Learn about Using FOIA to Access Immigration Records

Accessing immigration records through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) does not have to be a confusing process. You can learn more about the types of immigration records held by various agencies and how to use FOIA to access these records by joining us for a special forum presented by OGIS and U.S. Citizenship and … Continue reading Learn about Using FOIA to Access Immigration Records

2017 FOIA Compliance Self-Assessment Survey Results Now Available

Yesterday we published our analysis and observations of FOIA compliance issues based on the responses to FOIA questions included in the 2017 Records Management Self-Assessment (RMSA). This report is the result of our continued collaboration with the Chief Records Officer (CRO) of the United States Government to gather government-wide information about FOIA policies and procedures. … Continue reading 2017 FOIA Compliance Self-Assessment Survey Results Now Available

OGIS Releases Advisory Opinion and Compliance Assessment on Communication with Requesters

We are very pleased to announce the publication of our first advisory opinion and a companion Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) compliance assessment on written communication with requesters. Both documents look specifically at the importance of clear communication to requesters: providing requesters with a clear understanding of the resources available to them as they navigate … Continue reading OGIS Releases Advisory Opinion and Compliance Assessment on Communication with Requesters

OGIS Shares FOIA Tips at IRE Conference

Last week our Attorney Advisor, Sheela Portonovo, attended the 2018 Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) Conference to share best practices for successfully navigating the FOIA process. Below is a brief summary of the major issues with the FOIA process we regularly hear about from reporters (and others), and some of the tips she shared. Issue … Continue reading OGIS Shares FOIA Tips at IRE Conference

FOIA and NARA’s Federal Records Centers

We sometimes hear from FOIA requesters and agency personnel who are confused about why a FOIA request for records at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is not processed by NARA. The answer has to do with whether the federal agency or NARA has legal custody of the records, and requires a brief explanation. … Continue reading FOIA and NARA’s Federal Records Centers

Highlighting Great Customer Service at USCIS

Each year we include a few case studies in our Annual Report to highlight the way that we can help assist FOIA requesters and agencies in resolving FOIA disputes. Today, we want to share one of the case studies from our Fiscal Year 2017 Report that shows how U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provided … Continue reading Highlighting Great Customer Service at USCIS

Tips for Avoiding FOIA Lawsuits

Last week our mediation team facilitator, Christa Lemelin, gave a five minute lightning talk at the Department of Commerce Sunshine Week celebration about common mistakes agencies make that could increase the likelihood of a FOIA requester filing a lawsuit against the agency. Here is a brief summary of the three mistakes she shared with the … Continue reading Tips for Avoiding FOIA Lawsuits

OGIS Releases FOIA Compliance Self-Assessment Survey Results

We are excited to announce the release of our analysis and observations of FOIA compliance issues based on the responses to FOIA questions included in the 2016 Records Management Self-Assessment (RMSA). The RMSA is a sophisticated agency self-assessment program developed and managed by the National Archives and Records Administration Office of the Chief Records Officer … Continue reading OGIS Releases FOIA Compliance Self-Assessment Survey Results

DOJ Releases FOIA Website Guidance 2.0

The Department of Justice Office of Information Policy (OIP) recently issued updated guidance for agency FOIA webpages. The guidance provides helpful recommendations for agencies to ensure that requesters can find useful resources and information. OIP’s guidance suggests that agencies ensure that members of the public can easily locate agency FOIA webpages by including a clear … Continue reading DOJ Releases FOIA Website Guidance 2.0

OGIS Joins in Thanksgiving 2017

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we want to take some time to give thanks for the many individuals who have worked with us over the past year to help improve the FOIA process. In particular, we want to recognize the members of the Chief FOIA Officers Council and the FOIA Advisory Committee. Earlier this year … Continue reading OGIS Joins in Thanksgiving 2017