Freedom of Information Act Program

The responsibility for the development and maintenance of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) policies, procedures, and guidance is handled through the Office of Privacy and Open Government, FOIA Program. The FOIA Program Office is also reponsible for oversight of the Department of Commerce's FOIA program.

The Department's FOIA operations are decentralized between 14 bureaus and operating units (BOUs). From this page, you can link to those BOUs and their electronic (on-line) FOIA libraries, learn about how the FOIA program is structured, and/or review our guidance and resources related to FOIA. You can also file and track the status of a request. The Department and its BOUs post a great deal of information on-line. If you are interested in making a request you may find the information you seek has already been posted. A good place to begin is in the electronic FOIA Libraries.


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Department of Commerce Deputy Chief FOIA Officer and responsibilities, FOIA Mission Statement, and FOIA Council’s authority and responsibilities.


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The responsibility for the development and maintenance of FOIA policies, procedures, and guidance is handled through the Office of Privacy and Open Government, FOIA Program Office.


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The FOIA generally provides that any person has the right to request access to federal agency records or information except to the extent the records are protected from disclosure by any of nine exemptions contained in the law or by one of three special law enforcement record exclusions.

Please Note:
  • The FOIA applies only to federal agencies and does not create a right of access to records held by Congress, the courts, or by state or local government agencies.
  • The FOIA does not require agencies to:
      • conduct research for you,
      • analyze data,
      • answer written questions, or
      • create records (such as lists or statistics).



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A FOIA request is a request submitted to a federal agency asking for access to agency records on any topic. A FOIA request can generally be made by any person, to any federal agency, and only requires that requesters reasonably describe the records they are seeking and comply with agency regulations for making such requests.


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The electronic FOIA Library contains materials such as certain agency manuals, specific agency policy statements, and opinions developed in the adjudication of cases. The information you are requesting may be located in our FOIA Library. Please check the Library before submitting a FOIA request.


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All agencies are required by law to report to the Department of Justice on their FOIA compliance through submission of Annual FOIA Reports and Chief FOIA Officer Reports. All agencies are also required to provide quarterly reporting of four key FOIA statistics to the Department of Justice that will be posted on


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List of FOIA-related resources.


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List of FOIA-related training opportunities.


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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Frequently asked questions and factual information about the website.


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Questions and Comments

Send Questions or Comments on the Commerce Open Government program to


Office of Privacy and Open Government
Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce

Page last updated:January 23, 2018