Visa Application of a Chinese Immigrant in 1931

Ng Shee, Visa Application, p.1 of 2, 1931, File 2500/9086; Chinese Exclusion Act Case Files, compiled 1911 - 1955, Record Group 85 Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; National Archives at Boston. ARC 4856448.
Ng Shee, Visa Application, p.1 of 2, 1931, File 2500/9086; Chinese Exclusion Act Case Files, compiled 1911 – 1955, Record Group 85 Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; National Archives at Boston. ARC 4856448.

This Immigration Visa is part of a series of documents in the National Archives at Boston that was used to authenticate the identity of Ng Shee. She was requesting to leave Hong Kong, China, to join her Chinese American husband living in Waltham, MA. The documents include this Nonquota Immigration Visa, her husband’s petition requesting that she be allowed to enter the United States, and the map that Ng Shee drew of her village under interrogation by the immigration official(s) with a Chinese interpreter, and the interrogation questions.




Documents such as these are typical of the approximately 25,000 files in the National Archives at Boston pertaining to Chinese exclusion. The purpose of the documents was to ensure that people seeking to immigrate to the United States adhered to the immigration regulations of the times as amended by Sub. Division C(4) of Section 13 of the Immigration Act of 1924.

The end of the story: Ng Shee would be allowed to stay in the United States. In 1966, her sons were investigated to determine if they were actual sons or illegal “paper” sons.

Historical Background

An Act to execute certain treaty stipulations relating to Chinese.

Whereas in the opinion of the Government of the United States the coming of Chinese laborers to this country endangers the good order of certain localities within the territory thereof: Therefore, Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the expiration of ninety days next after the passage of this act, and until the expiration of ten years next after the passage of this act, the coming of Chinese laborers to the United States be, and the same is hereby, suspended; and during such suspension it shall not be lawful for any Chinese laborer to come, or having so come after the expiration of said ninety days to remain within the United States.

  • An act to execute certain treaty stipulations relating to the Chinese, May 6, 1882; Enrolled Acts and Resolutions of Congress, 1789-1996; General Records of the United States Government; Record Group 11; National Archives.
  • Amended by Sub. Division C(4) of Sec. 13 of the Immigration Act of 1924.

From 1882 to 1943 the United States Government severely curtailed immigration from China to the United States. This Federal policy resulted from concern over the large numbers of Chinese immigrants, competition with American workers and a growing nativism. As a result, an act (22 Stat.58) was enacted on May 6, 1882 to suspend immigration of Chinese laborers for ten years; permitted those Chinese in the United States as of November 17, 1880, to stay, travel abroad, and return; prohibited the naturalization of Chinese; and created a “Section 6” exempt status for teachers, students, merchants, and travelers.
See http://www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2004/spring/alleged-wife-1.html




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