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Freedom of Information Act

How to Submit a FOIA/PA Request

Privacy Act Redress

FOIA/Privacy Act Appeals

PLEASE NOTE: The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is NOT part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Requests regarding applications filed with DHS should not be made with EOIR and DHS forms should not be used to request records from EOIR. EOIR's FOIA Service Center is centralized and all requests for records from immigration courts must be filed at the FOIA Service Center. Requests filed with a local immigration court are not properly filed with EOIR.

For a text of applicable DOJ FOIA rules, consult the DOJ FOIA Reference Guide.

  1. The Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act (FOIA/PA), (5 U.S.C. § 552/552a) provides that any person has a right to request access to federal agency records, except those records exempted by the Acts. In addition Congress excluded three discrete categories of law enforcement and national security records from the requirements of the FOIA. See 5 U.S.C. Section 552(c) (2006 & Supp. IV 2010). (See also
  2. FOIA requests may be submitted to the following physical or email address:

    Office of the General Counsel
    Attn: FOIA Service Center
    Executive Office for Immigration Review
    5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 1903
    Falls Church, VA 22041

    *Please be sure to read Sections 3 through 6, below, to ensure you provide the proper information with your FOIA request so that your FOIA request is not delayed or rejected.
  3. A FOIA request should reasonably describe the records sought and include identifying information. For example, if a FOIA request seeks a record of proceedings, your request, if possible, should include the alien's full name, aliases, immigration hearing location, and alien registration (A) number (if known). If the A number is not known or the case occurred before 1988, please provide the date of the Order to Show Cause, the country of origin, and the location of the immigration hearing.
  4. Requests for your own records

    To ensure that privacy protected information is not improperly released, a request seeking records regarding yourself must verify your identity. The FOIA Service Center recommends providing a notarized original signature or submitting an original signed Form DOJ-361, Certification of Identity (PDF).
  5. Requests for records regarding a person that is not the requester

    Requests for information about a person other than the requester require proper authorization allowing release of the information. If you are seeking non public information, such as the record of proceedings before an immigration court regarding a person that is not you or a person you represent, the FOIA Service Center recommends that you include in your request an authorization to release information from the person who is the subject of the request, or an explanation about how the public interest outweighs the privacy interest of the subject of the record. The FOIA Service Center recommends having the person who is the subject of the request complete and sign Form DOJ-361 (Certification of Identity) for this purpose. If you are the attorney of record, you may wish to provide evidence of that fact, such as a valid entry of appearance, Form EOIR-27 or Form EOIR-28.
  6. Please be sure that verification of identity and/or authorization to release, as appropriate, is/are enclosed when you mail your FOIA request and is/are attached if you email your FOIA request.

    Failure to provide the a signed verification of identity or authorization to release information, as appropriate, may impede EOIR’s release of information if the disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. Additionally, please note that prior to releasing any information EOIR assess the applicability of all FOIA exemptions.
  7. Costs

    Except for commercial requesters, there is no charge for the first 100 pages of reproduction and 2 hours of search time. After the first 100 pages, a fee of $.05 per page is charged. Search fees are charged per quarter hour; $4.75 (administrative), and $10.00 (professional). Fees must exceed $25.00 before a fee is charged. Additionally, an agency may charge for the retrieval of records stored at a National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) operated records center, and the direct costs associated with scanning the responsive records. Requests are deemed to constitute an agreement to pay any applicable fees that may be charged up to $25 without notice. Most requests do not require any fees; however, if fees exceed $25.00, we will notify you prior to completion of the request. You must agree to pay or EOIR will not release the records. See 28 C.F.R. § 16.10
  8. Processing Time

    The period for determining whether to comply with a request is 20 working days, and may be extended to 30 working days when there is a need to search and collect information from a field office; when there is a need to search and collect voluminous records; or when there is a need for consultation within the agency or among two or more agencies. 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(A)(i).
  9. FOIA does not require agencies to: (1) conduct legal research; (2) provide documents that are published and offered for sale; or (3) provide information that is available on the Internet.
  10. Multi-track Processing

    EOIR FOIA requests are placed in one of three tracks. Track one is for those requests which seek and receive expedited processing pursuant to subsection (a)(6)(E) of the FOIA. The second track is for simple requests which do not involve voluminous records or lengthy consultations with other entities. Track three is for complex requests which involve voluminous records and for which lengthy or numerous consultations are required, or those requests which may involve sensitive records.
  11. Expedited requests

    To have a FOIA request expedited, your request must demonstrate a compelling need such as: (1) imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; (2) an urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activity if the request is made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information; (3) loss of substantial due process rights; or (4) a matter of widespread and exceptional media interest in which there exist possible questions about the government's integrity which affect public confidence.
  12. Privacy Act Redress

    The Privacy Act provides a United States citizen or Legal Permanent Resident the opportunity to correct or amend records that are retrieved by name or other personal identifier in a system of records maintained by EOIR. See 28 C.F.R. Please note that, pursuant to
    28 C.F.R. §§16.83 and 16.84, the Privacy Act cannot be used as a correction mechanism for "official records," i.e., information contained in EOIR record of proceedings (ROP).

    Requests for amendment of correction of records should be marked PRIVACY ACT AMENDMENT REQUEST and addressed to:

    Office of the General Counsel
    Attn: Cecelia Espenoza
    Executive Office for Immigration Review
    5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 1903
    Falls Church, VA 22041
  13. Status of FOIA Request

    To follow up on the status of a FOIA request, call (703) 605-1297 and ask to speak to (1) the FOIA Specialist assigned to your request or (2) Crystal Souza, the FOIA Public Liaison. Additional information on FOIA procedures can be found here.
  14. Appeals

    If you are not satisfied with EOIR's response to your FOIA request, you may file an appeal with the Office of Information Policy (OIP), United States Department of Justice. OIP's address is as follows:

    Office of Information Policy (OIP)
    United States Department of Justice
    1425 New York Ave., NW, Suite 11050
    Washington, DC 20530-0001

    Your appeal must be post marked or transmitted electronically within 60 days of the date of EOIR's FOIA response. Appeals may be filed here.

    See 28 C.F.R. § 16.8

  15. Additionally, mediation services are available through the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) to resolve disputes between requesters and agencies, as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. Click here


Please read our Privacy and Security Notice

Updated June 21, 2017