U.S. Code of Federal Regulations

Regulations most recently checked for updates: Feb 01, 2023

§ 1.5 - Responses to records requests.

(a) In general. Components should, to the extent practicable, communicate with requesters having access to the internet by electronic means, such as email, in lieu of first-class U.S. mail.

(b) Acknowledgements of requests. On receipt of a request, the processing component will send an acknowledgement to the requester and provide an assigned request tracking number for further reference. Components should include in the acknowledgement a brief description of the records sought, or attach a copy of the request, to allow requesters to more easily keep track of their requests.

(c) Grants of requests. When a component makes a determination to grant a request in whole or in part, it will notify the requester in writing. The component will also inform the requester of any fees charged, pursuant to § 1.12, in the processing of the request. Except in instances where advance payment of fees is required, components may issue bills for fees charged at the same time that they issue a determination. The component will include a statement advising the requester that he or she has the right to seek dispute resolution services from the component's FOIA Public Liaison.

(d) Specifying the format of records. Generally, requesters may specify the preferred form or format (including electronic formats) for the records sought. Components will accommodate the request if the records are readily reproducible in that form or format.

(e) Exemptions and discretionary release. All component records, except those specifically exempted from mandatory disclosure by one or more provisions of 5 U.S.C. 552(a) and (b), will be made available to any person submitting a records request under this subpart. Components are authorized, in their sole discretion, to make discretionary releases of their records when such releases are not otherwise specifically prohibited by Executive Order, statute, or regulation.

(f) Reasonable segregation of records. If a requested record contains portions that are exempt from mandatory disclosure and other portions that are not exempt, the processing component will ensure that all reasonably segregable nonexempt portions are disclosed, and that all exempt portions are identified according to the specific exemption(s) that are applicable.

(g) Adverse determinations of requests. A component making an adverse determination denying a request in any respect will notify the requester of that determination in writing. The written communication to the requester will include the name and title of the person responsible for the adverse determination, if other than the official signing the letter; a brief statement of the reason(s) for the determination, including any exemption(s) applied in denying the request; an estimate of the volume of records or information withheld, such as the number of pages or some other reasonable form of estimation; a statement that the determination may be appealed, followed by a description of the requirements to file an appeal; and a statement advising the requester that he or she has the right to seek dispute resolution services from the component's FOIA Public Liaison or the Office of Government Information Services (“OGIS”). An adverse determination includes:

(1) A determination to withhold any requested record in whole or in part;

(2) A determination that a requested record does not exist or cannot be found, when no responsive records are located and released;

(3) A determination that a record is not readily reproducible in the format sought by the requester;

(4) A determination on any disputed fee matter; or

(5) A denial of a request for expedited treatment.

(h) Upon request, the component will provide an estimated date by which the agency expects to provide a response to the requester. If a request involves a voluminous amount of material, or searches in multiple locations, the component may provide interim responses, releasing the records on a rolling basis.