Processing a FOIA Request
We initially have 20 business days from the time your request complies with DOI's FOIA Regulations to respond. Countdown toward the time limit does not start until we have all the necessary information. Please refer to our online FOIA request form to view the information necessary to process your request.
You can help us locate the records you seek by providing a detailed and specific description of the records you seek and limiting your request to the minimum records needed. In some instances, we may take an additional 10 business days to respond. Some factors that may lengthen the processing time are:
- The search for responsive records covers multiple organizational components and/or geographical locations;
- Your request requires significant consultation or coordination with various components of OIG or DOI;
- Your request requires substantial review of material which may be exempt from release; and
- The records you seek contain proprietary data. We are required to consult with the party that submitted those data before we can release the records.
If you use our online FOIA request form, you will be assured that your request is complete, although we may subsequently ask for more detail. As soon as the online request has been received by our system, you will receive an automated message. Regardless of whether you submit your request online or via mail, email, or fax, we will assign a FOIA request number upon receipt. At that time, we will determine whether your request complies with DOI's requirements or if we need additional or more clearly defined information. Once that determination has been made, we will send you an acknowledgement letter informing you that your request has been accepted for processing or that additional or more detailed information is needed before we can begin.
If you have any questions regarding your request, you may contact the OIG FOIA Office. The person named in the acknowledgement letter is the point of contact for your request. You may also contact the appropriate FOIA Requester Service Center at 703-487-5438 or the FOIA Public Liaison at 202-219-2069 to check the status of your request.
Expedited processing is available if your request meets one of the following criteria:
- Circumstances in which the lack of expedited treatment could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual;
- An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged Federal Government activity if the request is made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information, usually a person who is a representative of the news media. The requested information must have particular value that will be lost if not disseminated quickly.
The online FOIA request form includes a section for expedited processing. If you submit a FOIA request by mail, email, or fax, and are seeking expedited processing, you must submit a statement explaining in detail the basis for your request. You must certify in your letter that your need for expedited processing is true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief.
Within 10 calendar days of receipt of your request, we will notify you whether we will grant expedited processing. If expedited processing is granted, we will give priority to your request and process it as soon as practicable. If we deny expedited processing, we will notify you of your right to appeal that decision. An appeal of a decision to deny a request for expedited processing will be processed ahead of other appeals (43 CFR § 2.32(b)). If the OIG has not responded to your request for expedited processing within 10 calendar days, you have a right to file an appeal.