Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

How to File a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request

I. Information Needed for FOIA Requests

  • Complete Name (First and Last)
  • Mailing address
  • Country (if not U.S.)
  • Telephone number or Alternate telephone
  • Email address
  • Research Topic: Any identifying data such as: subject's complete name, case file number, or detailed information pertaining to your request that will help us identify the records.
  • Specify that you are filing a FOIA request

II. U.S. Department of Justice Certification of Identity Form DOJ-361

Requests for information about yourself should be accompanied by evidence of the your consent. Please use the U.S. Department of Justice Certification of Identity Form DOJ-361 and complete the section identified as: Authorization to Release Information to Another Person. You may submit an attachment listing additional information that may aid in locating responsive records. Please place your name and contact information on the attachment and include this with your FOIA request.

III. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Case Files

For FBI case files, provide us with the case file number, subject of the file, and if possible the letter provided to you from the FBI's Record/Information Dissemination Section indicating that the file had been transferred to the National Archives and Records Administration.

For a Deceased individual:

If you are requesting a FBI case file on a deceased individual, it would be helpful, but not required to provide proof of death. Acceptable forms of proof of death include:

  • obituaries
  • death certificates
  • recognized sources that can be documented such as: written media, Social Security Death Index page, or the Who's Who in America

IV. Muster Rolls/Personnel Diaries (1971-1982)

Muster Rolls are lists of naval personnel formerly attached to a ship, station or other activity. These reports are generated quarterly. Muster rolls/personnel diaries from 1971-1982 use Social Security numbers as service numbers, and are therefore subject to privacy restrictions. This means that requests for these records must be submitted under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

  • Begin your request with the following: "Under the Freedom of Information Act (5 USC 552) I hereby request access to U.S. Navy Muster Rolls." Failure to do so will delay the processing of your request.
     
  • Provide the following record information, along with the information need FOIA requesters:
    • Activity code (if known)
    • Ship/Base or Unit designation(s)
    • Beginning and End date of interest
    • Type of information sought (more than one may be indicated)
      • Officer
      • Enlisted
      • Both Officer and Enlisted
      • Quarterly Roster entries
      • Personnel Diary entries
      • Both Quarterly Rosters and Quarterly Diaries
    • The name(s) of specific person(s) (if applicable)
    • Your contact information
    • Be as specific as possible. A narrow timeframe/specific information will expedite the processing of your request.

If you are requesting muster rolls/personnel diaries for a claim, it is also beneficial to fill out and submit a U.S. Department of Justice Certification of Identity Form DOJ-361 form with your request. Doing so will allow the release of private information to you that would otherwise be withheld if requested by a third party.

V. Submit your FOIA request(s) in writing by mail, fax, or email:

Special Access/FOIA
National Archives at College Park
8601 Adelphi Road
Room 5500
College Park, MD 20740-6001
Tel: 301-837-3190
Fax: 301-837-1864
Email: specialaccess_foia@nara.gov

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