Alien Applications for Permission to Depart the United States: September 1918 - January 1919

Index to Emigrants:
September 1918-January 1919, Philadelphia, PA
Alien Applications for Permission
to Depart from the United States


Index created by and contributed to the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania [GSP] by long-time GSP member and volunteer Herbert D. Hart.

This index may also be found online at the USGenWeb site:

(accessible under State-Wide Archives on the Pennsylvania USGenWeb Archives page).

Prior to 1914 there was little need for a passport in order to arrive or leave the United States. With the entry of the U.S. into World War I, it became apparent that the country must protect itself from foreign agents. As of 26 July 1917, passports were required. By the Act of May 22, 1918, foreigners wishing to leave the country were required to file an "Alien's Application for Permission to Depart from the United States" As the war drew to a close many persons chose to return to their native land. For the fiscal year ending 30 June 1919, 10,730 applications were received at Philadelphia.



Eventually, being obsolete, these files were disposed of by the INS offices throughout the U.S., except in Philadelphia. Some 2500 of these have survived for the period September 1918 to January 1919. Over half of these are from Italian citizens (Birds of Passage). Twenty-seven countries are represented.



These applications contain a wealth of information regarding these individuals. Besides their name, age and parentage, there is where, when and how they arrived in the U.S. and where they have been residing. Finally there is a full physical description with a photograph. Spouses and children under 14 years of age were covered by the same application.



Through the efforts of many volunteer hands at the National Archives - Mid Atlantic Region, these applications have been indexed for your use. They are filed in Record Group 85, entry 181. Copies may be obtained by mail from the Archives, 900 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107 at a cost of $15.00 (the NARA minimum mailing fee). Identify by application number and name the file you wish copied. They also may be viewed and copied at the Archives. Please phone ahead so that the files may be pulled (215-606-0112).



1 40 STAT. 559; 22 U.S.C. 223-226b. Prevention in time of war of departure or entry into the United States contrary to the public safety.



Acknowledgements: Kellee L. Blake, NARA, Philadelphia; Marian L. Smith, INS, Washington

Editor: H.D. Hart 1999