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Source Information

Ancestry.com. San Francisco, California, Surrendered Alien Certificates, 1906-1946 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2013.
Original data: "Alien Certificates" Surrendered at San Francisco, California, April 1912–February 1946, by Aliens Who Had Arrived at Honolulu, Hawaii. Microfilm publication A3975, 2 rolls. Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, Record Group 85. National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, D.C.

About San Francisco, California, Surrendered Alien Certificates, 1906-1946

This database contains images of certificates provided to aliens entering the United States after leaving from Hawaii.

Historical Background

Before Hawaii became a state, it and other territories and insular possessions of the United States (such as Puerto Rico and the Philippines) created a peculiar situation for immigration officials. U.S. immigration law did not require the typical immigration documents for aliens coming from ports in these areas to the United States. The issue was addressed by creating Form 546, an Alien Certificate—Insular Territory. These were issued to aliens who left from Hawaii and other ports and surrendered when the individual arrived on the U.S. mainland.

What You May Find in These Records

This database contains copies of Form 546 surrendered to immigration officials in San Francisco, California, as well as a few ancillary documents. The majority of these were from aliens traveling from Honolulu. The forms vary some, but they may include the following details:

  • name
  • native country
  • port of arrival
  • arrival date (both in Honolulu and continental U.S.)
  • age at arrival
  • vessel
  • height
  • weight
  • hair color
  • eye color
  • final destination

Forms may also list identifying documents the alien is carrying, immigration status, and a destination address. On some forms, the phrase “has been lawfully admitted to the United States for permanent residence as shown by records of this office as follows” has been crossed out. This indicates that permission for lawful permanent admission to the U.S. was not granted because the alien was a temporary visitor or in transit to a foreign destination.

Note that original documents have been destroyed, so there is no way to correct problems that appear on the microfilm copies.

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