Sample FOIA Request Letter

For more information on how to make a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and where to send your request. You might also find additional help submitting a FOIA request at the website of FAC’S FOIA focused, non-profit partner, MuckRock.

Agency Head [or Freedom of Information Act Officer]

Name of Agency

Address of Agency

City, State, Zip Code

Re: Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear Sir or Madam:

This is a request under the Freedom of Information Act. 5 U.S.C. § 552, et seq.

I request that a copy of the following documents [or documents containing the following information] be provided to me: [identify the documents or information as specifically as possible].

As you know, FOIA requires agencies to release information unless it is specifically exempt from disclosure, and also requires agencies to release all reasonably segregable nonexempt portions of documents, i.e., to redact exempt portions of documents and release the rest. See 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(8). In order to help to determine my status for purposes of determining the applicability of any fees, you should know that I am [insert a suitable description of the requester and the purpose of the request].

[Sample requester descriptions: a representative of the news media affiliated with the ________ (news organization), and this request is made as part of news gathering and not for a commercial use; affiliated with an educational or noncommercial scientific institution, and this request is made for a scholarly or scientific purpose and not for a commercial use; an individual seeking information for personal use and not for a commercial use; affiliated with a private corporation and am seeking information for use in the company’s business.]

[Fees Option 1] I am willing to pay fees for this request up to a maximum of $____. If you estimate that the fees will exceed this limit, please inform me first.

[Fees Option 2] I request a waiver of all fees for this request. Disclosure of the requested information to me is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government and is not primarily in my commercial interest. [Include specific details, including how the requested information will be disseminated by the requester for public benefit.]

[Optional] I request that the information I seek be provided in electronic format.

[Optional] I ask that my request receive expedited processing because ________. [Include specific details concerning your “compelling need,’” such as being someone “primarily engaged in disseminating information” and specifics concerning your “urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity.”]

I also include a telephone number at which I can be contacted during the hours of ________, if necessary, to discuss any aspect of my request. I have also included my email address.

Thank you for your prompt consideration of this request.




City, State, Zip Code

Telephone number

Email address