Information can be requested through both the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Privacy Act. Please read this page carefully to ensure the correct channel is used.

What is FOIA?

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. Section 552, is a federal law established in 1966 to give private citizens greater access to government information. It requires that federal agencies disclose the fullest possible amount of information to the public, subject to certain exemptions.

What type of information can I request under FOIA?

FOIA requests may be used to obtain "agency records," which include a wide variety of documents andother materials (including print, photographic, and electronic formats) that were created or obtained by a federal agency and are, at the time the FOIA request is filed, in the agency’s possession and control. However, FOIA excludes certain categories of records from disclosure, including materials related to national security, internal agency rules, proprietary business information, inter- and intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges, and personal privacy.

Can I access agency records without filing a FOIA request?

Yes. The ACHP makes most of its publications available to the public without the need to make a formal FOIA request. A great deal of this information about the ACHP, the National Historic Preservation Act, Section 106, and historic preservation is readily accessible on this website.

How do I make a FOIA request?

For advice and policy guidance on matters pertaining to the FOIA administration, the Freedom of Information Act Officer is the principal point of contact. All requests are handled professionally and expeditiously.

You can write, fax, or e-mail to:

Freedom of Information Act Officer
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
401 F Street, NW, Suite 308
Washington, DC 20001

Facsimile: 202-517- 6381

E-mail: foia@achp.gov

It is important to include the following information in your request, so that we may answer your request in a timely manner:

  • A statement that you are requesting information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
  • A clear and specific description of the information you are requesting. If possible, identify dates, subjects, titles, or authors of the documents requested.
  • An explanation of what the information will be used for (i.e. scholarly purpose, commercial use, personal use). This will help us determine what fees, if any, to charge you for the information.
  • If you are requesting a waiver of fees, please state why you believe you are entitled to the waiver.
  • Your contact information, including name, address, phone, fax, and email.

For more information on making a FOIA request, please see the ACHP’s FOIA Handbook (LINK).

What fees apply to processing a FOIA request?

Information requests may result in costs to the agency, such as search, review, duplication, computer programming, delivery, and special handling. The costs will be relayed to the requestor, according to the following cases:

  • Commercial use requestors must pay all associated costs.
  • Those requesting information for media use, educational research, or private or non-profit receive 100 pages of duplication and two hours of search and review free of charge. The remaining costs, and fees associated with computer programming, special handling, and delivery must be paid.
  • You may request a waiver of all fees if your request is "likely to contribute to public understanding of the operation or activities of government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requestor."

How quickly will you respond to my request?

The ACHP makes every effort to respond to your request as quickly as possible. The law requires that federal agencies respond to you within 20 days of the receipt of the request, excluding weekends and holidays. Especially complex or voluminous requests may need additional time. If your request cannot be answered within the twenty day period, you will be contacted to either narrow your request to allow for a timelier response, or to accept a delay in delivery.

May I appeal if my FOIA request is denied?

If your FOIA request is denied, you have the right to appeal to the head of the agency. You may also appeal the following decisions regarding your request: a decision to withhold materials; a rejection of a fee waiver request; the type or amount of fees charged; or for any other type of adverse determination.

Appealing is a straightforward procedure. Simply write a letter including a description of your original request, the reason for your appeal, and why you believe the agency’s response was incorrect. Please include a copy of your original request and the agency’s response. You should be as complete as possible, and there is no charge for filing an administrative appeal. Your letter should be sent via mail, e-mail, or fax to:

John M. Fowler, Executive Director
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
401 F Street, NW, Suite 308
Washington, DC 20001

E-mail: foia@achp.gov (please include the word “Appeal” in the subject line”)

Facsimile: 202-517-6381