Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Procedures for filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request
  • There are four basic elements to a FOIA request letter; (1) letter should state that the request is being made under the Freedom of Information Act, (2) request should clearly state the records that are being sought as specifically as possible, do not use acronyms, (3) name, telephone number, and mailing address of the requester must be included. This permits an agency employee processing a request to contact the requester if necessary, and (4) a limitation of the fees that the requester is willing to pay. It is common for a requester to ask to be notified in advance if the charges will exceed a fixed amount. This allows the requester to modify or withdraw a request if the cost may be too high. In addition, by stating a willingness to pay a set amount of fees in the original request letter, a requester may avoid the necessity of additional correspondence and delay.
  • Sometimes included in a FOIA request is a request for a waiver or reduction of fees. Fee waiver requests must clearly describe how granting the fee waiver will likely contribute significantly to public understanding of the operation or activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.
  • If you send your FOIA/PA request/s via facsimile or e-mail, you may not use Government equipment or e-mail accounts to file your request. You may fax your request to (571) 372-5829 or to 
  • Under the rules of the FOIA, agencies are given 20 working days to respond to simple requests.
  • The FOIA/PA is a document release mechanism only. The FOIA/PA does not answer questions, create documents, or settle disputes.
  • You must sign your FOIA/PA request/s and if submitting a Privacy Act request, include your social security number.
  • If someone else is submitting a FOIA/PA on your behalf, include a statement authorizing the release of the documents to them and sign the statement.
File Through FOIA.GOV

>>> You can use FOIA.gov to submit your request or to help you determine if filing a FOIA request is the best option for you.

Do research before you request:

  1. To see if the information is already publicly available. You can find a lot of useful information on individual agency websites and you can also search across the government for information.

  2. If the information you want is not publicly available, you can submit a FOIA request.

What you should do:

If your FOIA request was initially denied in whole or in part, the final FOIA response letter advising you of the denial will also advise you of your right to appeal the determination within 60 days. If you wish to make an appeal you must file your appeal with the correct appellate authority within sixty (60) days. The appellate authority for DoDEA is the Deputy Chief Management Officer (DCMO).

 

NoteReturn address information will be located on all final FOIA response letters that are denied in whole or in part.

 

 

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The handbook is intended to assist you in making Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for Department of Defense (DoD) records.

 
 
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The DoD Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Program Manual.

 
 
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FOIA.Gov is the United States Government's central website for FOIA resources and informarion, as well as filing initial FOIA requests.

 
 
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FOIA Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, Title 32, Subtitle A, Chapter N, Part 286.