OIP Releases Guidance on the New Requirements for FOIA Response Letters

July 18, 2016

On June 30, 2016, President Obama signed into law the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, which contains several substantive and procedural amendments to the FOIA. OIP has prepared a summary of the amendments as well as a redlined version of the statute which shows the changes made by the amendments. Today, OIP has released its first guidance piece addressing the new amendments. The guidance addresses the new requirements for agency response letters and for notices extending the FOIA's time limits due to "unusual circumstances." The guidance addresses the:

  • Requirement to notify requesters about the availability of the agency's FOIA Public Liaison to offer assistance,
  • Requirements to notify requesters of their right to seek dispute resolution services from the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS) at NARA, and
  • To afford the requester no less than 90 days from the date of the adverse determination on the request to file an administrative appeal.

Agencies should update their response letters and notices extending the FOIA’s time limits due to unusual circumstances to include the new requirements from the FOIA Improvement Act of 2016. OIP has prepared an implementation checklist, with sample language, to assist agencies in doing so.


Guidance on the New Requirements for FOIA Response Letters, Including Affording Ninety Days to File an Administrative Appeal, and New Notification Requirement for Notices Extending FOIA’s Time Limits Due to Unusual Circumstances


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Updated July 18, 2016