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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Request - Frequently Asked Questions


Where can I make an FOIA Request?

The Department of Homeland Security is organized into a number of bureaus, divisions, and offices. These subdivisions of the Department are often referred to as ‘components’. Within the Department of Homeland Security, each component processes its own records. Therefore, your request will receive the quickest possible response if it is addressed directly to the component that you believe has the records you are seeking. In almost all cases, you should send your FOIA request to a component's central FOIA office.

Note: If you believe that the Department of Homeland Security does maintain the records you are seeking, but you are uncertain about which component has the records, you may send your request to: FOIA/PA Mail Referral Unit, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Privacy Office Director, Disclosure & FOIA 245 murry Drive SW, Bldg 410 STOP-655 Washigton DC 20528-0655. Personnel in that division will then forward your request to the component of the Department of Homeland Security most likely to maintain the records you are seeking.

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How can I make an FOIA Request seeking information about myself?

Although certain information may be required from a FOIA requester, no special FOIA form is required by the Department of Homeland Security . Requests must be in writing, either handwritten or typed. While requests may be submitted by fax, most components of the Department of Homeland Security have not yet developed the capability to accept FOIA requests submitted through the Web.

In order to protect your privacy as well as the privacy of others, whenever you request information about yourself you will be asked to provide either a notarized statement or a statement signed under penalty of perjury stating that you are the person that you say you are. You may fulfill this requirement by:

  • Having your signature on your request letter witnessed by a notary; or
  • Including the following statement immediately above the signature on your request letter: “I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on (date)”

Note: If you request information about yourself and do not follow one of these procedures, your request cannot be processed.

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