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Department of Justice Guide to the Freedom of Information Act

DOJ Guide to the FOIA

The United States Department of Justice Guide to the Freedom of Information Act is a comprehensive legal treatise on the FOIA. The Guide includes detailed discussions of the FOIA’s procedural requirements, nine exemptions, and litigation considerations. Each section contains a detailed analysis of the key judicial opinions issued on the FOIA.

Each chapter of the Guide will be updated by OIP on a rolling basis as significant new developments in FOIA occur.  OIP’s Court Decisions page also provides a regularly updated review of significant FOIA decisions with detailed summaries searchable by key terms and topical categories.

Text of the FOIA

All sections are available as Portable Document Format files, which may be viewed with a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader.


Introduction (posted February 14, 2020)

Fees and Fee Waivers (posted September 16, 2020)

Exemption 7 (posted January 27, 2022)

Exemption 7(B) (posted June 3, 2021)

Exemption 7(C) (posted March 29, 2022)

Exemption 7(D) (posted September 9, 2022)

Exemption 7(F) (posted December 16, 2021)

Exemption 8 (posted August 26, 2022)

Exemption 9 (posted December 1, 2021)

Exclusions (posted June 3, 2022)

Waiver and Discretionary Disclosure (posted August 31, 2022)

Attorney Fees (updated October 14, 2022)

Reverse FOIA (updated January 27, 2023)

Updated February 29, 2024