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

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. We expect to begin moving to the system on July 11, 2022. 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 will provide dates for impacts at each DHS FOIA processing center as soon as they are available. We are giving you advance notice so that you can plan accordingly. 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.  

If you have a Public Access Link (PAL) account at https://foiarequest.dhs.gov, you will need to create a new account after the move. Documents in your PAL account will remain available until the move to the new system is complete.  Please download any content from your PAL account you may need later!

Frequently Asked Questions about the DHS FOIA System Transition

The DHS Privacy Office will begin the transition on July 11, 2022. We are staggering transition to limit the disruption in service. The length of the transition, and the date when other FOIA processing centers begin the transition, depends on the time it takes to migrate data. 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) – July 11, 2022
  • Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) – TBD
  • Office of Biometric Identity Management (OBIM) - TBD
  • U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) - TBD
  • Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) - TBD
  • Transportation Security Administration (TSA) - TBD
  • United States Coast Guard (USCG) – TBD
  • Intelligence & Analysis (I&A) – TBD
  • Office for Civil Right and Civil Liberties (CRCL) – TBD
  • Office of Inspector General (OIG) – TBD
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) - TBD

You can still submit requests via email and physical mail, but we encourage you to wait if possible until the new system is up and running. Any requests sent to us during the transition will need to be manually entered by our 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.

You will have access to records in the current system until we complete the transition. After the transition is done, you will not be able to access any records in your old account. Make sure you download any records you will need to access!

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: 06/27/2022
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