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The first thing to do when making a request under the FOIA is to identify which agency (or branch of the agency) has the records you seek. other sources FOIA request must be addressed to a specific agency, there is no central government records office that services FOIA requests. Accordingly, take the time required to locate the office appropriate for your request. If you are not sure, you can send us a mail for direction.

Your FOIA request must be in writing. Keep in mind that your letter requesting information can be short and simple and in plain English; you don’t need to have a lawyer to make a FOIA request. (Please refer to elsewhere on this site for examples of FOIA request letters). The request letter should be addressed to the agency’s head.

The Act requires three basic elements in all request letters. First, the letter should specifically state that it is being made under the Freedom of Information Act (that is the documents of information sought). This is important because no agency has the obligation to disclose information within their knowledge that is not in the document or other sources of information.

Second, the request should identify the records that are being sought as specifically as possible (so that the agency need not guess what you are seeking or engage in a time consuming back and forth with you to figure out what you are looking for). Third, your name and address must be included (so the agency can respond to you, though not required by law.). For the purposes of an information request, FOIA does not require that you indicate the reasons you are seeking the information.

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