Alien Registration Forms For years I had been trying to determine the birth place of my great grandmother Sophia and had met many dead ends including social security application forms and marriage licenses.
My luck changed when my great aunt found Sophia’s Alien Registration Form. The small wallet sized card included her picture, thumbprint, address and signature. I was excited to receive this document but at first just held onto it and my research went no further. In hindsight, it is odd that I did not immediately learn more about this document.
As it turns out, Alien Registration details (which were collected at the time the Alien Registration Card was issued) can be obtained by submitting a government form and paying a $25.00 fee. After a short wait, you will receive two pages of detailed information about the registrant. I was fortunate to have the document in my possession. The document included an alien registration number so it cost less to order the detailed report and I was confident that the report existed. I have yet to find a good electronic source to determine if someone had an alien registration. Web link to government site with details.
Background Alien Registration (as opposed to enemy alien registration) began in August 1940 as a program intended to fingerprint and create a record of every non-citizen within the United States. The original Alien Registration Act of 1940 was a national security measure, and directed the Service to fingerprint and register every alien age 14 and older living within and entering the United States.
The 1940 Act directed that a specific form be developed for the Alien Registration program. INS then introduced the Alien Registration Form (AR-2), a form individually stamped with a unique Alien Registration Number. Forms AR-2 date from August 1, 1940 to March 31, 1944.