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In an effort to keep DHS.gov current, the archive contains outdated information that may not reflect current policy or programs.

Change is Underway at DHS Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

DHS FOIA is moving to a NEW system which will allow us to process records faster.  There may be a temporary delay in response to your request while launching the new system. 

The move will be staggered across DHS FOIA processing centers to minimize disruptions. We appreciate your patience as we move forward with this new technology.

PLEASE NOTE: This change event will NOT affect requests sent to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the United States Secret Service.  

The DHS Privacy Office kicked off the transition on September 15, 2022. We are staggering transition and continuing to operate the legacy solution in the near term to limit the disruption in service.  The tentative transition schedule and order is below. We will update this page as we have additional timing details to share!

Tentative FOIA System Transition Order and Schedule

  • Privacy Office (HQ) – September 15, 2022
  • Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) – September 15, 2022
  • Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) - September 15, 2022
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - September 29. 2022
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA) - September 29. 2022
  • United States Coast Guard (USCG) – September 29. 2022
  • Intelligence & Analysis (I&A) – October 5, 2022
  • Office for Civil Right and Civil Liberties (CRCL) – October 5, 2022
  • Office of Inspector General (OIG) – October 5, 2022
  • Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) - October 5, 2022
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) - October 12, 2022
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) - November 1, 2022

Create a NEW Secure Release account to access to the new Portal and avoid delays!

To limit the disruption for requesters, DHS will continue to operate its legacy system in the near term.  This means there will no break in service for requesters who wish to submit requests online using the DHS portal.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will end participation in FOIAonline on September 30, 2022. Requesters can use the DHS Portal to send requests to CBP beginning October 12, 2022.  In the interim, requests can be emailed to cbpfoia@cbp.dhs.gov or sent in the physical mail to: 90 K ST NE MS 1181, Washington DC 20229.  We encourage you to wait if possible to submit your request through the DHS Portal. Any requests sent to CBP during the transition will need to be manually entered by staff after the transition is complete and will divert resources away from processing records.

All DHS FOIA processing centers except U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the United States Secret Service (USSS) will use the new system.

Like our current system, you will need an account on the new system to directly submit requests, quickly download released records, and directly communicate with a FOIA professional working on your request. Delays may occur in the handling of your request if they are not submitted through an account. If you have an account on the current system, your account will not automatically move to the new system. You will need to re-create an account. Create a Secure Release account to access to the new Portal and avoid delays!

No, you can no longer access your PAL account and records through the old system.

DHS in investing in modernized tools that are better suited to handle the volume and complexity of DHS information and the size of the FOIA program. The new system provides DHS FOIA professionals with access to advanced e-discovery tools that are common in the private sector and will allow us to respond to requests quicker and with greater accuracy.

Yes! You can scan in fingerprint cards and upload them into our system. We do not need the physical copy of a fingerprint card to search for records. Scanning your fingerprint cards and submitting them through the system reduces delays in our response. It also allows us to spend less time opening mail and more time processing records!

During Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, more than half of all DHS FOIA requests were closed in less than 30 days and more than 90% of perfected requests were closed in less than 120 days.  Due to the size of DHS FOIA operations, any disruption in operations can cause a temporary increase in the DHS backlog. While a increase in our backlog may unfortunately occur, the transition to a new system will give DHS FOIA professionals the tools they need to respond to requests more quickly and allow us to better handle future surges in demand.

Last Updated: 04/16/2024
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