If you are having problems crossing the border into the United States you may want to request a copy of your records from an agency such as the U.S Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Agency, or the Department of Homeland Security.
The table below lists the agencies that are most involved with crossing the U.S. border. To get your personal information from one of these agencies you will need to submit a “Freedom of Information Act” (FOIA) request. Anybody, including Canadian citizens, can file to obtain their own records. Charges for this service vary for different types of information. The links in the table below will take you to the website for each agency and provide a detailed description of what you must do.
The trick is that you must be very detailed in your description of the information you are seeking. You can request “all available records” but we have seen recommendations that you should then follow that up with a list of the specific items you are looking for. We have heard stories about how difficult it was to get the desired information and that repeated submittals were required. If this process is too complicated (or too frustrating) for you there are attorneys that specialize in immigration law that can file FOIA requests on your behalf.
In theory, the agencies are required to reply within 20 business days but we have seen stories of it taking up to a year to get a full response.
Below is the CBP description of how to approach a request to that department.
IMPORTANT UPDATE! U.S. Reducing Port Hours. See COVID-19 coronavirus travel restrictions.