The Privacy Act serves to balance the government’s need to maintain information about individuals with the rights of individuals to be protected against unwarranted invasions of their privacy stemming from federal agencies’collection, maintenance, use, and disclosure of personal information about them.
Individuals may request access to information about themselves, request amendment or correction of those records, and request an accounting of disclosures of their records by the Department.
If you believe that the Department has records on you, please submit the following information:
- List your full name, current address, date of birth, and place of birth.
- If you request the Department to release records pertaining to you to another individual, (i.e. requesters seeking records to be released to their attorney or someone else acting on their behalf, those seeking to have records released to a parent or legal guardian), you must include a signed statement certifying your agreement for that individual to access records about you.
- Explain why you believe the Department would have information on you.
- Identify which Department component(s) you believe may have information about you. (See Directing Requests to Proper Components for help).
- Identify which of the Department's system of records (the term "system of records" means a group of any records under the control of any agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned to the individual) you believe the records are to be found in.
- Specify when you believe the records were created.
- Provide any other information that will help the FOIA staff determine which Department component agency may have responsive records.
- Sign your request. Your signature must either be notarized or submitted by you under 28 U.S.C. 1746, a law that permits statements to be made under penalty of perjury as a substitute for notarization.
Sending Your Request
- If you do not know what Department of Homeland Security component maintains the records you seek, consult Directing Requests to Proper Components.
- Once you have identified the proper component, consult our FOIA contact list for options for sending your Privacy Act Request.