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OIP Guidance

The FOIA is constantly evolving as court decisions, Presidential FOIA Memoranda, and new Attorney General FOIA Guidelines are issued, and as Congress passes statutory amendments to the law.

In keeping with its statutory authority to encourage agency compliance with the FOIA, the OIP regularly develops and issues policy guidance to all agencies on proper implementation of the FOIA.

In addition, guidance is issued on a wide range of legal and procedural issues involving the FOIA to improve administration of the law, to promote best practices, and to increase transparency.

2013 | 2012 | 2011| 2010 | 2009| 2008 | Archived Guidance


The Importance of Good Communication with FOIA Requesters 2.0: Improving Both the Means and Content of Requester Communications (November 22, 2013)

Calculating Response Times after the Government Shutdown (October 29, 2013)

Department of Justice Handbook for Agency Annual Freedom of Information Act Reports (September 26, 2013)

Guidelines for 2014 Chief FOIA Officer Reports (September 19, 2013)

Guidance for Further Improvement Based on 2013 Chief FOIA Officer Report Review and Assessment (August 13, 2013)

Guidance for Quarterly FOIA Reporting (Updated April 11, 2013)

Using Metadata in FOIA Documents Posted Online to Lay the Foundation for Building a Government-Wide FOIA Library (March 12, 2013)


Guidelines for 2013 Chief FOIA Officer Reports (September 26, 2012)

Implementing FOIA’s Statutory Exclusion Provisions (September 14, 2012)

Guidance for Further Improvement from 2012 Chief FOIA Officer Report Review and Assessment (August 7, 2012)

Closing the Ten Oldest Pending Requests and Consultations (April 04, 2012)


Referrals, Consultations, and Coordination: Procedures for Processing Records When Another Agency or Entity Has an Interest in Them (December 05, 2011)

Guidance for Completion of Fiscal Year 2011 Annual FOIA Reports (November 15, 2011)

Guidelines for 2012 Chief FOIA Officer Reports (September 19, 2011)

Open Format Requirements for Agency Annual FOIA Reports (August 17, 2011 )

Exemption 2 After the Supreme Court's Ruling in Milner v. Department of the Navy ( May 10, 2011)

Supreme Court Rejects Argument that Corporations have "Personal Privacy" Interests (March 2, 2011)

Agency FOIA Conferences (March 2, 2011)


Guidelines for 2011 Chief FOIA Officer Reports to the Department of Justice Pursuant to Attorney General Holder's FOIA Guidelines (November 16, 2010)

OIP Guidance and Suggested Best Practices for Improving Transparency (September 1, 2010)

Summary of Agency Chief FOIA Officer Reports with Findings and OIP Guidance for Improvement (July 29, 2010)

Notifying Requesters of the Mediation Services Offered by OGIS (July 9, 2010)

Presidential Statement and White House Memorandum on the FOIA Issued During Sunshine Week (March 26, 2010)

Congress Passes Amendment to Exemption 3 of the FOIA ( March 10, 2010)

The Importance of Good Communication with FOIA Requesters (March 1, 2010)


Questions and Answers: Chief FOIA Officer Reports ( December 17, 2009)

Preferred Formats for 2009 Annual FOIA Reports ( December 17, 2009)

Annual FOIA Reports in Machine-Readable Format ( December 10, 2009)

Guidelines for Chief FOIA Officer Reports to the Department of Justice Pursuant to Attorney General Holder's FOIA Guidelines (September 30, 2009)

President Obama’s FOIA Memorandum and Attorney General Holder’s FOIA Guidelines – Creating a “New Era of Open Government” (April 17, 2009)

Questions and Answers: Annual FOIA Report (Consultations, Response Time and Remands) (January 12, 2009)


New Requirement to Route Misdirected FOIA Requests (November 18, 2008)

New Limitations on Assessing Fees (November 18, 2008)

New Limitations on Tolling the FOIA’s Response Time (November 18, 2008)

Assigning Tracking Numbers and Providing Status Information for Requests (November 18, 2008)

Segregating and Marking Documents for Release in Accordance with the OPEN Government Act (October 23, 2008)

Question and Answer: Annual FOIA Report (Expedited Processing and Fee Waiver Requests) ( October 7, 2008)

Treatment of Agency Records Maintained for an Agency by a Government Contractor for Purposes of Record Management ( September 9, 2008)

Guidance on Preparing Backlog Reduction Plans (June 27, 2008)

Guidance on Submitting Certification of Agency Compliance with FOIA's Reading Room Requirements (June 27, 2008)

2008 Guidelines for Agency Preparation of Annual FOIA Reports (May 22, 2008)

Training and Outreach
Next Events
April 16, 2014
June 11, 2014
For a full list of upcoming events, visit our Key Dates page.
To access DOJ documents that are posted online by OIP, please visit the FOIA Library.
For government-wide FOIA information including how to make a FOIA request to other federal agencies, please visit FOIA.GOV.
General Information Office of Information Policy
Melanie Ann Pustay
Office of Information Policy
(202) 514 - FOIA (3642)
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