Freedom Of Information (FOIA) instructions

Freedom Of Information (FOIA) instructions

Freedom Of Information Act backFREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT

The Freedom Of Information Act is a request for information on the Federal level. The request for information on the state level is different for each state. Please visit http://www.nfoic.org/state-freedom-of-information-laws for step by step guide on state level.

What is the FOIA?
Since 1967, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement.

Who can make a FOIA request?
Generally any person – United States citizen or not – can make a FOIA request.

How do I make a FOIA request?
Before making a request, first look to see if the information you are interested in is already publicly available. You can find a lot of useful information on a range of topics on each agency’s website. You can also search for information agencies have already posted online here on FOIA.gov.
If the information you want is not publicly available, you can submit a FOIA request to the agency’s FOIA Office. The request simply must be in writing and reasonably describe the records you seek. Most federal agencies now accept FOIA requests electronically, including by web form, e-mail or fax. See the list of federal agencies for details about how to make a request to each agency and any specific requirements for seeking certain records.

Where do I send a FOIA request?
Each federal agency handles its own records in response to requests. There are currently one hundred agencies subject to the FOIA with several hundred offices that process FOIA requests. Your request will receive the quickest possible response if it is addressed directly to the FOIA office of the agency or agency component that you believe has the records you are seeking. See the list of federal agencies for the individual contact information for each agency.

Is there a special form I have to use to make a FOIA request?
There is no specific form that must be used to make a request.

What can I ask for under the FOIA?
A FOIA request can be made for any agency record. You can also specify the format in which you wish to receive the records (for example, printed or electronic form). The FOIA does not require agencies to create new records or to conduct research, analyze data, or answer questions when responding to requests.

Information courtesy of http://www.foia.gov/faq.html#thefoia. Please visit for more information and detail instruction.

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