U.S. Visas: Background and How to Research Them #general

Phyllis Kramer

Some background for those asking about Visas:
Beginning July 1, 1924, everyone coming into the U.S. had to have an entry
...Citizens needed either a birth record or naturalization certificate.
...Noncitizens who wanted to move here permanently applied for immigrant visas.
Eastern Europeans applied for quota visas, while persons >from Western Hemisphere
countries applied for non-quota visas. (These were filed at the USCIS
as visa files
until after April 1944, when they were filed as alien files.)
...Noncitizens traveling to the U.S. for a limited time (for example, foreign
students, businessmen, visitors and tourists) applied for a non-immigrant visa.
(These temporary packets were later destroyed.)

Visas are applied for at U.S. embassies abroad. For more details, see
Marian Smith's article at
http://www.jewishgen.org/InfoFiles/Manifests/other/visa/ or the USCIS
at https://www.uscis.gov/history-and-genealogy/genealogy/visa-files-july-1-1924-march-31-1944
(MODERATOR: http://tinyurl.com/ybjj9y4w )
These immigrant visas contain valuable genealogical information, including exact
date and place of birth, names of parents and children, all places of residence for
5 full years prior to immigration, and a photograph. They usually also contain
vital documents (e.g., birth and marriage certificates).

Genealogists can request copies of visa files >from the USCIS under the
Freedom of Information/Privacy Act or directly through the USCIS Genealogy
Program. Unless you already know the visa file number (it is not on the manifest), ask for an index
search first (fee: $65) to determine the file numbers available for that individual
Then if a visa file is found, you can request a copy; the fee is also $65.

happy hunting!!
Phyllis Kramer, New York City, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla
V.P.Education, JewishGen Inc: www.JewishGen.org/education
Researching (all Galicia) ...KRAMER, BEIM >from Jasienica Rosielna
...SCHEINER, KANDEL >from Strzyzow & Dubiecko
...LINDNER, EICHEL >from Rohatyn, Burstyn
...STECHER, TRACHMAN >from Nowy Zmigrod, Dukla
family web site: KehilaLinks.JewishGen.org/Krosno/Kramer.htm

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