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This page is our general Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) questions and answers section.  We hope you find this page helpful and informative. Please let us know if you encounter a problem or have any suggestions. To send us a comment, go to our comments and feedback page, and use the word "FAQ" in your comment. If you want to submit a FOIA request, please send it to the proper FOIA Requester Service Center.


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 01) What is the Freedom of Information Act?

What is the Freedom of Information Act?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is an option you may want to use when the releasability of a record is in doubt. The FOIA provides public access to releasable records. It does not require agencies to do research, conduct surveys, compile or analyze data, or to answer questions.

 02) Where is the Air Force FOIA policy?

Where is the Air Force FOIA policy?

The Air Force FOIA policy (Air Force FOIA Regulation 5400.07) and annual reports are available electronically, as well as a list of our key FOIA offices.


 03) Where is the Air Force FOIA handbook?

Where is the Air Force FOIA handbook?

You can access the Air Force FOIA handbook electronically. This handbook tells you how to obtain information from the Air Force and the different ways to do so. It explains how to submit a FOIA request, where to send it, what types of information and records are available, and gives you our average response times. We also list categories of records that the law exempts from release and procedures for appealing those decisions.

 04) How / where do I send a FOIA request?

How / where do I send a FOIA request?

If you want to submit a FOIA inquiry, send a written request to the FOIA office where the record is located, describe the records you want as specifically as possible and let us know how much you're willing to pay. Furnish any facts or clues about the time, place, persons, events, subjects, or other details of the information or records you want. That will help us decide where to search and determine what records pertain to your request. It can also save you and the government time and money and you may get what you want faster. There is no special form to complete. You may mail it, hand-carry it, fax it, or send it electronically. Mark your request and envelope "FOIA."

For fastest response times, we have decentralized the Air Force FOIA Program. No single office handles all FOIA requests. Send your request to the particular base or activity that has the records you want. Every Air Force base has a FOIA office that can help you direct your request to the proper FOIA office. If you don't know which Air Force activity has the records you want, send your request to: HAF/AAII, 1000 Air Force Pentagon, Washington, DC 20330-1000, e-mail:

 05) When can I expect a reply to my request?

When can I expect a reply to my request?

Normally, you can expect a response to your FOIA request within 20 business days from the date the proper FOIA office receives it. If special situations exist, the FOIA office will contact you with an estimated completion date and explain the reason for delay. The Air Force works requests on a first-in, first-out basis.

 06) Will I be charged any fees for my request?

Will I be charged any fees for my request?

The FOIA allows fee charges based on the requester's category. There are three categories: commercial (pay search, review, and reproduction fees); educational, non-commercial scientific institution, and news media (pay reproduction fees; first 100 pages provided at no cost); and others (pay search and reproduction fees; first two hours search and 100 pages provided at no cost). The FOIA also allows waivers or reductions in fees if disclosing the information is in the public interest.

 07) What information is exempt under FOIA?

What information is exempt under FOIA?

The FOIA provides access to federal agency records (or parts of those records) except those protected from release by nine specific exemptions. These are the reasons some Air Force records may not be released:

(1) Classified
(2) Internal personnel rules and practices
(3) Exempt by other statute
(4) Commercial information that would cause competitive harm
(5) Predecisional, deliberative information
(6) Invasion of personal privacy
(7) Compiled for law enforcement purposes
(8) Records for the use of any agency responsible for the regulation or supervision of financial institutions
(9) Records containing geological and geophysical information (including maps) concerning wells

You have the right to appeal all denial decisions within 60 days. Send appeals to the Secretary of the Air Force through the office that intially denied you the information.

 08) Are there other ways to obtain information?

Are there other ways to obtain information?

Other channels for requesting information, other than FOIA, include:

Public Affairs: accepts requests from news media organizations. Contact that office with questions or requests for records. Their address is: Secretary of the Air Force, Office of Public Affairs, 1690 Air Force Pentagon, Washington DC 20330-1690, telephone: (703) 695-0640.

Mandatory Declassification Review: Executive Order 13526 allows you to request declassification of classified records. Contact: HAF/AAII, 1000 Air Force Pentagon, Washington DC 20330-1000, telephone: (703) 695-2226.

Many offices create records with no release restrictions and will provide them, on request, without citing FOIA. Many are electronically available via the World Wide Web. Examples are biographies, fact sheets, Air Force publications, and historical records. You may locate many of the records you want by using the search tool at Air Force Link. Other search tools include the DoD Resource Locator/Government Information Locator Service (GILS) and Privacy Act Systems of Records Notices. The National Personnel Records Center keeps copies of personnel records on former military and civilian personnel.


 09) What records are available electronically?

What records are available electronically?

Records released to the public, under the FOIA, that are or will likely become the subject of subsequent requests;  reading room 

Submitting a Request

To submit a FOIA request online "CLICK HERE"

If you do not know, or unsure about, the location of the information you are seeking, please see our AF FOIA Records Service Centers page.

You may also send your questions to Air Force FOIA Public Liaison Office for assistance at

Refer to the FOIA handbook for more information on submitting FOIA requests.

Public Liaison

If dissatisfied with the service received from the Requester Service Center, you may contact the Air Force FOIA Public Liaison Officer, Mr. Robert E. Bivins, for assistance at or (703) 614-8500.   
(Please do not send FOIA requests to this office.)