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How to Submit a FOIA Request

Submitting a FOIA Request or Appeal:

  • After logging in, click on either the Submit a FOIA Request or Submit a FOIA Appeal link above.
  • Fill in the General Information Section:
  • For FOIA Requests: Please fill in your request details, along with your preferred Delivery and Payment Mode, and any attachments. Submit the request.
    • If requesting records about you, use the Add Attachment button to attach a signed request containing the following identity verification information:
      • Your full name, current address, and date and place of birth; and
      • Your notarized signature, or a signed statement by you that certifies, under penalty of perjury, that you are the individual who you claim to be and understand that the knowing and willful request for a record about an individual from an agency under false pretenses is a criminal offense under the Privacy Act, subject to a fine of up to $5,000.
    • Do not include your Social Security Number (SSN). If HHS needs your SSN or other identifying particulars to locate the requested records or to ensure that records located are about you, HHS will request that information from you later.
  • For FOIA Appeals: When appealing a request previously submitted via PAL, use the FOIA Reference No. field to reference the request. If the prior FOIA request was not submitted via PAL, please provide the original request number within your Appeal letter.
    • Select your preferred delivery mode.
    • Fill in the Description Section: Please provide a concise summary of the agency determination you are appealing and why you believe that action should be reconsidered. Include the agency tracking number.
    • Attach a copy of your initial request and the correspondence which represents the adverse action you are appealing. HHS understands there will be no agency correspondence for a constructive denial.
    • Submitting the Request: Click the Submit button at the bottom of the page to complete the form.           

No particular form is prescribed for making a FOIA request or appeal, but the request or appeal must conform to the HHS FOIA regulations. You may submit the request or appeal using PAL or in any manner that conforms to the regulations.

Note: A verification email will be sent out shortly to let you know that HHS has received your request or appeal successfully. The email will also provide you with your request or appeal tracking number. Requests and appeals received after 5 pm Eastern Standard Time will be considered “received” on the next business day.

Submitting to an HHS Operating Division

Each major organizational component in HHS has a FOIA Requester Service Center that processes relevant FOIA requests.

ACL- Administration for Community Living

ACF- Administration for Children and Families

AHRQ- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

CDC- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CMS- Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

FDA- Food and Drug Administration

HRSA- Health Resources and Services Administration

IHS- Indian Health Service

NIH- National Institutes of Health

OIG- Office of Inspector General

PSC- Program Support Center

PHS- Public Health Service

SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Privacy Act Statement

This Statement is provided pursuant to the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. § 552a): The information that you provide in order to submit a FOIA request or appeal to HHS is authorized to be collected under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. § 552). Submitting a FOIA request or appeal is voluntary, but failing to provide any or all of the information necessary for the request or appeal to conform to the HHS FOIA regulations may prevent HHS from processing your request or appeal. The principal purposes for which HHS will use the information your provide in your FOIA request or appeal are to track, process, and respond to the request or appeal. The information will be included in a Privacy Act system of records, and will be used and may be disclosed for the purposes and routine uses described and published in the following System of Records Notice (SORN): 09-90-0058 Tracking Records and Case Files for FOIA and Privacy Act Requests and Appeals, 81 FR 17463 (3/29/16), updated 83 FR 6591 (2/14/18).

© 2019 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services