 
immigrant's exact date and place of birth, names of parents and 
children, all places of residence for five full years prior to 
immigration, and photographs. In addition, some Visa packets contain 
birth, marriage, and military records. USCIS will join other Federal 
agencies that provide record search and document production services 
(for a fee) to family researchers and genealogists.

C. Response to Comments About Fees

    In the proposed rule, USCIS provided a detailed analysis about fees 
and specifically requested comment on the issue of fees. 71 FR at 
20363. Several commenters provided input on fees, and those comments 
are summarized above. In response, USCIS provides the following 
explanation on its basis for establishing fees and setting the amounts 
of the fees.
    In the proposed rule, USCIS proposed a fee range of $16 to $45 for 
an index search and $16 to $45 for a record/file services request. 71 
FR at 20362. USCIS had calculated these proposed fees in accordance 
with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-25, which 
requires that user fees recover the full cost of services provided. OMB 
Circular A-25, User Charges (Revised), section 6, 58 FR 38142 (July 15, 
1993) (OMB Circular A-25). Full cost under

[[Page 28028]]

OMB Circular A-25 includes items such as management and personnel costs 
(salaries and benefits), physical overhead, consulting, materials and 
supplies, utilities, insurance, travel, and rent of building space and 
equipment. As was discussed in the proposed rule, the services to be 
provided under the USCIS Genealogy Program will be significantly 
enhanced from what is currently provided under existing FOIA/PA 
    The fees that USCIS will charge to provide services that are 
described in this rule will cover the costs of that enhanced service as 
well as overhead items as required by OMB Circular A-25. The full cost 
of this service will include the cost of research and information 
collection, a description of the document, suggestions of where to 
locate records from other federal or state agencies, establishment of 
procedures and standards, and the issuance of regulations. Thus, the 
fees must be established at a level that recovers these costs.
    OMB Circular A-25 also provides that, when costs are not known, 
such as when an agency is developing and implementing a new fee for a 
service program, an agency may establish fees based on a study and 
comparison of other comparable fee-based services provided by other 
governmental entities. Since the genealogy program is new, USCIS 
utilized this method of fee determination in addition to analyzing the 
actual costs projected to carry out the program. No other organization 
provides exactly the same service, because no other organization holds 
precisely the same variety or volume of records. USCIS, however, 
considered the fees charged by a few similar organizations. As stated 
in the proposed rule, USCIS considered the fees charged by the Social 
Security Administration, the National Archives and Records 
Administration, the Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management, 
and a few state agencies.
    After considering the comments received on the proposed rule, the 
costs of providing this service, OMB requirements, and the fees charged 
for similar services, USCIS has decided to set the search and document 
reproduction fees for the Genealogy Program as follows:
    Index Search: $20.
    Copy of Document from Microfilm: $20.
    Copy of Textual File: $35.
    Chart 1 lists the records that the public would be able to request 
from the Genealogy Program versus the records that the public would be 
able to request from the FOIA/PA program.

                                 Chart 1
           Genealogy program                     FOIA/PA program
Files of deceased subjects. (Provided    Files of living subjects.
 files are defined as historical
Naturalization Certificate Files (C-     Naturalization records on or
 Files) from 9/27/1906 to 4/1/1956.       after 4/1/1956.
Visa Files from 7/1/1924 to 3/31/1944    Visa records on or after 5/1/
 and Visa records from 3/31/1944 to 5/1/  1951 in A-Files.
 1951 in A-files.
A-Files below 8 million and documents    A-files above 8 million and
 therein dated prior to 5/1/1951.         documents therein dated on or
                                          after 5/1/1951.
Registry Files from 3/2/1929 to 3/31/    Registry records on or after 5/
 1944 and registry records from 4/1/      1/1951 in A-Files.
 1944 to 4/30/1951 in A-files.
AR-2 Files from 8/1/1940 to 3/31/1944    Alien Registration Forms on or
 and Alien Registration Forms from 3/31/  after 5/1/1951 in A-Files.
 1944 to 4/30/1951 in A-Files.

III. Regulatory Analyses

A. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    In accordance with the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 
605(b)), DHS certifies that this rule will not have a significant 
economic impact on a substantial number of small entities because of 
the following factors:
    This rule affects professional genealogists and other members of 
the public requesting historical records from USCIS. The main source of 
genealogy requests comes from individuals doing personal research, 
rather than from small entities, such as professional genealogists. 
``The Washington Post'' reported that seventy-three percent of 
Americans have an interest in their family history, according to a 2005 
study conducted by Market Strategies, Inc., a syndicated research firm 
based in Livonia, Michigan, and, an online network of 
genealogical tools based in Provo, Utah. ``The Wall Street Journal'' 
described genealogy as a $200 million per year industry ranging from 
individual researchers to multi-million dollar companies.
    In addition, the growth of the Internet has spurred interest in 
genealogy and a rapidly growing number of hobbyists pursuing genealogy. 
According to the ``Occupational Outlook Quarterly'' (Bureau of Labor 
Statistics, Fall 2000), a 1997 survey of certified genealogists found 
that 57 percent work part-time, 34 percent work full-time, and 9 
percent are hobbyists. In 2001, there were over 300 certified 
genealogists, and currently, the Association of Professional 
Genealogists has 1,600 members worldwide ( The 
National Genealogical Society notes:

    Some professional genealogists are employed as librarians, 
archivists, editors or research assistants to established 
professionals; others work for genealogical firms. Most, however, 
choose self-employment-learning business principles to ensure the 
success of their genealogical practice. As with other 
entrepreneurial fields, most make the move gradually from their 
original field of employment, building a practice--be it a client 
base, writing outlets, or some other venue--before moving full-time 
into genealogy. Some make this career switch in mid-life. Others 
choose genealogy as a second career upon retirement from their first 
one. Because genealogical degree programs are still relatively rare, 
only a few enjoy the opportunity to make genealogy their first 
career. No accurate count exists for the number of individuals 
employed as genealogists, full-time and part-time (http://

    With the growth of the Internet, the number of individuals and 
hobbyists has grown at a much faster rate. Much of the growth in 
genealogy as a sector arises from providing individuals with the means 
of conducting their own family history research through online 
databases and research tools. The growing dominance of individual 
hobbyists suggests that individuals rather than professionals are the 
primary requesters of historical records. Professional genealogists 
tend to be hired when individuals hit a ``brick wall,'' or encounter a 
particular problem that they cannot resolve. This suggests that 
professional researchers tend to focus on aspects of genealogy research

[[Page 28029]]

other than the standard index searches or record requests that would be 
submitted to the USCIS Genealogy Program.
    In each of the past 4 years, USCIS has received an average of 
10,000 combined index search and/or records requests for historical 
records through the FOIA program. For purposes of counting records, 
USCIS counts each request for a record search as one request. Based on 
an estimated increase in the demand for historical information and the 
fact that the Genealogy Program will treat index search requests and 
records requests as separate rather than combined requests, DHS expects 
the total number of genealogy requests to be significantly higher than 
when the FOIA Program handled genealogical requests. DHS estimates that 
it will receive a combined total of 26,597 genealogy requests, 
including 15,250 index search requests, 6,619 requests for microfilm 
records, and 4,728 requests for textual records.
    DHS has determined that individuals make requests for historical 
records. If professional genealogists and researchers have submitted 
such requests, they are not identifying themselves as commercial 
requesters and thus cannot be segregated in the data. Genealogists 
typically advise clients on how to submit their own requests. Reasons 
for this practice include the time required for a response to the 
request and the belief that records are more releasable to a relative 
rather than an unrelated third party.
    Based on discussions with professional genealogists, USCIS believes 
that professional genealogists and researchers who fall under the 
approved definition from the Small Business Association definition of a 
small entity in this category (i.e., All Other Professional, 
Scientific, and Technical Services with annual average receipts of $6 
million or less) generate well below 5 percent of the total number of 
requests. If USCIS assumes that professional genealogists and 
researchers account for 5 percent of the requests, and these costs are 
borne exclusively by the 1,600 members of the Association of 
Professional Genealogists, the average impact would be $18.84 per year. 
This figure was derived by multiplying the total cost of the rule 
$602,860 by .5% (the percentage of small entities) and divided by 1,600 
(the number of small entities.)
    These practices arise from the nature of the genealogy sector. 
Professional genealogists charge from $10 to $100 per hour, with an 
average of $30 to $60 per hour, according to the Association of 
Professional Genealogists ( 
Expenses, such as record requests and copies, are often charged to the 
client as an additional expense. The fees established with this rule 
could be passed along as a direct expense to the professional 
genealogists' client, thus no significant economic impact would be 
borne by the professional genealogist. Specialists typically charge a 
relatively higher fee. ( In 
addition, many professionals require a retainer of $300 to $500. See 
Sue P. Morgan, ``What You Should Know Before Hiring a Professional 
Genealogist,'' available at
    Depending on the depth of the research, the fees for a genealogical 
study can be substantial. This does not suggest a substantial burden on 
researchers. Given the low number of professional genealogists and 
researchers that would be impacted by this rule, the resulting degree 
of economic impact would not require DHS to perform Regulatory 
Flexibility Analysis.

B. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local and 
tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 
million or more in any one year, and it will not significantly or 
uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed 
necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 

C. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

    This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 804 of the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Act of 1996. This rule will not 
result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a 
major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on 
competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on 
the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreign-
based companies in domestic and export markets.

D. Executive Order 12866

    It has been determined that this rule is not a significant 
regulatory action under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, 
Regulatory Planning and Review. Nonetheless, USCIS has assessed both 
the costs and benefits of this rule and has determined that the 
benefits of this regulation justify its costs. The anticipated benefits 
of this rule are: (1) Relieve the FOIA/PA program from burdensome 
requests that require no FOIA/PA expertise; (2) place requesters and 
the Genealogy staff in direct communication; (3) provide a dedicated 
queue and point of contact for genealogists and other researchers 
seeking access to those records described as historical records; (4) 
generate sufficient revenue to cover expenses as a fee for service 
program; and (5) reduce the time it takes for USCIS to respond to these 
genealogy requests.
    The cost to the public of this rule will be $20 for a request for 
an index search, $20 for a request for a copy of a file on microfilm, 
and $35 for a request for a copy of a textual file. USCIS is authorized 
to charge a fee to recover the full costs of providing research and 
information services under section 286(t) of the Immigration and 
Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. 1356(t). Other sources exist for many types 
of genealogical research, and it is not evident that every search by a 
genealogist would require access to the Genealogy Program at USCIS.
    Based upon these fees, it is possible to approximate the impact of 
fees on individual and professional genealogists and researchers. USCIS 
expects to receive approximately 15,250 genealogical (name) index 
search requests per year, which, at $20 per search, would yield 
$305,000; in addition, there would be a total of 6,619 requests for 
microfilmed records, and 4,728 requests for textual records (i.e., hard 
copy files). The fee for microfilmed records would yield $132,380. The 
fee to pull textual records would yield $165,480. Therefore, the total 
fees collected by the Genealogy Program should yield $602,860.
    Establishing the Genealogy Program will benefit both individuals 
and researchers making genealogy requests for historical records as 
well as those seeking information under the current FOIA/PA program, 
because it will allow for a more timely response for both sets of 
requests. USCIS estimates that it received an average of 10,000 
combined index search and record requests per year for genealogical 
information in each of the past 4 fiscal years through the existing 
FOIA/PA program. USCIS can release these records without redaction or 
withholding, eliminating the need for FOIA/PA analysis. A program 
specifically designed to handle these requests would expedite the 
process and improve services to historical researchers, genealogists 
and the general public. For example, the rule does not increase 
information collection

[[Page 28030]]

requirements of the rule. In fact, the introduction of e-filing 
presents an opportunity to simplify the information collection process 
and expedite handling. At the same time, the resources of the FOIA/PA 
program could be applied more efficiently to requests more directly 
related to immigration, citizenship, or naturalization benefits that 
require more detailed FOIA/PA analysis.

E. Executive Order 13132

    This rule will not have a substantial direct effect on the States, 
on the relationship between the national government and the States, or 
on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various 
levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 of 
Executive Order 13132, USCIS has determined that this rule does not 
have federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism 
summary impact statement. It provides for alternate document handling 
procedures that do not implicate state government.

F. Executive Order 12988

    This rule meets the applicable standards set forth in sections 3(a) 
and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

G. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Office of Management and Budget approved the information 
collection requirements for the use of Forms G-1041, Genealogy Search 
Request, and G-1041A, Genealogy Records Request, contained in this 
rule. The OMB control number for this collection is 1615-0096.

List of Subjects

8 CFR Part 103

    Administrative practice and procedure, Authority delegations 
(Government agencies), Freedom of Information, Privacy, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Surety bonds.

8 CFR Part 299

    Immigration, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

Accordingly, chapter I of title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations is 
amended as follows:


1. The authority citation for part 103 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301, 552, 552a; 8 U.S.C. 1101, 1103, 1304, 
1356; 31 U.S.C. 9701; Public Law 107-296, 116 Stat. 2135 (6 U.S.C. 1 
et seq.), E.O. 12356, 47 FR 14874, 15557, 3 CFR, 1982 Comp., p. 166; 
8 CFR part 2.

2. Section 103.7 is amended by:
a. Adding the entries ``Form G-1041'' and ``Form G-1041A'' in proper 
alpha/numeric sequence, in paragraph (b)(1); and by
b. Revising the fifth sentence in paragraph (c)(1).
    The additions and revision read as follows:

Sec.  103.7  Fees.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (1) * * *
* * * * *
    Form G-1041. For filing a request for a search of indices to 
historical records to be used in genealogical research--$20. The search 
fee is not refundable.
    Form G-1041A. For filing a request for a copy of historical records 
to be used in genealogical research--$20 for each file copy from 
microfilm or $35 for each file copy from a textual record. In some 
cases, the researcher may be unable to determine the fee, because the 
researcher will have a file number obtained from a source other than 
the USCIS Genealogy Program and therefore not know the format of the 
file (microfilm or hard copy). In this case, if USCIS locates the file 
and it is a textual file, the Genealogy Program will notify the 
researcher to remit the additional $15. The Genealogy Program will 
refund the records request fee only when it is unable to locate the 
file previously identified in response to the index search request.
* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (1) * * * The fees for Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing 
Services, and for Forms G-1041 and G-1041A, Genealogy Program request 
forms, may not be waived.
* * * * *

3. Section 103.38 is added to read as follows:

Sec.  103.38  Genealogy Program.

    (a) Purpose. The Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship 
and Immigration Services Genealogy Program is a fee-for-service program 
designed to provide genealogical and historical records and reference 
services to genealogists, historians, and others seeking documents 
maintained within the historical record systems.
    (b) Scope and limitations. Sections 103.38 through 103.41 comprise 
the regulations of the Genealogy Program. These regulations apply only 
to searches for and retrieval of records from the file series described 
as historical records in 8 CFR 103.39. These regulations set forth the 
procedures by which individuals may request searches for historical 
records and, if responsive records are located, obtain copies of those 

4. Section 103.39 is added to read as follows:

Sec.  103.39  Historical Records.

    Historical Records are files, forms, and documents now located 
within the following records series:
    (a) Naturalization Certificate Files (C-Files), from September 27, 
1906 to April 1, 1956. Copies of records relating to all U.S. 
naturalizations in Federal, State, county, or municipal courts, 
overseas military naturalizations, replacement of old law 
naturalization certificates, and the issuance of Certificates of 
Citizenship in derivative, repatriation, and resumption cases. The 
majority of C-Files exist only on microfilm. Standard C-Files generally 
contain at least one application form (Declaration of Intention and/or 
Petition for Naturalization, or other application) and a duplicate 
certificate of naturalization or certificate of citizenship. Many files 
contain additional documents, including correspondence, affidavits, or 
other records. Only C-Files dating from 1929 onward include 
    (b) Microfilmed Alien Registration Forms, from August 1, 1940 to 
March 31, 1944. Microfilmed copies of 5.5 million Alien Registration 
Forms (Form AR-2) completed by all aliens age 14 and older, residing in 
or entering the United States between August 1, 1940 and March 31, 
1944. The two-page form called for the following information: Name; 
name at arrival; other names used; street address; post-office address; 
date of birth; place of birth; citizenship; sex; marital status; race; 
height; weight; hair and eye color; date, place, vessel, and class of 
admission of last arrival in United States; date of first arrival in 
United States; number of years in United States; usual occupation; 
present occupation; name, address, and business of present employer; 
membership in clubs, organizations, or societies; dates and nature of 
military or naval service; whether citizenship papers filed, and if so 
date, place, and court for declaration or petition; number of relatives 
living in the United States; arrest record, including date, place, and 
disposition of each arrest; whether or not affiliated with a foreign 
government; signature; and fingerprint.
    (c) Visa Files, from July 1, 1924 to March 31, 1944. Original 
arrival records of immigrants admitted for permanent residence under 
provisions of the Immigration Act of 1924. Visa forms contain all 
information normally found on a ship passenger list of the period,

[[Page 28031]]

as well as the immigrant's places of residence for 5 years prior to 
emigration, names of both the immigrant's parents, and other data. In 
most cases, birth records or affidavits are attached to the visa, and 
in some cases, marriage, military, or police records may also be 
attached to the visa.
    (d) Registry Files, from March 2, 1929 to March 31, 1944. Original 
records documenting the creation of immigrant arrival records for 
persons who entered the United States prior to July 1, 1924, and for 
whom no arrival record could later be found. Most files also include 
documents supporting the immigrant's claims regarding arrival and 
residence (e.g., proofs of residence, receipts, and employment 
    (e) Alien-Files numbered below 8 million (A8000000), and documents 
therein dated prior to May 1, 1951. Individual alien case files (A-
files) became the official file for all immigration records created or 
consolidated after April 1, 1944. The United States issued A-numbers 
ranging up to approximately 6 million to aliens and immigrants who were 
within or entered the United States between 1940 and 1945. The United 
States entered the 6 million and 7 million series of A-numbers between 
circa 1944 and May 1, 1951. Any documents dated after May 1, 1951, 
though found in an A-File numbered below 8 million, will remain subject 
to FOIA/PA restrictions.

5. Section 103.40 is added to read as follows:

Sec.  103.40  Genealogical Research Requests.

    (a) Nature of requests. Genealogy requests are requests for 
searches and/or copies of historical records relating to a deceased 
person, usually for genealogy and family history research purposes.
    (b) Manner of requesting genealogical searches and records. 
Requests must be submitted on Form G-1041, Genealogy Index Search 
Request, or Form G-1041A, Genealogy Records Request, and mailed to the 
address listed on the form. Beginning on August 13, 2008, USCIS will 
accept requests electronically through its Web site at http:// A separate request on Form G-1041 must be submitted for 
each individual searched, and that form will call for the name, 
aliases, and all alternate spellings relating to the one individual 
immigrant. Form G-1041A may be submitted to request one or more 
separate records relating to separate individuals.
    (c) Information required to perform index search. As required on 
Form G-1041, all requests for index searches to identify records of 
individual immigrants must include the immigrant's full name (including 
variant spellings of the name and/or aliases, if any), date of birth, 
and place of birth. The date of birth must be at least as specific as a 
year, and the place of birth must be at least as specific as a country 
(preferably the country name as it existed at the time of the 
immigrant's immigration or naturalization). Additional information 
about the immigrant's date of arrival in the United States, residence 
at time of naturalization, name of spouse, and names of children may be 
required to ensure a successful search.
    (d) Information required to retrieve records. As required on Form 
G-1041A, requests for copies of historical records or files must 
identify the record by number or other specific data used by the 
Genealogy Program Office to retrieve the record. C-Files must be 
identified by a naturalization certificate number. Forms AR-2 and A-
Files numbered below 8 million must be identified by Alien Registration 
Number. Visa Files must be identified by the Visa File Number. Registry 
Files must be identified by the Registry File Number (for example, R-
    (e) Information required for release of records. Subjects will be 
presumed deceased if their birth dates are more than 100 years prior to 
the date of the request. In other cases, the subject is presumed to be 
living until the requestor establishes to the satisfaction of the 
Genealogy Program Office that the subject is deceased. As required on 
Form G-1041A, primary or secondary documentary evidence of the 
subject's death will be required (including but not limited to death 
records, published obituaries or eulogies, published death notices, 
church or bible records, photographs of gravestones, and/or copies of 
official documents relating to payment of death benefits). All 
documentary evidence must be attached to Form G-1041A or submitted in 
accordance with instructions provided on Form G-1041A.
    (f) Processing of index search requests. This service is designed 
for customers who are unsure whether USCIS has any record of their 
ancestor, or who suspect a record exists but cannot identify that 
record by number. Each request for index search services will generate 
a search of the indices to determine the existence of responsive 
historical records. If no record is found, USCIS will notify the 
customer accordingly. If records are found, USCIS will provide the 
customer with the search results, including the type of record found 
and the file number or other information identifying the record. The 
customer can use this information to request a copy of the record(s).
    (g) Processing of record copy requests. This service is designed 
for customers who can identify a specific record or file to be 
retrieved, copied, reviewed, and released. Customers may identify one 
or more files in a single request. However, separate fees will apply to 
each file requested. Upon receipt of requests identifying specific 
records by number or other identifying information, USCIS will 
retrieve, review, duplicate, and then mail the record(s) to the 
requester. It is possible that USCIS will find a record that contains 
data that is not releasable to the customer. An example would be names 
and birth dates of persons who might be living. The FOIA/PA only 
permits release of this type of information when the affected 
individual submits a release authorization to USCIS. Therefore, the 
Genealogy Program Office will contact and inform the customer of this 
requirement. The customer will have the opportunity to submit the 
release authorization. The customer can also agree to the transfer of 
the document request to the FOIA/PA program for treatment as a FOIA/PA 
request as described in 6 CFR Part 5. Document retrieval charges will 
apply in all cases where documents are retrieved.

6. Section 103.41 is added to read as follows:

Sec.  103.41  Genealogy request fees.

    (a) Genealogy search fee. See 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1).
    (b) Genealogy records fees. See 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1).
    (c) Manner of submission. When a request is submitted online, 
credit card payments are required. These payments will be processed 
through the Treasury Department's Pay.Gov financial management system. 
Cashier's checks or money orders in the exact amount must be submitted 
for requests submitted with Form G-1041 or Form G-1041A in accordance 
with 8 CFR 103.7(a)(1). Personal Checks will not be accepted.


7. The authority citation for part 299 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1101 and note, 1103; 8 CFR part 2.

8. Section 299.1 is amended in the table by adding ``G-1041'' and ``G-
1041A'', in proper alpha/numeric sequence, to read as follows:

Sec.  299.1  Prescribed forms.

* * * * *

[[Page 28032]]

           Form No.               Edition date             Title

                              * * * * * * *
G-1041........................         11/15/06   Genealogy Index Search
G-1041A.......................         11/15/06   Genealogy Records

                              * * * * * * *

9. Section 299.5 is amended in the table by adding entries for Forms 
``G-1041'' and ``G-1041A'', in proper alpha/numeric sequence, to read 
as follows:

Sec.  299.5  Display of control numbers.

* * * * *

                                                     Currently  assigned
          Form No.                 Form title          OMB control No.

                              * * * * * * *
G-1041......................  Genealogy Index                  1615-0096
                               Search Request.
G-1041A.....................  Genealogy Records                1615-0096

                              * * * * * * *

Michael Chertoff,
 [FR Doc. E8-10651 Filed 5-14-08; 8:45 am]

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