What Happens After Making a Request
How Long it Takes to Receive Information
- Requests are handled in the order in which they are received according to a multi-track system. Please remember that the FBI receives a voluminous amount of requests on a daily basis.
- Requests are divided into three different processing tracks based on the number of pages responsive to the request. A request is routed through a small processing track if it encompasses 50 pages or less, a medium processing track if it encompasses 51 to 950 pages, or a large processing track if it encompasses 951 pages or more. Requests that encompass a high volume of responsive records will take a longer time to process than requests that encompass a small volume of responsive records.
- If your request encompasses more than 950 responsive pages, an FBI representative will contact you in an effort to reduce the fees and the processing time associated with your request.
- To check the status of an existing request, requesters are encouraged to use the FBI’s FOIPA online status tool at https://vault.fbi.gov/fdps-1/@@search-fdps. This tool can also be found on the FOIPA Status tab at the top of this page (www.fbi.gov/foipa). Status updates are performed on a weekly basis. The status of a closed request will be available for six months following the date of closure.
- If you have questions regarding any FBI FOIPA-related matters, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact our Public Information Office at (540) 868-4593. If you have already submitted a request, please be prepared to provide your FOIPA request number so that we may better assist you.
- Questions about Identity History Summary Checks: The public information officer cannot answer questions about Identity History Summary Checks (commonly called rap sheets, background checks, police certificates, or criminal arrest records). All requests or questions related to Identity History Summary Checks should be directed to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division in Clarksburg, West Virginia at (304) 625-2000.
- Questions about Name Check Requests: The public information officer cannot answer questions about Name Check requests. Information regarding Name Check requests can be found on the FBI’s National Name Check Program webpage. Please note that the National Name Check Program only accepts requests submitted by other federal agencies; requests received from the general public will not be accepted.
What You Will Receive After FBI Processing
After records responsive to your request have been processed, you will receive the following items:
- Releasable documents
- An FOIPA release letter citing the number of pages reviewed, released, and any exemptions (Title 5, U.S. Code, Section 552/552a) that were applied during the processing of your request. Please see the Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act exemptions for more information. If there were any duplication and/or processing fees associated with your request, costs and payment instructions will be provided to you in the letter.
If you are not satisfied with the results of your request, you may file an appeal by writing to the Director of the Office of Information Policy (OIP/DOJ) at the following address:
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Information Policy
441 G Street NW, Sixth Floor
Washington, D.C. 20001
In lieu of mailing your appeal, you may submit an appeal electronically after creating an account on OIP’s FOIA online portal.
If you submitted your request before July 1, 2016, your appeal to OIP must be postmarked or electronically transmitted within 60 days from the date of your letter in order to be considered timely. If you submitted your request after July 1, 2016, your appeal to OIP must be postmarked or electronically transmitted within 90 days from the date of your letter in order to be considered timely. If you are submitting your appeal through standard mail, both the letter and envelope should be clearly marked “Freedom of Information Act Appeal.” Please cite your FOIPA request number so that it may be easily identified.
Note: Please do not send your appeal request directly to the FBI. Appeal requests sent directly to the FBI will not be reviewed.
Prior to submitting an appeal to OIP, you have the option to seek dispute resolution services by contacting the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) at (877) 684-6448, or by e-mailing email@example.com. Alternatively, you may contact the FBI’s FOIPA public liaison by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you submit your dispute resolution correspondence by e-mail, the subject heading should clearly state “Dispute Resolution Services.” Please also cite your FOIPA request number so that it may be easily identified.