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USMC Freedom of Information Act

Headquarters Marine Corps

How to make a FOIA request
Step 1: Preparing Your Request

**In electronic form:

Please be advised that as of February 3, 2014, the FOIA email is no longer being monitored for FOIA requests. 

Please visit the following link to submit your FOIA request electronically.  Please note that this system is limited to accepting requests made pursuant to the FOIA only.

https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/public/request/publicPreCreate



**In hardcopy form (written or fax) you submit your request:

*Label your request "FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST," on the request (and also on the envelope, if you use a written request). 

*Describe the specific record(s) you are seeking with enough detail so that a knowledgeable official of the activity may locate the record with a reasonable amount of effort. Such detail should include descriptive information, time frame to be searched, etc. Because most Marine Corps records are not retained permanently, the more information provided, the better opportunity there is to determine if the records would still exist and where. The FOIA clearly states that records must exist at the time the request is submitted to be considered.

*State your willingness to pay all fees or those up to a specified amount or provide a justification to support a fee waiver. Agreements to pay fees are considered to be up to $250, unless another amount is specified. Currently we charge search, review (for commercial requesters only), and duplication costs. (Our fee schedule is provided at enclosure (3) of Secretary of the Navy Instruction 5720.42F). 

*Include your complete postal service mailing address on your request.

Step 2: Submitting Your Request

The next step in preparing to submit your request is deciding where to send the request.  Because Marine Corps records are decentralized, you will get the fastest response by sending your request directly to the Marine Corps official that generated and/or maintains the record(s) you seek. 

*Submitting Your Request to a Marine Corps activity.  Please consult our Where to Send A Request site for help in locating commands, obtaining addresses, or finding a command's website.  Once you have located a command and have its address, you may submit your request is writing to that command.  Alternatively, you may submit your request to a command via a web-based FOIA request form, if that command has one available on its website.  If after consulting this list, you are not sure which activity may hold the records you seek, you may call the Marine Corps' FOIA Program Office at (703) 614-4008 for assistance. 

*Submitting your request to Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps (HQMC).  If the records you seek are maintained by the Office of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Director, Marine Corps Staff, or any Headquarters Department or Division, or if you are unsure as to where to submit your request, you may use any of the following methods to submit a FOIA request: 

1. Submit your request in writing to the:
Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps
FOIA/PA Section (ARSF)
3000 Marine Corps Pentagon
Washington, DC 20350-3000

2. Submit your request via FAX
You may send a fax of your request to 1-703-614-6287.

3. Submit your request electronically
You submit your request electronically by visiting the following link:  https://foiaonline.regulations.gov/foia/action/registered/home 

If the records you seek are not maintained in Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps, files, your request will be forwarded to the U.S. Marine Corps official(s) most likely to maintain the type of records being sought. 

Step 3: Processing Your Request

The FOIA allows "any person" to seek access to "agency records."  The U.S. Marine Corps processes thousands of FOIA requests annually for a wide variety of information and, in only about 10% of the cases, is information denied.  You will receive a response to your request.  Please keep in mind that the 20 working day time limit begins when the activity holding the record(s) receives your request and does not include Saturdays, Sundays, or legal holidays. Due to shrinking budgets, downsizing, complexity of certain requests, the need for classification and legal review, coupled with the number of requests received for processing, some Marine Corps activities may not be able to respond to your FOIA request within 20 working days.  To ensure fair and equitable treatment, your request will be placed in one of three multi-track "first-in, first-out" queues -- one track for simple requests; one track for complex requests; and one track for expedited processing requests. 

*In limited instances, information may be withheld from disclosure if it is:

*currently and properly classified in the interest of national defense or foreign policy [FOIA exemption (b)(1) pertains];

*related solely to internal personnel rules and practices, the release of which would allow circumvention of a statute or rule [FOIA exemption (b)(2) pertains];

*protected by a statute that specifically exempts the information from public release [FOIA exemption (b)(3) pertains];

*trade secrets and commercial or financial information which was obtained from a private source which would cause substantial competitive harm to the information source [FOIA exemption (b)(4) pertains];

*pre-decisional opinions and recommendations, inter-agency or intra-agency memoranda or letters, that show forseeable harm if released.  Also, attorney-client privilege and attorney-work product are covered [FOIA exemption (b)(5) pertains];

*personnel and medical information, the release of which would result in a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy [FOIA exemption (b)(6) pertains]; and/or

*investigatory records or information compiled for law enforcement purposes, which (a) could reasonably be expected to interfere with enforcement proceedings, (b) would deprive a person of a right to a fair trial or an impartial adjudication, (c) could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy, (d) could reasonably be expected to disclose the identify of a confidential source, (e) would disclose investigative techniques, and/or (f) could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual [FOIA exemption (b)(7) pertains].