Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Frequently Asked Questions
The FOIA gives a person the right to request access to Federal records. However, some records may be protected from release pursuant to one of the nine FOIA exemptions. For the complete list of FOIA exemptions, visit this page.
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Any person can file a FOIA request, including U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, organizations, universities, businesses, and state and local governments. Federal employees may not use government time or equipment when requesting information under the FOIA.
The FOIA allows agencies 20 working days to provide a determination on a request for records.
The FOIA does not require Federal Agencies to answer questions, render opinions, or provide subjective evaluations. Requesters must ask for existing records.
There is no initial fee to file a FOIA request, however, an agency is entitled to charge certain fees, which depend on the category of requester you fall into. For more information regarding the charging of fees, view our fee schedule located on this web site.
Yes. If the Office of Adjudication denies your request in whole or in part under one or more FOIA exemptions or for some other reason, you will be advised of your appeal rights and the proper procedures for submitting the appeal. For assistance in filing an appeal see "Where and How To Make a FOIA Appeal".
You may contact the Office of Adjudication FOIA Specialist, at 202-720-5212, or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.