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 tracks depending on the number of pages sought. Smaller requests are those consisting of one to 50 pages. Medium requests consist of 51 to 950 pages. Large requests (950 pages or more) take more time to process.
- If your request falls in the medium or large track, an FBI representative will contact you to identify the exact information needed to reduce processing time.
To check on the status of an existing request, requesters are encouraged to use our online status check at https://vault.fbi.gov/fdps-1/@@search-fdps. Status updates are provided on a weekly basis. Requests that have been closed within the past six months are also listed.
- If you have questions regarding FOIA-related matters, please contact us at email@example.com. Requesters may contact our Public Information Office at (540) 868-4593. Please provide the FOIPA request number to the public information officer to start the process.
- Note: The public information officer cannot answer questions about an Identity History Summary Check (aka, rap sheet/background check, police certificate, criminal arrest record). All requests related to an Identity History Summary Check will be referred to the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division (CJIS), Clarksburg, West Virginia at (304) 625-2000.
What You Will Receive After FBI Processing
- A release letter (commonly called an FOIPA release letter) is sent to you, along with all releasable documents.
- The release letter explains any exemptions (Title 5, U.S. Code, Section 552/552a) that were used during processing. Each exemption used will have a check mark in its respective block. Please see the Freedom of Information Act exemptions and Privacy Act exemptions for more information.
- The release letter will cite the number of pages reviewed and the number of pages being released.
- Note: If there are any duplication and/or processing fees, the release letter will state the cost and provide instructions on where to send payment. Only upon our direction should payment be submitted.
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). Please follow the instructions below when submitting your appeal to OIP.
Address your appeal as follows:
Director, Office of Information Policy (OIP)
U.S. Department of Justice
1425 New York Avenue, N.W., Suite 11050
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001
In lieu of mailing your appeal, you may submit an appeal through OIP’s FOIA online portal by creating an account on the following website: https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/publications.home.
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 submit your appeal by mail, both the letter and envelope should be clearly marked “Freedom of Information Act Appeal.” Please cite the FOIPA request number assigned to your request so that it may be easily identified.
Note: please do not send your appeal request directly to the FBI, which does not review appeals.
You may seek dispute resolution services by contacting the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) at 877-684-6448, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you may contact the FBI’s FOIA public liaison by e-mailing email@example.com. If you submit your dispute resolution correspondence by e-mail, the subject heading should clearly state “Dispute Resolution Services.” Please also cite the FOIPA request number assigned to your request so that it may be easily identified.