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Steps to File a FOIA Request

There are four steps to file a FOIA request at DHS.

Before submitting a FOIA request you should first search the available FOIA records, Component FOIA Libraries, Privacy FOIA Library and Major Information Systems.

Requests must be in writing and the records you are seeking must be reasonably described.  It is helpful to include specific information that may assist in identifying the requested records, such as the date, title or name, author, recipient, subject matter of the record.

It is critical that all the required information be provided when submitting a FOIA request. Failure to do so will result in delay or rejection of requests. Please make sure your request includes:

  • Name
  • Contact information (street address or email address)
  • Brief description of records sought
  • If you are seeking records that contain personal information about yourself, provide a perjury statement and signature or notary 
  • If you are seeking records that include personal information of a third party, you may receive greater access by providing a third party release statement.

Requests are made either directly to the DHS Privacy Office or directly to a DHS Component. You may submit your request online or by mail, email, or fax to the Privacy Office or appropriate Component.

Refer to the FOIA Contact Information page to see how to check the status of your FOIA request.

Last Updated: 12/18/2023
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