What Should I Ask For In A FOIA Request?

What is the purpose of a FOIA request?

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..

How do you start a letter of request?

Tips for writing a request letterExplain precisely what your request is.Mention the reason for the request.Use polite language and a professional tone.Demonstrate respect and gratitude to the reader.The content of the letter should be official.You may provide contact information where you can be reached.More items…•

Are draft documents public records?

“[T]he mere creation of a draft is not transacting official business. But if the draft is used in connection with transacting official business, then the draft becomes public information.”

What is the difference between freedom of information and subject access request?

If the information you want is information relating to YOU and your personal data then a subject access request will do. If the information you want is for example about the number of car crash incidents in a given year an FOI request will do.

Can you FOIA yourself?

In the United States, you can request government information about yourself using both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act. You will need to type up a request or use a form if the government agency has one.

What can you ask for in a FOIA request?

See the section on How to Request Records Under FOIA in this guide for more information. Physical records of any description can be requested under FOIA. Traditional typed documents, as well as maps, diagrams, charts, index cards, printouts and other kinds of paper records can be requested.

How long does it take to get FOIA information?

Processing times for Form G-639 and other USCIS FOIA requests can vary significantly based on the nature of the request. Simple requests for specific documents may only take 4 to 12 weeks. However, more complex requests and requests for entire immigration files can take approximately 6 months.

Does FOIA apply to private companies?

Public authorities under the FOI Act include NHS organisations, councils, fire services and police forces. However, not all groups that receive taxpayers money are considered as public authorities. … Private companies are not covered by the Freedom of Information Act.

Are FOIA requests anonymous?

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests are not confidential. Once a FOIA request is received, it becomes a public record of the USGS. If the request contains personally identifying information or the request is deemed “sensitive,” we may redact information under FOIA Exemption 6 (personal privacy).

Who can make an FOIA request?

The FOIA is codified at 5 U.S.C. Section 552. “Any person” can file a FOIA request, including U.S. citizens, foreign nationals, organizations, associations, and universities.

How long do you have to respond to a public records request?

QUESTION: How long will it take to get a response to a Public Records Request? ANSWER: Under the Public Records Act Request the CPUC has 10 days in which to respond in writing to your request.

How much does it cost to file a FOIA request?

There is no charge to make a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act). However, an agency or minister may charge you for them to process it and you to access the information you requested.

When can a FOIA be denied?

When information is withheld, whether partially or fully, this constitutes a denial under FOIA. If your request is partially denied, you will receive a document in which the information that is exempted from disclosure has been redacted. A request may be denied for one or more of the aforementioned exemptions.

How long does an Open Records request take?

States Deadlines When Responding to FOIA/Open Records RequestStateOpen Record Request Response Deadline2. Alaska10 days3. Arizona“Prompt”4. Arkansas3 days5. California10 days46 more rows•Jan 25, 2018

Are emails subject to FOIA?

Information held in private email accounts can be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2000. Conversely, information held in the email accounts of the public authority can, in some circumstances, not be subject to FOIA. A recent decision by the Information Commissioner (ICO) confirms this.

Is the Freedom of Information Act effective?

“The FOI Act is an imperfect tool, but as compared to many other countries’ comparable legislation, it is remarkably effective. Without FOIA, we’d be left with the Administrative Procedure Act and not much else.

How do you write a good FOIA request?

FOIA Tip No. 9: Writing a Good FOIA Request Part IIBe clear and specific. … Make sure your request is reasonable in scope. … Provide a date range for records or a date of the event you are researching. … Provide accurate titles and full names, and include any news stories discussing the subject of your request. … Keep your request brief.More items…•

What happens if a FOIA request is ignored?

Filing a Lawsuit If your request is denied, and your internal appeal does not reverse this decision, you may sue the agency in the United State District Court in your state of residence, in the state where the records are located, or in the District of Columbia.