What Does a FOIA Officer Do?

iEditorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm and is not licensed to practice law. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help.

Get the Lowdown on What a FOIA Officer Does

During your FOIA search and FOIA request submission, you might have a lot of questions. You may have heard of a FOIA officer, but you’re not entirely sure what they do or whether you can contact them.

We’ll answer all your questions regarding a FOIA officer! You can also count on DoNotPay to walk you through the whole FOIA process up until you obtain the documents or records you seek.

Is There Only One Freedom of Information Act Officer?

No, there isn’t. A central government office that handles FOIA requests doesn’t exist, so there can't be only one FOIA officer. According to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), each public body should assign one or more employees to be a FOIA officer. Some agencies have one Chief FOIA officer and several FOIA professionals.

What Do a FOIA Officer and Other Employees Do?

Since every federal agency operates differently and appoints its own FOIA officer, the number of employees and their responsibilities varies. Here’s an overview of typical functions of FOIA officials:

TitleBrief Explanation

FOIA professionals

  • Search for requested records
  • Process FOIA requests
  • Settle an informal dispute when a requester is dissatisfied with the response to the request

FOIA contacts and FOIA public liaisons

  • Answer questions to FOIA requesters
  • Resolve concerns regarding the FOIA process, delays, or disputes

Chief FOIA officers

  • Oversee their agency’s compliance with the FOIA

FOIA officers

  • Receive FOIA requests
  • Make sure the agency respects the FOIA response time
  • Issue FOIA responses
  • Compose a list of documents or categories of records that the agency needs to send the requester

FOIA appeals officers

Where Can I Find a FOIA Officer’s Email and Other Contact Info?

Agencies’ websites usually have web pages dedicated to FOIA where you can find info about FOIA requests and the contact info. If you’re not sure which agency you need to contact, you can visit the government’s central website for FOIA and browse the list of all federal agencies.

Another option is to download a listing of all FOIA contacts at the bottom of the Resources page.

When Should I Contact an Agency’s FOIA Professional?

You can contact a FOIA professional when you:

  • Are not sure whether you should file a FOIA request or you can already access certain documents
  • Don’t know the tracking number you need to check your FOIA status online
  • Want to check your FOIA status because you can’t perform a check online
  • Are dissatisfied with an agency’s response (e.g., denial, delays, or fees)

Can’t Reach a FOIA Officer? DoNotPay Will Answer Your FOIA Questions!

An agency’s FOIA center may be overbooked, and it may experience a high volume of calls and requests. Luckily, you can turn to if you have any FOIA questions, including:

DoNotPay—The Best Way To File FOIA Requests

When you use DoNotPay to submit your FOIA requests, you don’t need a FOIA officer. We’ve got all the info you need, and we’ll guide you through the whole process.

Our app will:

  1. Ask you to provide your personal and contact details
  2. Collect the relevant info regarding the records you want to access
  3. Write your FOIA request letter
  4. Send your FOIA request to any agency—federal, state, or local

You can open DoNotPay in any and follow our instructions to initiate your FOIA requesting process. See for yourself how easy it can be to submit FOIA requests:

  1. Locate our FOIA feature
  2. Enter the agency you wish to send the request to
  3. Tell us if you want to apply for a FOIA fee waiver or expedited processing

Submit FOIA Requests to Any Agency With the Help of DoNotPay

You can use DoNotPay to file FOIA requests to any U.S. agency or department. If you have any questions about a certain agency and its FOIA processes, check our rundown on it!

Find FOIA info and tips about the following agencies and many more:

Use DoNotPay To File FOIA Requests in Every State

DoNotPay’s FOIA feature works in all U.S. states. Although general FOIA rules and regulations apply, states’ FOIA processes may vary. Our learning center boasts articles on filing FOIA requests in different states, including:

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