Filing a FOIA Appeal



You may file a FOIA appeal for any of the following reasons:

Reason

Time Limit for FOIA Appeals Officer's Receipt of the Appeal*

Records or parts of records responsive to your request have been withheld.
No later than 30 workdays from the date of the final response.

The bureau/office informs you that you have not adequately described the records you are seeking, or that it doesn't possess responsive records and you have reason to believe it does or you question the adequacy of the bureau's search for responsive records.
The bureau/office did not address all aspects of your request for records.
You believe there is a procedural deficiency (e.g., fees are improperly calculated).
A decision has not been made on your request within the time limits provided in § 2.16 of DOI's FOIA regulations.
Any time after the time limit for responding to your request has passed.
Your request for a fee waiver has been denied.
No later than 30 workdays from the date of the letter denying the fee waiver.
Your request for expedited processing has either been denied or not responded to on time.
You should file an appeal as soon as possible.

*Appeals arriving or delivered after 5 p.m. E.T., Monday through Friday, will be deemed received on the next workday.  FOIA requests and appeals delivered via courier to the Main Interior Building will not be accepted after 4:30 p.m. EST due to the Department's security requirements.


What to Include with Your Appeal

If you want to file an appeal, you must submit your appeal and accompanying materials to the FOIA Appeals Officer by mail, courier service, fax, or email.  All communications concerning your appeal should be clearly marked with the words: "FREEDOM OF INFORMATION APPEAL." Your appeal must be made in writing. You must include with your appeal copies of all correspondence between you and the bureau/office concerning your FOIA request, including your request and the bureau's/office's response (if there is one). Failure to include with your appeal all correspondence between you and the bureau/office will result in the Department's rejection of your appeal, unless the FOIA Appeals Officer determines (in the FOIA Appeal Officer's sole discretion) that good cause exists to accept the defective appeal.

You also should include, in as much detail as possible, any reason(s) why you believe the bureau's/office's response was in error. If you file an appeal concerning a fee waiver denial or a denial of expedited processing, you should demonstrate fully how the criteria in § 2.45-§ 2.48 of DOI's FOIA regulations are met. You also should state in as much detail as possible why you believe the initial decision was incorrect.  Also include your name and daytime telephone number (or the name and telephone number of an appropriate contact), email address and fax number (if available) in case DOI needs additional information or clarification of your appeal.

DOI FOIA Appeals Office Contact Information

Department of the Interior
Office of the Solicitor
1849 C Street, N.W.
MS-6556 MIB
Washington, DC 20240

Attn: FOIA Appeals Office

Telephone: (202) 208-5339
Fax: (202) 208-6677
Email: FOIA.Appeals@sol.doi.gov

For more information about the DOI FOIA Appeals Program, including how DOI will respond to your appeal, please refer to the Department's FOIA regulations (§ 2.57-§ 2.64).



Disclaimer: To the extent that anything included on the DOI website may be or could be construed as inconsistent with the law or DOI's regulations, the law and regulations will control DOI's responsibilities under the FOIA.