There is no initial fee to make a FOIA request, and in some cases no fees are charged.
Departmental Regulations allow us to recover part of the costs associated with the processing of FOIA requests. Unless you state a specific fee limit in your request, we will assume that you are willing to pay all the fees incurred in the processing of your request and will not contact you concerning the fees. However, if your estimated fees exceed $250.00, you may be given the opportunity to narrow your request in order to reduce the fees or you may be asked to confirm your commitment to pay the estimated amount.
In your request you may make a specific statement limiting the amount of fees you are willing to pay. We will notify you if it appears that the fees will exceed the limit and ask whether you want us to proceed with the search.
For purposes of fees, the FOIA divides requesters into three categories:
- commercial use requesters;
- news media, educational, or scientific requesters; and
- all other requesters.
Commercial use requesters are charged for any search time, document review, and duplication. News media, and educational and scientific research requesters are charged for duplication only, after the first 100 pages. All other requesters are charged for search time (after two hours) and duplication (after 100 pages).
FOIA Search Fee Schedule
The reproduction fees are $0.10 per page. The current search and review fees are determined by the General Schedule (GS) salary level which is representative of the HHS employee performing the initial search and review services.
More detailed information about fees can be found in the HHS FOIA Regulation (Subpart D).
You may request a fee waiver for FOIA prepossessing fees. However, fee waivers are limited to situations in which a requester can show that disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.