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FOIA Fees and Waivers

The DOI FOIA Regulations allow us to recover part of the costs associated with processing FOIA requests. Normally, any request costing less than $50 will be processed for free. Beyond that, we determine the amount we charge for processing your request according to the DOI fee schedule and your fee category:

  • Commercial-use requestors are charged for all search time, document review, and duplication
  • News media, educational institutions, and non-commercial scientific research requestors are charged only for duplication of more than 100 pages. 
  • All other requestors are charged for search time beyond 2 hours and duplication of more than 100 pages.

Here are some more things to remember about FOIA fees:

  • You may not file multiple requests to avoid paying fees.
  • FOIA fees also apply to records provided in response to Privacy Act requests.
  • We may charge fees for search and review even if no documents responding to your request are located or the request is denied.
  • If any fee issues arise, your request will be suspended until the issues are resolved.

If the estimated fees exceed the amount you have agreed to, we will give you the opportunity to modify your request to reduce the fees. If you choose to do so, we ask that you provide a new written assurance of payment.

We will require advance payment of any fee estimated to exceed $250 if this is the first time you've made a FOIA request requiring you to pay fees, or if you've failed in the past to promptly pay a FOIA fee.

Fee Waivers

To see if you qualify for a fee waiver, you must meet all the criteria outlined in 43 CFR § 2.48 of DOI's FOIA regulations. Requests for fee waivers from individuals seeking records pertaining to themselves usually are denied. In addition, a requestor's inability to pay fees is not a legal basis for granting a fee waiver.

Your request for a fee waiver, and the justification for the waiver, must be included with your request for records. We will grant a fee waiver if we determine that you meet the criteria in Appendix D.

Additional information pertaining to fees may be found in Subpart G of the DOI FOIA regulations.