Research Our Records

INS Subject and Policy Files, 1906–1957

The series, "Subject and Policy Files, 1906–1957" (National Archives Identifier 559947), consists of correspondence, memorandums, hearing transcripts, telegrams, newspaper clippings, photographs, and other materials covering many aspects of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) operations.

The Subject and Policy Files are found in Entry A1-9 of Record Group 85, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, and are commonly called the "Entry 9 files." This series is located at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC (Archives 1).

Entry 9 consists of 22,000 boxes of files arranged numerically by file number. Files begin with File 50627/16 and end with File 56373/506. These file numbers were assigned as the files were created. The subject of a specific file number has no relationship to the subject of the file that precedes it or the file that follows it.

Files 55,800 and above are subject to privacy restrictions and must be screened prior to access.

If interested in these files, please email archives1reference@nara.gov at least two weeks prior to visiting.

Identifying an Entry 9 File

Subject-Related Research

To locate an Entry 9 file related to a particular subject, check the Subject Index to Correspondence and Case Files of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1906–1957 (Microfilm Publication T458), to obtain a file number.

Check T458 under a variety of terms (event, place, or thing) to find the specific term that the INS used for the subject.

On-site researchers wishing to view files identified in T458 should submit a pull slip with the file number to the staff in the Archives 1 Consultation Room.

Off-site researchers should send the Archives 1 staff an email that includes the file number (email address: archives1reference@nara.gov). Staff will provide a price quote for ordering a copy of the file (if extant).

Note: Not all files listed in T458 still exist.

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Index Card to INS Subject and Policy Files

Microfilm Publication T458

T458 is available online through Ancestry.com as the U.S. Subject Index to Correspondence and Case Files of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1903–1959.

Individual-Related Research 

The National Archives does not have a name index to the Entry 9 files. The name index to these records is still in the custody of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

To identify Entry 9 files related to particular individuals, submit a request for an index search to the USCIS Genealogy Program. Please note that there is a fee for this service. For more information, please visit the USCIS Genealogy Program website.

If the USCIS staff find a reference to the requested individual in the name index, they will send you a letter with an Entry 9 file number and a referral to the National Archives. The file (if extant) can then be viewed in person at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, or you can email archives1reference@nara.gov to order copies remotely.

Note: Not all files listed in the USCIS name index still exist.

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Line Inspection of Arriving Aliens, Ellis Island, NY

National Archives Identifier 6116683

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