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Freedom of Information Act

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, as amended, established that records in the possession of Federal agencies are accessible to the public unless they meet one or more of the nine exemptions under FOIA or the Privacy Act of 1974 (as amended), and other authorities.

Information and guidance for filing a FOIA Request with the Office of the Secretary can be found on the Office of Secretary FOIA web page. Additional guidance can be found in the DOI FOIA Handbook.

Prior to submitting a FOIA Request

The information you seek may already be available at these locations:

To submit a FOIA request, follow this link

Appeals

How to file an informal appeal:

If you wish to informally pursue your complaint, please provide the following:

  1. Name and/or company or business
  2. Address and/or phone number
  3. Date of your original request
  4. A summary of your request
  5. Where you sent your request
  6. Identify if you:
    1. have not received response
    2. received an incomplete response
    3. think there is additional information
    4. requested a fee waiver but it was denied
    5. believe material was improperly withheld under the FOIA
  7. Answer the following questions as they apply
    1. What information was not provided and where do you believe it exists?
    2. What is your justification for a fee waiver?
    3. What information was withheld?
    4. What FOIA exemptions were cited?
    5. Why do you believe the withholdings are in error?

How to file a formal appeal:

You may appeal a non-response, an incomplete response, a fee waiver denial, or a withholding of information. If you wish to file a formal appeal, you must do so within the following time frames:

  1. For a non-response: 30 workdays from the last day of the time period we were required to respond to you.
  2. For all other appeal items: 30 workdays from the date of our last response to your request.

Mail your appeal to:
     Department of the Interior
     Office of the Solicitor
     Mail Stop 6556
     1849 C Street, NW
     Washington, DC 20240
     Attn:  FOIA Appeals Office

The appeal must include copies of your original request and the initial denial. To expedite the appellate process and to ensure full consideration of your appeal, include a brief statement as to why you believe this decision is in error. Be sure to give the name, address and telephone number of the person in your company who will receive information about the appeal.

Both the envelope containing the appeal and the face of the appeal itself should include "FREEDOM OF INFORMATION APPEAL."

The FOIA Appeals Officer will acknowledge the receipt of your appeal. You will also be notified of the final decision. For more information about the appeal process, review the information at DOI/FOIA.