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Is there a time limit on the amount of time an agency has to reproduce a document requested under the Freedom of Information Act?

This question is part of freedom of information

Asked by Alexandra, Last updated: Sep 15, 2020

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John Smith

John Smith

John Smith
John Smith

Answered Sep 08, 2016

True.-under the foia, federal agencies are required to respond to your request within 20 working days of receipt (excluding saturdays, sundays, and federal holidays). if you have not received a response by the end of that time (allowing for mailing time), you may telephone the agency or write a follow-up letter to ask about the status of your request. sometimes an agency may need more time to find the records, examine them, possibly consult other persons or agencies, decide whether to disclose all of the information requested, and prepare the records for disclosure. agencies may extend this 20-day period for up to 10 more working days, with written notice to you. some agencies, particularly law enforcement agencies, receive large numbers of requests, many of which involve voluminous records or require exceptional care to process. if an agency has a backlog of requests that were received before yours and has assigned a reasonable portion of its staff to work on the backlog, the agency ordinarily will handle requests on a first-come, first-served basis and may not respond to all requests within the statutory time period. the foia allows an agency to set up processing categories so that simple requests do not have to wait to be handled because a more complicated request was received by the agency first.
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