Privacy Act Statement
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

View the Act (PDF)

How to Make a FOIA Request

Sample FOIA Request Letter

FOIA Appeals

FOIA Exemptions

Fee Waiver Factors

Fee Schedule (PDF)

What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was passed by Congress in 1966 and became effective on July 4, 1967. Congress wanted to ensure that the people have access the records of the Executive Branch of the United States Government. Before the FOIA, the burden was on the individual to establish a right to examine government records.

With the passage of the FOIA, the burden of proof shifted from the individual to the government. Those seeking information are no longer required to show a need for information. The government now has to justify its need for not releasing records.

The FOIA sets standards for determining which records must be made available to a requester and which records can be withheld. The law also provides administrative and judicial remedies for those denied access to records. Above all, the statute requires federal agencies to provide the fullest possible disclosure of information to the public.

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