Freedom of Information Act Request


Overview

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request form is a letter used by individuals to request copies of file documents from a federal agency without a great deal of red tape.
It is used as a check against overly restrictive agencies that use governmental regulations to deny individuals access to certain records.
Most of these requests are simple to prepare and file. 
Refer to the United States Government Organization Manual to determine which agency you need to file with.  These manuals are available in most full-service libraries.
Limit your request to things you really want.  Avoid requests for 'all files' or 'any files.'
Identify what you want as clearly as possible.  There may be many records, so try to note what your requests includes and does not include.
When requesting personal information, include any facts that would add specificity, such as date and place of birth, Social Security number, prior names, nicknames, etc.
Be sure to date your letter.  Your request may be filed by the letter date.
Keep a copy of all correspondence and written records of all telephone conversations.


When You Need It
- To formally request information from a governmental agency which is believed to have information regarding the person making the request or on some subject of interest.


Getting Started

You will need:
- The name and address of the agency you intend to contact.
- A detailed description of the information you are requesting, including the title, date, author or other identifier of a document, if you know it.
- To provide any other information you feel might assist this agency in providing the data for you.
- To determine what fees, if any, may be associated with the search and include those in your request.
- To determine if you are eligible for a fee waiver.
- To have your signature notarized, if you are requesting personal information. 


When to Review and Revise
- If you uncover more information which might help the assisting agency with your request.
- If the assisting agency requests more information.
- When contacting other agencies, or requesting different information.