The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Section 552, Title 5, United States Code was enacted in 1966 to enable any individual or organization to have access to government records, unless the records are protected by one of nine FOIA Exemptions or three exclusions. FOIA applies only to federal agencies and does not create a right of access to records held by Congress, the courts, or by state or local government agencies.
We encourage you to browse the FOIA area of this website and visit the Department of the Treasury's FOIA website for additional information available to the public.
HOW TO MAKE A FOIA REQUEST
A FOIA request can be made for any Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) component record that is not publicly available. Provide any information that will help identify the records. Please be aware that under the FOIA, agencies are not required to answer questions that are posed as a FOIA request, to conduct research for you, to analyze data, or to create records in order to respond to a request. Your request must:
Be in Writing. The BEP can accept your request by facsimile by dialing (202) 874-2951. The BEP does not accept or respond to FOIA requests by electronic mail.
State that your request is being made under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Describe the records you seek as clearly as possible.
State, for fee purposes, whether you are requesting records as a commercial user, educational institution, non-commercial scientific institution, representative of the news media, or "other" requester. To facilitate assessment of the proper fee category, also state how the records released will be used.
Contain a statement agreeing to pay all fees associated with processing your FOIA request. In the alternative, you may state the upper limit (not less than $25.00) that you agree to pay in connection with your request; and
Contain the signature of the person making the request.
Click here to download a sample FOIA Request Letter.
The FOIA precludes charging a fee if the routine costs of processing and collecting the fee are likely to equal or exceed the amount of the fee. As a result, the BEP does not charge a fee if the total cost of processing a FOIA request is $15.00 or less.
By law, the BEP may charge a fee depending on the category into which the requester falls. Requesters fall into 1 of 4 categories:
- Commercial Requesters are charged fees to recover the full direct cost of searching for, reviewing, and duplicating the records sought.
- Educational and Non-Commercial Scientific Institutions Requesters are charged for duplication, after the first 100 pages;
- Representatives of the News Media are charged for duplication after the first 100 ages, and
- All others are charged for duplication after the first 100 pages and for time spent in search after the first 2 hours.
The BEP charges $0.20 per page for standard duplication services, such as making photocopies. Fees for special duplication services, such as those involving photographs or requiring that materials be sent to a private contractor for copying, are based on the actual cost of duplication. Search and review fees are calculated in accordance with the procedures set forth in 31 C.F.R., Part 1. 7, and may be charged, when applicable, even if no records are found or disclosed.
You must include in your request a statement agreeing to pay all fees associated with processing your request or a statement that establishes the upper limit of fees that you are willing to pay. If you do not include such as statement, the BEP will be unable to process your request. If you establish an upper fee limit and the fees for processing your request are estimated to exceed that limit, you will be notified and asked for a written agreement to pay the estimated fees. You will also have the opportunity to reformulate your request to reduce the estimated fees.
If you are advised or expect that a fee will be charged, you may request in writing a waiver of fees. Requests for fee waivers are decided on a case-by-case basis, and will not be granted unless the request contains sufficient information to demonstrate that a waiver is in the public interest - because furnishing the information is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government, and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. A requester's status as a non-profit organization or representative of the news media will not automatically qualify the requester for a fee waiver without a showing that the waiver is in the public interest.
Under the FOIA, federal agencies are generally required to respond to a request within twenty (20) days of receipt (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays). A request that does not comply with the requirements necessary to complete processing is regarded as 'unperfected'. An unperfected request is not considered as having been received for purposes of the 20-day time limitation, until all the missing part(s) of the request have been provided to the Disclosure Officer. If you submit an unperfected request, you will be contacted and asked to correct the deficiency so that the BEP may complete processing your request.
The BEP will make every effort to respond to a request as promptly as possible. In some cases, however, the BEP may be unable to process your request within 20 days. In such situations, the BEP will contact you directly to request an extension or to arrange for an alternative time frame for processing your request.
The Disclosure Officer may also determine that unusual circumstances justify an administrative extension of the 20 day time limit. Unusual circumstances include:
the need to search for and collect the requested records from facilities that are separate from the office processing the request
the need to search for, collect, and review a large volume of separate and distinct records in response to a single request; or
the need to consult with another agency or bureau having a substantial interest in the potential release of the information being requested. If unusual circumstances justify an extension, you will be provided written notice of the reasons for an extension and the expected date of a response.
In certain situations, a requester may ask that his/her request be processed on an expedited basis. In order to qualify for expedited processing, the requester must demonstrate a compelling need for expedited processing in one of two ways. The first is by showing that failure to obtain the requested records on an expedited basis could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual. The second is by showing that the requester is a person primarily engaged in disseminating information, and that there is an urgency to inform the public concerning actual or alleged Federal Government activities.
Demonstration of a compelling need must be made through a certified statement in which the person making the request declares under penalty of perjury that the statement is true and correct to the best of his/her knowledge and belief. In addition, when a FOIA request includes a request for expedited processing, both the envelope and the request itself must be clearly marked, "Expedited Processing Request." The BEP will render a determination of whether to grant a request for expedited processing within 10 calendar days.
You may appeal an initial FOIA determination to the Director of the BEP in any of the following circumstances:
Access to the records you requested has been denied in whole or in part;
It has been determined that no responsive records exist;
An adverse determination has been made as to the fee category applicable to your request;
A request for expedited processing has been denied.
Except in the case of a denial for expedited processing, your appeal must be filed within 35 days of receipt of the relevant determination. An appeal of a denial for expedited processing must be filed within 10 days of the denial.
Explain and provide specifics on the reasons for your appeal. Include any identifying number(s) assigned to your request, a copy of your request(s), a copy of the BEP response letter(s), and any other correspondence associated with your request. FOIA appeals must be made in writing, signed, and sent to the following:
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
14 th & C Streets, SW.
Washington, DC 20228
THE PRIVACY ACT (PA)
The purpose of the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 U.S.C. ? 552a) is to allow individuals to be protected against unwarranted invasions of their personal privacy resulting from federal agencies collection, maintenance, use, and disclosure of personal information about them.
Privacy Act (PA) requests can be made only by U.S. citizens or aliens lawfully admitted to permanent U.S. residence status, who are seeking information about themselves. The Privacy Act applies to records which are contained in a system of records and which are retrieved by an individual's name or other personal identifier. Requests submitted under the FOIA that seek information about an individual are treated as PA requests
Privacy Act requests for information must be made by the individual whose records are requested. Requests for information on an individual made by a third party (someone other than the individual, such as an attorney or physician), must include a release signed by the individual whose records are being requested. Click here to download a sample "Authorization to Release Information Under the Privacy Act" letter.
HOW TO MAKE A PRIVACY REQUEST
Treasury employees are to make reasonable efforts to assist a requester to determine to which office a written request for records should be sent. PA requests must:
- Be made in writing and signed by the person about whom the record is maintained or his/her duly authorized representative;
- State that the request is being made pursuant to the Privacy Act 5 U.S.C. 552a and marked 'Privacy Act Request';
- Describe the nature of the record(s) being sought in sufficient detail to enable personnel to locate the records. Include dates or timeframes if possible;
- Produce proof of identity in the form of a copy of your Driver's Permit that bears your signature, or by providing a signed and dated statement that you understand the penalties for requesting access to records under false pretenses. Click here to download a sample "Verification Sworn Statement".
RESPONSE TIME AND FEES
Fees are charged only for the cost of duplication, without regard to whether the request was processed under the Freedom of Information Act or Privacy Act, or both. The first 100 pages will be provided without charge. The BEP charges $0.20 per page for standard duplicating services (see FOIA Fees).
Under the Privacy Act, BEP has up to 30 working days after receipt of a valid request to complete processing of a Privacy Act request. If a response to your request cannot be made within 30 working days, you will be notified in writing of the reason for the delay and provided an approximate date when your request will be satisfied. When information sought from the BEP includes information furnished by other Federal agencies or has been classified, that portion of the information is referred to the originating agency for determination, in accordance with the Privacy Act. You will be notified in writing if such a portion of the information requested is referred and to expect to hear directly from that agency.
USE AND DISCLOSURE OF SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS
It is unlawful to deny any right, benefit, or privilege provided by law to any individual because of that individual's refusal to disclose his or her social security account number. However, this does not apply to:
any disclosure that is required by statute, or
the disclosure of a social security number to any Federal, state, or local agency maintaining a system of records in existence before January 1975, if such disclosure was required under statute or regulation adopted before that date for the purpose of verifying an identity.
Any Treasury Bureau that asks an individual to disclose his or her social security account number will inform that individual:
whether disclosure is mandatory or voluntary;
by what statutory or other authority such number is solicited; and
what uses will be made of it.