***NOTE: To avoid delays in processing you should submit your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request electronically using our online form or by emailing the appropriate office. There may be additional delays in processing FOIA requests submitted by mail or fax during the national response to COVID-19.***
FOIA is a federal statute that provides that any person has a right to request access to federal agency records. FOIA also establishes a presumption that records in the possession of agencies and departments of the Executive Branch of the U. S. Government are accessible to the people, except to the extent the records are protected from disclosure by any of nine exemptions contained in the law or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.
DHS consistently receives the largest number of FOIA requests of any federal department or agency, receiving almost 40 percent of all requests within the Federal Government. Below you can see the high volume of requests received and the number of requests processed. Additionally, please note the number of pages of records released in the current fiscal year:
In FY 2019, DHS released:
- About 40 million pages of records;
- About 210,000 pages through the appeal process; and
- Almost 430,000 pages through litigation.
In March 2020, DHS:
- Received 34,017 FOIA requests.
- Processed 41,683 FOIA requests.
Information on how to submit a FOIA request and how to submit a Privacy Act request; fee structure, waivers, processing information and limits on FOIA requests.
DHS Requests Response Time for Processed and Pending Requests - Average No. of Days Simple is 21.24 Days and Complex is 111.59 Days. For component specific response times, please refer to the latest FOIA annual report.
With the DHS eFOIA Mobile App, you can submit FOIA requests or check the status of requests, access all of the content on the FOIA website, and receive updates, event notices, and recently published documents.
DHS maintains FOIA libraries for itself, the Office of the Secretary (including the Military Advisor’s Office and the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs), and the following components: CISOMB, DNDO, ESEC, FEMA, MGMT, NPPD, OHA, OGC, OLA, OPA, PLCY, and TSA.
Contact information for filing Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
Concise Descriptions of the FOIA Exemptions and examples of Information DHS May Withhold under each exemption.
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Statutes and online Resources.
Sign up to receive free e-mails to get updates on different DHS.gov topics.
Click on a link to access a specific DHS Component FOIA library
A requester may appeal adverse determinations denying his or her request or any part of the request to the appropriate Appeals Officer. Copies of the FOIA and DHS FOIA regulations are available at www.dhs.gov/foia