JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen 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 or the USCIS
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:
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:

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