Humanities › History & Culture Alien Registration Records Share Flipboard Email Print FPG/Archive Photos/Getty Images History & Culture Genealogy Vital Records Around the World Basics Surnames Genealogy Fun American History African American History African History Ancient History and Culture Asian History European History Inventions Latin American History Medieval & Renaissance History Military History The 20th Century Women's History View More By Kimberly Powell Genealogy Expert Certificate in Genealogical Research, Boston University B.A., Carnegie Mellon University Kimberly Powell is a professional genealogist and the author of The Everything Guide to Online Genealogy. She teaches at the Genealogical Institute of Pittsburgh and the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. our editorial process Kimberly Powell Updated November 01, 2019 Alien registration records are an excellent source of family history information on U.S. immigrants who were not naturalized citizens. Record Type Immigration/Citizenship Location United States Time Period 1917 to 1918 and 1940 to 1944 Alien Registration Records Aliens (non-citizen residents) living in the United States were asked during two different historical periods to register with the U.S. Government. World War I Alien Registration Records Following the beginning of United States involvement in World War I, all resident aliens who had not been naturalized were required, as a security measure, to register with the U.S. Marshal nearest their place of residence. A failure to register risked internment or possible deportation. This registration occurred between November 1917 and April 1918. WWII Alien Registration Records, 1940-1944 The Alien Registration Act of 1940 (also known as the Smith Act) required the fingerprinting and registration of any alienage 14 and older living within or entering the United States. These records were completed from August 1, 1940, to March 31, 1944, and document over 5 million non-citizen residents of the United States during this period. Learning From Alien Registration Records 1917-1918: The following information was generally collected: Full name (including maiden name for females)Current residence and length of residencePlace of birthSpouse’s name and residenceChildren’s names, sex, and years of birthParents’ names (including maiden name for mother), birthdates, and birthplacesNames, dates of birth, and current residence of siblingsWhether any male relatives serving in the military for/against USWhether registered for selective draftPrevious military or government serviceDate of immigration, name of vessel and port of arrivalWhether naturalized in another countryWhether reported/registered with a consul since 1 June 1914Whether applied for naturalization or took out first papers; if yes, when and whereWhether ever taken an oath of allegiance other than to the United StatesWhether ever arrested or detained on any chargeWhether held a permit to enter a forbidden areaSignaturePhotographDescription of registrantFull set of fingerprints 1940-1944: The two-page Alien Registration Form (AR-2) asked for the following information: NameName at time of entry to the USOther names usedAddressDate and place of birthCitizenship/NationalityGenderMarital statusRaceHeight & WeightHair & Eye ColorDate, port, vessel, and class of admission of last arrival in USDate of the first arrival in USNumber of years in the USUsual occupationPresent occupationName, address, and business of present employerMembership in clubs, organizations or societiesDates and nature of military or naval serviceWhether citizenship papers were filed and if so the date, place, and courtNumber of relatives living in the USArrest record, including date, place, and dispositionWhether or not affiliated with a foreign governmentSignatureFingerprintNot all registrants provided all information. Where To Get Alien Registration Records WWI Alien Registration files are scattered, and the majority are no longer extant. Existing files can often be found in state archives and similar repositories. Existing WWI alien registration records for Kansas; Phoenix, Arizona (partial); and St. Paul, Minnesota can be searched online. Other alien registration records are available in offline repositories, such as the 1918 Minnesota Alien Registration records at the Iron Range Research Center in Chisholm, MN. Check with your local or state genealogical society to learn what WWI alien registration records might be available for your area of interest. WWII Alien Registration (AR-2) files are available on microfilm from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and can be obtained through a Genealogy Immigration Records Request. Unless you have the actual alien registration number from an alien registration card in your family's possession, or from a passenger list or naturalization document, you will want to begin by requesting a Genealogy Index Search. Important Alien Registration Forms AR-2 are only available for A-numbers 1 million to 5 980 116, A6 100 000 to 6 132 126, A7 000 000 to 7 043 999, and A7 500 000 to 7 759 142. If the subject of your request was born less than 100 years before the date of your request, you are generally required to provide documentary proof of death with your request. This might include a death certificate, a printed obituary, a photograph of the tombstone, or other document demonstrating that the subject of your request is deceased. Please submit copies of these documents, not originals, as they will not be returned. Cost Alien registration records (AR-2 forms) requested from USCIS cost $20.00, including shipping and photocopies. A genealogy index search is an additional $20.00. Please check the USCIS Genealogy Program for the most current pricing information. What to Expect No two Alien Registration Records are alike, nor are specific answers or documents guaranteed to be in each case file. Not all aliens answered every question. The turn-around time to receive these records averages about three to five months, so prepare to be patient.