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FOIA Guidance and Resources

FOIA Counselor Service | FOIA Statute | Exemption 3 Statutes | FOIA Fee Guidelines | Your Right to Federal Records

FOIA Counselor Service

OIP provides individualized advice to agency personnel and other interested parties regarding any FOIA-related issue. You may contact an OIP FOIA Counselor at (202) 514-FOIA (3642)

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FOIA Statute

The FOIA was enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966.  Since that time, Congress has regularly updated the original statute through legislative amendments.  Most recently, Congress passed the OPEN Government Act of 2007, which addressed several procedural issues that concern FOIA administration, and the OPEN FOIA Act of 2009, which revised the requirements of FOIA Exemption 3. You can read the text of the FOIA and learn about both of these FOIA amendments through the links below.

Text of the FOIA (showing changes made by the OPEN Government Act of 2007 and the Open FOIA Act of 2009)

OIP Summary of the OPEN Government Act of 2007

OIP Summary of OPEN FOIA Act of 2009

FOIA Legislative Materials

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Exemption 3 Statutes

One provision of the FOIA, known as Exemption 3, provides for the withholding of records when disclosure is prohibited by another federal law.  To assist agencies in properly processing FOIA requests and to aid requesters in understanding the scope of Exemption 3, OIP has compiled a list of statutes that courts have found to qualify under Exemption 3.

Additionally, OIP has compiled a list of statutes used by federal departments and agencies in conjunction with Exemption 3 of the FOIA, as reported in Fiscal Year 2010 Annual FOIA Reports.

Statutes Found to Qualify Under Exemption 3 of the FOIA

Statutes used in Fiscal Year 2010 in conjunction with Exemption 3 of the FOIA

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FOIA Fee Guidelines

Issued in 1987 by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the FOIA Fee Guidelines [formally known as the Uniform Freedom of Information Act Fee Schedule and Guidelines] provide a uniform schedule of fees for agencies to follow when promulgating their FOIA fee regulations. The OMB Fee Guidelines provide general principles for how agencies should set fee schedules and make fee determinations, include definitions of statutory fee terms, and discuss the FOIA statute’s fee provisions in greater, authoritative detail.

Under the FOIA, each agency is required to publish regulations "specifying the schedule of fees" applicable to processing requests and must conform its schedule to the guidelines promulgated by OMB. Anyone with a FOIA fee (as opposed to fee waiver) question should consult these guidelines in conjunction with the appropriate agency's FOIA regulations for the records at issue. Agency personnel should attempt to resolve such fee questions by consulting first with their FOIA officers. Whenever fee questions cannot be resolved in that way, agency FOIA officers should direct their questions to OMB's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Information Policy Branch, at (202) 395-6466.

A summary of the FOIA’s fee provisions, including an overview of the FOIA fee categories and the types of fees charged under the FOIA, is also available in the Glossary of FOIA.Gov

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FOIA Fee Guidelines

A joint publication of the Department of Justice, Office of Management and Budget, and General Services Administration, Your Right to Federal Records is the federal government’s general public information brochure on access to federal agency information.  The brochure provides guidance about using the FOIA and the Privacy Act in a clear and easy to understand format.

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Training and Outreach
Next Events
October 24, 2012
Workshop: OIP, in conjunction with OGIS, hosts FOIA Requester Roundtable (Washington, DC)
(Open to the Public)
For a full list of upcoming events, visit our Key Dates page.
To access DOJ documents that are posted online by OIP, please visit the FOIA Library.
For government-wide FOIA information including how to make a FOIA request to other federal agencies, please visit FOIA.GOV.
General Information Office of Information Policy
Melanie Ann Pustay
Office of Information Policy
(202) 514 - FOIA (3642)
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