The FOIA is a federal law ensuring public access to any non-exempt federal government record. Go through the process of submitting and checking FOIA Request Status Online.
The U.S. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a statute that provides any person access, with few exemptions, to details about the policies, procedures, functions, and decisions, and workings of federal agencies. All federal agencies, including Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have to make requested records accessible unless the records are protected from disclosure under one of nine specific exemptions in the FOIA. Except federal agencies, the FOIA does not apply to records held by the courts, congress, or by state or local government agencies. Check out here step-by-step process to submit and check FOIA request status online.
FOIA requests can take many weeks or months to process and each federal department has their own individual FOIA procedure, so there are presently unique and separate processes to get details from agencies such as the NSA, the CIA, and the Air Force. To submit a FOIA request online, some agencies already provide an organized process while some are far more unmanageable. One such agency that gives a simple Web form for FOIA requests is the secretive NSA.
All the details will be not available automatically to FOIA requesters. FOIA wants to make private records accessible, while the government reserves the right to redact some details, or not return any requests at all. Moreover, there is no fee to file a FOIA request but FOIA requesters have to pay the fees for FOIA documents. Note that the costs and structures are different of all agencies, and most give the ability to apply for a waiver. For instance, a FOIA request with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can charge below fees: Duplication at 10 cents per page, Managerial search/document review at $10.25 per 15 minutes, Professional search/document review at $7 per 15 minutes and Clerical search/document review at $4 per 15 minutes.
How to Submit a FOIA Request?
FOIAonline Request Form:
FOIAonline lets you to request details under FOIA from FOIAonline agencies taking part, track the status of your requests, file appeals (just registered users), and search for other people’s requests, appeals and responsive records. All agencies give “day forward information”, i.e., details on requests and/or appeals received on or after October 1, 2012 when FOIAOnline was launched.
The participating agencies in FOIAonline include Environmental Protection Agency; National Archives and Records Administration, Office of General Counsel; Federal Labor Relations Authority; Merit Systems Protection Board; Department of Commerce (except the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office); Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation; U.S. Customs and Border Protection; and Department of the Navy (including Navy and Marine Corps).
The FOIAonline Request Form is available on foiaonline.regulations.gov. Mention a clear and thorough description of the records being requested including dates, times, type of document, certificate numbers, entry numbers, officer names if available, etc. On the Create Request page, you can Create an account or Continue as a guest. The benefits of registering with FOIAonline includes a personal dashboard to organize and see your all requests and appeals, speedy formation of requests using general request metadata, and lets you to modify, withdraw, or appeal a request online. Once you submit your request successfully, you will get confirmation message instantly with a tracking number and the status of your FOIA request within FOIAonline. In case, you get an error message using FOIAonline, you can contact the FOIAonline Help Desk through phone at 855-246-FOIA (3642) (9:00am – 5:00pm ET, M-F) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development:
Submit a FOIA request online by filling up the form with your daytime telephone number, mailing address and email address. If you want to submit a FOIA request in a different way, then it should be in writing. You can also mail or fax your FOIA request to:
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Freedom of Information Act Office
451 7th Street, SW, Room 10139
Washington, DC 20410-3000
Facsimile: (202) 619-8365
To check the FOIA request status, you should have the tracking number given by the FOIA Office. Enter the Case Number – for example: 11-FI-HQ-00001 and last name. if you have an doubt regarding your request status, then contact the FOIA Service Center.
National Security Agency (NSA):
Here, three different ways are provided to submit a FOIA request.
(a) Online form: This form will let you to submit a Freedom of Information Act request to the NSA FOIA Office. NSA will send the final responses to your request through the postal service.
(b) Through postal service or other commercial delivery to:
National Security Agency
Attn: FOIA/PA Office (DJ4)
9800 Savage Road, Suite 6248
Ft. George G. Meade, MD 20755-6248
(c) Through facsimile to 443-479-3612
FOIA requests submitted by this way are limited to 20 pages and must be marked to the notice of the FOIA/PA Office.
FDA U.S. Food and Drug Administration:
(a) Fill up and submit online form
(b) Through mail: All FOIA requests should be in writing and include details like Requestor’s name, address, and telephone number, an explanation of the records being sought, separate requests should be submitted for each firm or product involved, and a statement about willingness to pay fees, including any limitations.
Mail the request to the below address:
Food and Drug Administration
Division of Freedom of Information
Office of the Executive Secretariat, OC
12420 Parklawn Drive
Rockville, MD 20857
(c) Through fax to: fax number (301) 827-9267.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement:
(a) Submit your request by using their online FOIA Request Form.
(b) Mail your request to following address:
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
Freedom of Information Act Office
500 12th Street, S.W., Stop 5009
Washington, D.C. 20536-5009
(c) Requests can be faxed to (202) 732-4265.