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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

***NOTE: To avoid delays in processing you should submit your Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request you should create an account and submit your request electronically using the Public Access Link or email 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 June 2020, DHS:

  • Received 36,584 FOIA requests.
  • Processed 27,409 FOIA requests.


Last Published Date: October 26, 2020

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