File a State Department FOIA Request in a Few Simple Steps

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.

Make a State Department FOIA Request With No Sweat!

If you need access to the U.S. Department of State records, you can file a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

DoNotPay helps you file a State Department FOIA request by providing information on how you can do it via our app or personally.

Should you be interested in the basics first, you can find out what FOIA is, when and why it was introduced, or what the Act stands for.

Our app explains whether there’s a FOIA request form and whether you can file a request online or check the records on yourself.

What Records Does the Department of State Maintain?

The Department of State (DOS) has records related to the following:

  • U.S. Foreign Policy formulation and execution
  • Former and current Department of State employees
  • The DOS and U.S. missions abroad operations and administration
  • Non-citizens visa requests to enter the USA
  • Consular assistance provided to U.S. citizens abroad
  • U.S. citizens applications for U.S. passports

You can file a FOIA request to the Department of State if you’d like to receive the above-listed records, and .

Can You File a Department of State FOIA Request for All Records?

Some records are available without having to submit a FOIA request. You should first search the FOIA DOS website and use the provided Document Search tool.

The National Archives and Records Administration contains permanent records that are 25+ years old, passport records dating before 1925, and visa records made prior to 1940.

The table below shows common records that are available to the public and don't require FOIA requests, as well as the exemptions to what you can request under the FOIA.

Publicly Available Records From the Websites of Department’s Offices and BureausFOIA Exemptions
  • Frequently requested documents
  • Declassified or released document collections
  • Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series
  • Special records collections of continuing public interest
  • Regulations, administrative rulings and manuals, policy statements, and other reference materials
  • Annual FOIA reports
  • Major publications, including the following reports:
    • Human rights
    • Country
    • Human trafficking
  • National defense or foreign policy classified information
  • Information exempt under other laws
  • Trade secrets and confidential information
  • Geological and geophysical information
  • Internal employees practices and rules
  • Inter- and intra-agency correspondence protected by privileges
  • Law enforcement records
  • Employees and medical files
  • Bank supervision information

You can find a list of all Department of State offices and bureaus on their main website.

The FOIA exemptions listed in the table allow the Department of State to withhold information.

DoNotPay Helps You File a State Department FOIA Request in a Flash

We understand how burdensome the FOIA request procedure can get. You should go to each federal or state agency’s website to check if there’s a FOIA request template you need to fill out.

Another tiresome issue is searching for FOIA instructions, rules, and contact information that vary from agency to agency.

DoNotPay has designed the FOIA Request feature to make the whole process convenient. You don’t have to dial any numbers, wait for a representative to pick up your call, or obsess about the procedures or information you need to provide.

DoNotPay takes care of everything for you! Here’s how:

  1. Access DoNotPay from any
  2. Type in freedom, FOIA, public records, or something similar to open the FOIA request feature
  3. Indicate you’d like to access federal agency records
  4. State what information or documents you need and from which agency
  5. Say if you need a fee waiver, expedited processing, and other relevant details

As soon as you complete our questionnaire, DoNotPay creates a FOIA request and sends it to the Department of State on your behalf.

Should you need additional information from other agencies’ records, DoNotPay has a solution. We will help you file a FOIA request to various federal and state agencies easily, including but not limited to EEOC, FBI, CBP, CIA, IRS, FDA, or USCIS.

How To File a State Department FOIA Request by Yourself?

You can file a FOIA State Department request only in writing using one of the following options:

  1. An online form
  2. Email
  3. Fax
  4. Mail

You may need to pay fees to the Department of State since they can charge for document search, duplication, or review. Once making a FOIA request, you agree to pay any applicable fees up to $25.

File a State Department FOIA Request Online

The Department of State has created an online submission form you can use to file your FOIA request.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Access the online submission form
  2. State that you’re requesting Department of State records
  3. Confirm you’re not requesting the other two types of records
  4. Click on the Next button
  5. Choose your title from the drop-down menu
  6. Enter your first and last name
  7. Select the country in the drop-down menu
  8. Type in your address and city
  9. Opt for the state in the drop-down menu
  10. Type in the ZIP code
  11. Hit Next at the bottom of the page
  12. Follow the prompts

If you’d like to receive records, including personal information or visa requests, file your FOIA request by mail only.

Send a Department of State FOIA Request by Email

You can send your U.S. Department of State FOIA request to

In case you’d like to confirm a filed FOIA request receipt, check your FOIA request status, or appeal a denial, send an email to

Fax a State Department FOIA Request

To access the Department of State records, you can send a FOIA request via fax to (202) 485-1669.

FOIA personnel of the Department of State may not have regular access to faxes and mail in certain circumstances, e.g., during the COVID-19 pandemic.

That’s why you should use DoNotPay, to get the records without unexpected complications.

Send a DOS FOIA Request by Regular Mail

Should you want to send a FOIA letter, mail it to the following address:

Office of Information Programs and Services


2201 C Street N.W., Suite B266

Washington, D.C. 20520-0000

Make sure you enter the subject of your letter, i.e., Re: Freedom of Information Act Request.

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