Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) gives any person the right to request access to records of the executive branch of the U.S. Government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions.

How to Make a FOIA Request

Select Record Type: Archival or Operational

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) processes Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for two distinct types of records: archival and operational. There are a few ways to make FOIA requests for archival and operational records — it starts with selecting the right type of record.

 

Archival Records...

are records created by executive branch agencies and the White House that have been transferred into the legal custody of the National Archives.

  • FOIA does not apply to records of Congress and the Supreme Court, archival records created by Legislative and Judicial branches, or to records of Presidents before the Reagan Administration. (Pre-Reagan records are subject to the Presidential Records Act of 1978.)
  • Archival records are located at our archival facilities in the Washington, DC, area and around the country, as well as at our Presidential Libraries.

 

Learn how to file your Archival FOIA request


Learn more about requesting highly sensitive historical records subject to FOIA: Special Access and FOIA Program

Operational Records...

are records created by NARA and its employees in the process of carrying out its mission and responsibilities.

  • These records include contracts, agency policies, employee directories, and other types of policy, administrative, and personnel records.
  • These requests are processed by NARA's Office of General Counsel.

Submitting FOIA requests via FOIAonline ended September 30, 2022

Requests for operational records may still be submitted to:  

Email: FOIA@nara.gov


Learn more about requesting operational and archival records: Freedom of Information Act Reference Guide

Electronic Reading Room

Find documents frequently requested under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) as well as information routinely available to the public.

 

Track Pending FOIA Requests

 

Best Practices for Filing a FOIA Request / Tips 

 

FOIA Resources (OGIS)

The Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) is a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) resource for the public and the government.

Congress has charged OGIS with reviewing FOIA policies, procedures and compliance of federal agencies and identifying ways to improve compliance.

Their mission also includes resolving FOIA disputes between federal agencies and requesters.​

FOIA Reports

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