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FOIA Requests

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Office of Privacy and Open Government develops and oversees implementation of departmental policies and procedures for the administration of the FOIA (see DOO 20-31).

The Department has a decentralized system for responding to FOIA requests, with each bureau/ operating unit (B/OU) designating a FOIA office to process records from that B/OU.

Before You Submit a FOIA Request

Read the requirements for making requests (15 C.F.R. §4.4).

Please be advised that the FOIA does not require agencies to conduct research, analyze data, answer written questions, or create records in response to a request.

Check the agency’s websites as the Department routinely makes information that may be responsive to your request publicly available.

Check the DOC FOIA Bureau/ Operating Units Electronic FOIA Libraries for frequently requested records.

How to Submit a FOIA Request

Public Access Link (PAL) (preferred) – For all Bureau/ Operating Units except for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Read here for instructions on how to submit a request to USPTO.

You may also submit a request through FOIA.gov or by mail to the relevant DOC FOIA Bureau/ Operating Unit (B/OU). Check here for the mailing addresses to submit a FOIA request to DOC’s B/OU.

Check the Status of an Existing FOIA Request

If you submitted your request through PAL, you will be able to check its status electronically at https://foia-pal.commerce.gov/.

In all correspondence with the relevant DOC BOU about an existing FOIA request, please include the assigned tracking number.