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How to Make A FOIA Request
 
GUIDE TO MAKING A FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST

Before making your request under the FOIA, make sure the records you seek are not already public; or, if records relate to a procurement, that a solicitation library does not already exist for those records.

Any individual may submit a FOIA request to NASA. You should submit your request to the FOIA Office at the NASA Center that is custodian of the documents. Goddard FOIA requests can be submitted by mail, fax, or electronic mail, at the following addresses:

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Freedom of Information Office
Code 130
Greenbelt, Maryland 20771

› fax: 301.286.1712

› E-mail: foia@gsfc.nasa.gov

› Begin now: E-FOIA Request Form

The above address is for requesting NASA Goddard Space Flight Center records only. The request must be in writing. No telephone requests will be accepted. If you do not know the exact title of the document you are seeking, you should provide a reasonable description of the documents. The more information that you can provide about the document, such as its author or date, the more expeditiously our search may be conducted. Requests for documents related to more than 2 contracts should be submitted individually for ease in processing. Your request will be logged and a tracking number assigned to it. The tracking number assigned is of great importance to you as a requester because, in the event you would like to check the status of your request, the number enables us to locate your request in the process.

You should submit your request to the FOIA Office at the NASA Center that authored the documents or the Inspector General's FOIA Office at NASA Headquarters for all Inspector General documents. If you do not know which NASA Center to contact, then you may submit it to NASA Headquarters. Headquarters will attempt to identify the responsible Center and forward your request.

We have included the NASA FOIA Contacts List (pdf) along with their telephone and fax numbers, and the appropriate numerical prefix for contracts generated by a particular center (i.e. "NAS5" indicates that the contract was generated by NASA Goddard). Also, a link is included to the NASA FOIA regulations, "Availability of Agency Records to Members of the Public" which will provide you with more detailed information concerning the processing of your FOIA request. You can also look at other sources of Public Information.

For more guidance in submitting FOIA requests, please consult the Department of Justice's FOIA website.



FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

The FOIA (5 U.S.C. 552) is a statute that provides a means of access to federal government agencies’ existing documents and records. Although it provides access, it does not require agencies to provide explanations, conduct research, answer questions, or otherwise create records in order to respond. Following are frequently asked questions regarding the Act and how to use it.

+ What is the Freedom of Information Act?
+ How do I make a FOIA request?
+ Is a person required to provide a reason for requesting agency records?
+ What fees are associated with a FOIA request?
+ What are the various requester fee categories?
+ Can a fee be waived?
+ When can I expect a response?
+ Under what circumstances may I receive expedited processing?
+ Under what circumstances may records be withheld?
+ What is a PDF file and how do I read it?


What is the Freedom of Information Act?
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is a federal law created in 1966 to provide the public a right of access to government documents and records, the premise being that the public has a right to know what the government is doing. It says that any person may ask an agency for a copy of its records, and that the agency must provide such records, unless an exemption exists that protects the records from disclosure

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How do I make a FOIA request?
A request for agency documents and records pursuant to the FOIA must be in writing and identified as a "Freedom of Information Act" request. The Act requires a requester to provide a reasonable description of the documents or records sought. A reasonable description is one that allows agency employees familiar with the subject matter to locate responsive records with a reasonable amount of effort. Requests that do not meet the reasonable description standard include requests for all records within a broad category, such as requests for "all records NASA Goddard has about me," or "all records concerning NASA Goddard contracts". FOIA requests can also be made online via the E-FOIA Request Form below.

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Is a person required to provide a reason for requesting agency records?
The FOIA does not require a requester to give a reason for requesting agency records.

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What fees are associated with a FOIA request?
There are no fees associated with downloading information from this FOIA website. See Fee Table below for other fees.

Fees
ServiceCostDetail
Duplication $0.10 page Standard Page
$0.15 page Oversize Page
$0.15 per square foot Large Format Documents
(maps, charts, etc.)
Actual Costs Disks, Tapes, Photos, etc.
Search & Review
$3.75 per quarter hour Clerical
$7.50 per quarter hour Professional
$11.25 per quarter hour Legal Review
Electronic Records Actual Costs (NTE $125 per quarter hour) Computer Search
Time and Output

*A fee total of less than $15.00 will not be charged to the requester.


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What are the various requester fee categories?
A requester may be charged a fee for some or all of the NASA Goddard's direct costs. Fees are based on the amount of time it takes to process a request, the number of pages provided, and a requester’s fee category (educational and news media, commercial, or other).
    + Educational and news media requesters are charged for duplication costs in excess of 100 pages.
    + Commercial requesters are charged fees for search time, review time, and duplication costs.
    + Other requesters are charged fees for search time in excess of two hours and duplication costs in excess of 100 pages.
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Can a fee be waived?
Any requester may ask for a fee waiver. The eligibility of a requester for a fee waiver will vary, depending on the ability to show how the requested information relates to the operations or activities of the government and the means to convey the information to the public. For example, a news media requester may qualify for a fee waiver. In that case, the NASA Goddard may waive in full or in part the chargeable duplication fee. Indigence is not sufficient to qualify for a fee waiver.

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When can I expect a response?
The FOIA provides that an agency will respond in writing within 20 working days of receipt of a request. If a request is sent to the wrong facility, the time for response does not begin until the request is received by the custodian of the records. There are unusual circumstances in which the agency may extend the response period for another ten working days. These include requests that require a search for records from a facility other than the one processing the request, requests that require the search for and review of a large volume of records, and requests that require consultation with another agency or with other agency components having an interest in disclosure.

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Under what circumstances may I receive expedited processing?
A FOIA request will receive expedited processing under two conditions only. In one instance, the requester must demonstrate that the failure to expeditiously obtain the records could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual. In the other instance, the requester must demonstrate that he or she is primarily engaged in disseminating information to the public and that the requested information is urgently needed to inform the public about actual or alleged government activity.

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Under what circumstances may records be withheld?
The FOIA requires the release of any requested agency record unless it is protected from disclosure by an exemption(s) in the Act. (See the list of exemptions.) It is the policy of NASA Goddard to make its official records available to the public to the maximum extent consistent with the public interest. If records or parts of records are withheld, you have a right to appeal the denial of your request by writing to the Administrator within 30 days of the date of the denial letter. The letter of appeal should include statements concerning the denial, the reasons why it is believed to be erroneous, and the relief sought, along with copies of the original request, the denial letter, and any other related correspondence. Submit the appeal letter to:
NASA Administrator
National and Aeronautics Space Administration
Washington DC 20546
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What is a PDF file and how do I read it?
PDF stands for Portable Document Format. Adobe developed PDF to provide an easy method to distribute an electronic document across platforms while maintaining the original quality of the document (e.g. fonts, images, etc.). You can read/search/print a PDF file by downloading a free Adobe Acrobat Reader which is available for numerous platforms (e.g. Windows 3.1/95/NT, Macintosh, DOS, IRIX, LINUX, Solaris, etc.).

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ELECTRONIC FOIA REQUEST FORM

To make an Electronic FOIA (E-FOIA) request please fill in the following information as completely as possible. The information that you provide is being collected so that we can contact you about your inquiry. It will only be used for that intended purpose. Please read the NASA Privacy Policy for more information.


Enter contact information for yourself :
(Failure to enter accurate information may render your FOIA request impossible to fulfill.)

(Required)
(Optional)
(Required)
(Required)
(Optional)
(Required)

Identify and describe the type of document that you are requesting :


(Note: This form is only for NAS5- or NNG- contracts only. Click here to find the appropriate place to request other contract numbers.)

Please note that requests for documents related to more than TWO (2) contracts should be submitted individually for ease in processing.

Enter type of contract or document requested (if applicable) :
Contract
Request for Proposals
Source Selection Statement
Contract Modification


Select a suitable description of yourself and the purpose of the request in order to help us determine the status for assessing costs. You are :





Select type of media :




(Enter other description and purpose)

(Optional) $
(You will be informed if the estimated costs will exceed this limit.)

(Optional)

(Optional)