When Can I Expect a Response From My FOIA Request?

The FOIA states that an agency will respond in writing within 20 working days of receipt of a request. If a request is sent to the wrong facility, the number of days it takes to receive a response does not begin until the request is received by the custodian of the records. There are unusual circumstances in which the agency may extend the response period for another ten working days. These include requests that require a search for records from a facility other than the one processing the request, requests that require the search for and review of a large volume of records, and requests that require consultation with another agency or with other agency components having an interest in disclosure.

Under What Circumstances May I Receive Expedited Processing for a FOIA Request?

A FOIA request will receive expedited processing under two conditions only. In one instance, the requestor must demonstrate that the failure to expeditiously obtain the records could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual. In the other instance, the requester must demonstrate that he or she is primarily engaged in disseminating information to the public and that the requested information is urgently needed to inform the public about actual or alleged government activity.

When Can Records Be Withheld From a FOIA Request?

The FOIA requires the release of any requested agency record unless it is protected from disclosure by an exemption in the Act. It is the policy of the United States Postal Service to make its official records available to the public to the maximum extent consistent with the public interest. If records or parts of records are withheld, you have a right to appeal the denial of your request by writing to the Postal Service's General Counsel within 30 days of the date of the denial letter. The letter of appeal should include statements concerning the denial, the reasons why it is believed to be erroneous, and the relief sought, along with copies of the original request, the denial letter, and any other related correspondence. Submit the appeal letter to:

GENERAL COUNSEL
U.S. POSTAL SERVICE
475 L'ENFANT PLAZA SW, ROOM 6004
WASHINGTON DC 20260-1100

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