Registry Files: USCIS information #records

Moishe Miller

Thanks for your response about the Registry Files. Would it be fair to
say that if there is a Cert of Arrival with the naturalization papers,
that no Registry was needed or created

Moishe Miller


No, the purpose of creating records under the Registry Act of 1929 was to belatedly create an arrival record so it could be used as the basis of a certificate of arrival.  The ability to issue a certificate of arrival was the whole point of Registry proceedings.

That said, if the certificate of arrival number has the letter "R" in it (as in #-R-#####) or you find the word "Registry" written or stamped on the document, those can be clues to the existence of a Registry File.

Marian Smith

Moishe Miller

Thanks for explaining more of the 1929 law regarding the Registry.
Would an arrival in the 1940's, with a Certificate of arrival, still
possibly have a Registry File? If it would, what might it contain?
Anything else not found in the Cert, Declaration and/or Petition?

Wishing everyone a Shana Tova,
Moishe Miller
Brooklyn, NY
JGFF# 3391


If they arrived (but with no immigrant arrival record*) in the 1940’s they might be eligible for Registry/Lawful Entry proceedings after 1965 or 1986.  Let me explain.


This question highlights how Registry proceedings were always “after the fact.”  The 1929 Act called it “Registry,” but by the early 1940’s INS changed the name to “Lawful Entry”—but it was the same legal provision, and remained the same provision in the law to this day.  


The 1929 Act set an arrival “cut-off date” for eligibility.  This means under the 1929 Act only people who arrived prior to June 3, 1921, could apply for Registry.  Over the years Congress updated the law, moving the date forward.  Whenever they moved the date forward additional people (later arrivals) became eligible for this form of “legalization.”  The changes were:


1929 (45 STAT 1512) Eligible if entered (arrived) prior to June 3, 1921

1939 (53 STAT 1243) Eligible if entered (arrived) prior to July 1, 1924

1952 (66 STAT 219) Eligible if entered (arrived) prior to July 1, 1924

1958 (Pub. L. 85–616) Eligible if entered (arrived) prior to June 28, 1940

1965 (Pub. L. 89–236) Eligible if entered (arrived) prior to June 30, 1948

1986 (Pub. L. 99–603, as amended by Pub. L. 100–525) Eligible if entered (arrived) prior to January 1, 1972


Thus if someone arrived in 1945 but without an immigrant arrival record*, they would not become eligible for Registry/Lawful Entry proceedings until 1965.  If they arrived in 1949 they would not be eligible until 1986.


ALSO, the USCIS Registry Files only hold this material between 1929 and 1944.  Beginning April 1, 1944, all applications for Registry/Lawful Entry were filed in an A-file.  And if the person naturalized prior to April 1, 1956, all that material would have moved to the C-file.  


Sorry it is so complicated.  I hope this helps,


Marian Smith


*You might find someone recorded in the records as admitted temporarily (non-immigrant arrival, or crewman record).  But that is not a record of admission as an immigrant, so they have no record of LPR admission.