The Privacy Office is responsible for administering policies, programs, and procedures to ensure that Department of Homeland Security complies with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (PDF, 18 pages - 79 KB) and the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. 552 and 5 U.S.C. 552a, respectively.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal statute. FOIA generally provides that any person has a right to request access to federal agency records. FOIA also establishes a presumption that records in the possession of agencies and departments of the Executive Branch of the U. S. government are accessible to the people, 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.
While the FOIA supports disclosure of federal agency records, the law recognizes the legitimate need to restrict disclosure of some information. The FOIA does not grant an absolute right to examine government documents; the FOIA establishes the right to request records and to receive a response to the request. If a record cannot be released, the requestor is entitled to be told the reason for the denial. The requester also has a right to appeal the denial and, if necessary, to challenge it in court.
- How to submit a FOIA Request
- How to direct requests to the proper component
- Where to direct requests regarding immigration, enforcement, asylum, genealogy, border crossing, and more
- Statutory FOIA Exemptions
- How to submit a Privacy Act request
FOIA requires agencies to make various types of records available for public inspection in both paper and electronic form:
- Frequently Requested Documents
- Components’ FOIA pages
- Department Directives and Instructions
- Annual Reports
- Statutes and Resources
- FOIA Library
For more information, please contact the DHS Privacy Office's Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act Program:
The Privacy Office
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
245 Murray Drive SW
Washington, D.C. 20528-0655