Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

NARA Electronic Reading Room/FOIA Library

The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) processes FOIA requests for two distinct types of records in our legal custody: Operational and Archival. Operational records are the records created by NARA and its employees in the process of carrying out its mission and responsibilities as an executive branch agency. 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.  Archival records subject to FOIA are the records created by Executive branch agencies and the White House that have been accessioned into the legal custody of the National Archives, and include records subject to the Presidential Records Act (PRA) that have been transferred to NARA since the Reagan Administration. Archival records are located at NARA's archival facilities in the Washington, DC area and around the country, as well as at our Presidential Libraries.  The FOIA does not apply to records of Congress and the Supreme Court, archival records created by Legislative and Judicial branches, nor to records at the pre-Reagan Presidential Libraries.   

In addition, NARA's National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) also processes FOIA requests for official personnel files of retired military service members and retired civilian federal employees on behalf of the military services and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). 

NARA Operational Records

To submit a FOIA request for operational records, use the FOIAonline website at or submit your request by email to

Selected Operational Records Released Under FOIA

Frequently Requested Operational Records

    Office of Government Information Services (OGIS)

    Policy Statements/Administrative Staff Manuals

    Final Orders and Opinions

    • The National Archives has no records in this category.

    Archival Records

    Information on Researching and Making FOIA Requests for Archival Records

    Selected Archival Records Released under FOIA

    Frequently Requested Archival Records

    Presidential Records

    Presidential records released under the FOIA can be found at the following links to the respective home pages of each NARA Presidential Library subject to the PRA/FOIA:   

    Because the FOIA does not apply under the PRA until 5 years after the President has left office, Obama Presidential records will not become subject to FOIA until January 20, 2022.