Requesting FBI Records
Requesting FBI Records
Making the Process Easier
How can you get copies of FBI records on people, groups, and closed cases?
For years, we’ve been steadily adding these files to our Freedom of Information/Privacy Act (FOI/PA) website so you can access them with a click of a mouse. But some records are not available online and require you to make a formal request to the FBI.
This request process has just gotten easier, thanks to a new electronic form and revamped website that we are unveiling today.
The new eFOIA form—as we call it—works like this:
- Type your information straight into the form, hit “submit,” and your request will be sent to us automatically.
- Or type in your information, print out the form, and mail or fax us a copy. You can also print and scan the completed form and e-mail it to us at email@example.com.
(Note: the eFOIA form is being revised. Please use the Sample FOIA Request Letter in the interim.)
Please note! You cannot use the eFOIA form to request records about yourself or another living person (who has given you permission). These requests fall under another law, the Privacy Act. Instead, use the U.S. Department of Justice Certification of Identity Form DOJ-361 or send a notarized letter identifying yourself. The 361 form is not automated; it must be printed and sent to us.
Other new features of the website include:
- A Guide to Conducting Research in FBI Records—a comprehensive summary of how to find, use, and understand our records, including those in the possession of the FBI and those held by archives, libraries, and the like;
- Details on what happens after you make a request and how to file an appeal with the U.S. Department of Justice;
- Overviews of the Freedom of Information Act (1966) and Privacy Act (1974), which govern the release of FBI records; and
- Specifics on how to visit the Reading Room at FBI Headquarters.
Given the FBI’s role in American history, our records have long been of interest to researchers, scholars, the media, and many others.
“Our goal is to make the website as user-friendly as possible—to give people more ways to request our records and to explain the process as clearly as we can,” says David Hardy, head of the Record/Information Dissemination Section in our Records Management Division. “It’s part of being more open and transparent.”
As always, if you have questions about requesting FBI records or related issues, call our Freedom of Information Act Requestor Service Center at (540) 868-1535 to hear helpful recorded information, or contact our Record/Information Dissemination Section.