Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) FAQs

What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, is a federal statute enacted in 1966. It provides the American public access to federal agency records. The FOIA requires that agencies: 1) automatically make public certain types of records and 2) establish procedures for the public to request copies of records that are not routinely placed on public record. In general, FOIA advocates the public availability of all federal records, unless the release of the information would cause specific harm. For such circumstances, FOIA exempts some categories of documents from public release.

How Do I Make a Request for Records?

The are several ways to submit a FOIA request for records:

  • Option 1: Online Form
  • Option 2: Mail request to:
    Chief FOIA Officer
    Postal Regulatory Commission
    901 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 200
    Washington, DC 20268-0001

When making a FOIA request, provide: name, complete mailing address, phone number, and specifics about the record(s) being requested (such as docket number, subject matter, type of record, time periods), and any other pertinent information. A request should be clearly identified as "Freedom of Information Act Request." Include a statement regarding ability to pay a research fee, if applicable, for the requested information. In addition, please identify the category of requester as one of the following: commercial, educational, noncommercial, scientific, news media, or other. The Commission copy fee is 10 cents per copy page. Advance payment may be required when the allowable fees are likely to exceed $250.

"Expedited processing" of a request may be made if the requester demonstrates a compelling need. A demonstration of compelling need must be made by a certified statement which is true and correct to the best of the requester's knowledge. A request for expedited processing may be made at the time of the initial request or at a later time.

How Does the Postal Regulatory Commission Respond to FOIA Requests?

Within 20 business days after receipt of the request, the Chief FOIA Officer of the Commission will either:

1) comply with the request and immediately notify the requester of any fees that must be paid or
2) deny the request in writing.

With regard to expedited requests, the Chief FOIA Officer of the Commission has sole discretion to grant the request for expedited processing. If the request is granted, the request will be processed as soon as practicable; if it is denied, such a denial will be explained to the requester in writing.

How Do I Appeal an FOIA Denial?

A requester denied access to a Commission record may appeal the decision up to one year after the denial. A requester who seeks an appeal must file it in writing with the Commission. Within 20 business days of the receipt of the written appeal, the Commission will either grant or deny the appeal in writing.

The Commission will consider appeals of denials of expedited processing requests in a timely manner.