In general, the FOIA requires an agency to respond to FOIA requests within 20 business days after the office that maintains the responsive records receives the request. The business day response requirement is not necessarily the time frame for releasing responsive documents.
The Department processes its requests by date of receipt at the proper office maintaining the required records on a first-in, first-out basis, except for exceptions outlined in the FOIA and the Department of Homeland Security FOIA implementing regulations.
Under certain conditions, your request may receive expedited processing if you meet the criteria established in our regulations. However, an expedited request will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis with other expedited requests.
Requests and appeals will be taken out of order and given expedited treatment whenever it is determined that they involve:
- Circumstances in which the lack of expedited treatment could reasonably be
expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an
- An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged federal
government activity, if made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information.