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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

How to Submit a FOIA Request


The FOIA is found in Title 5 of the United States Code, Section 552. FOIA was enacted in 1966 and gives any person the right to request access to almost any federal agency record, except those protected from disclosure by legal exemptions and exclusions (e.g., classified national security, business proprietary, personal privacy, and investigative documents.)

All FOIA requests must be submitted in writing through mail, fax, email, or the web. Indicate that you are making a request under FOIA, and send the request to the following address:

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Director, Freedom of Information and Privacy Act Staff
4700 River Road, Unit 50
Riverdale, MD 20737

VIA FACSIMILE: 301-734-5941

VIA E-MAIL: foia.officer@aphis.usda.gov
(NOTE: While e-mail attachments are often an important and legitimate means of conducting business, they also have the potential to cause great harm to our e-mail infrastructure, as well as to individual workstations. Please place the text of your FOIA request into the 'body' of the email message.)

VIA Web Request Form: Click here to submit your FOIA Request Online.

All FOIA requests should include the following information:

a. Requestor's name, address, and telephone number.

b. A description of the records being sought. The records should be identified as specifically as possible. A request for specific records that are releasable to the public can be processed much more quickly than a request for "all information" on a particular subject. Also fees for a more specific and limited request will generally be less.

c. Separate requests should be submitted for each firm or product involved.

d. A statement concerning willingness to pay fees, including any limitations.


For fee purposes, the FOIA requires that requesters be placed in one of the following four categories to determine how a requester should be charged:

  1. Commercial use requesters are charged the full direct cost of search, review and duplication, associated with processing their requests.

  1. News media are charged the cost of duplication alone, except that the first 100 pages are provided free of charge.

  1. Educational and noncommercial scientific institutions are charged the cost of duplication alone, except that the first 100 pages are provided free of charge.

All other requesters are charged the direct costs of search and duplication, except that the first 2 hours of search and the first 100 pages of duplication are free of charge. No review charges are assessed for requesters in this category.



Last Modified: June 30, 2011