FOIA Letter Generator

Please note: This feature has been replaced by our much more extensive iFOIA project. This page is still available for those who need to view or retrieve previously created letters. All new users should go to our iFOIA site.


· return to FOIA Letter Generator front page

Submitting an open records request to a state, county or local government office is generally easy -- all you have to do is find the agency holding the records you want, and ask for them. A specific, well-written request will help you avoid delays and further correspondence with a government agency.

Because each state's law is different, the prompts here are not nearly as specific as with the federal letter generator. This page will ask you for all pertinent information, but will also give you references to the appropriate sections of our Open Government Guide. The best way to know what should be available to you, and how you can get it, is to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the section of that guide.

Instructions

Fill in the relevant information in the fields below. When you click on the button at the bottom, you will be given a chance to verify the information, then you will see a draft of your letter for copying or downloading. This site will not send the letter to the agency for you; you should send it yourself, even if an email option is available, so that the agency receives it directly from you.

Feel free to use this as often as possible, going back and forth between this form and the finished letter, until you get a letter you are happy with. Or, of course, you can just edit the letter in your own word processor once it is generated.

Answer the questions on the following pages as if you were providing the information directly to a government office. If a query is actually the start of a sentence, fill in the missing elements of the sentence.

(We do not use any information from this form, including your email address, for any purpose other than generating the draft of your letter. All the data from your letter can be deleted when you are done by clicking the "Delete" button on the final page.)

Personal information

Your full name, as you want it to appear in the letter:

Your address, again as you want it to appear in the letter:

Your daytime phone number:

Agency information

What government office are you writing to?

Records sought

Here, clearly describe what you want. Include identifying material, such as names, places, and the period of time about which you are inquiring. If you think they will help to explain what you are looking for, include news clips, reports, and other documents describing the subject of your research when you mail your letter.

From   Virginia - Open Government Guide
    IV. RECORD CATEGORIES -- OPEN OR CLOSED
       A. Autopsy reports.
       B. Administrative enforcement records (e.g., worker safety and health inspections, or accident investigations)
       C. Bank records.
       D. Budgets.
       E. Business records, financial data, trade secrets.
       F. Contracts, proposals and bids.
       G. Collective bargaining records.
       H. Coroners reports.
       I. Economic development records.
       J. Election records.
       K. Gun permits.
       L. Hospital reports.
       M. Personnel records.
       N. Police records.
       O. Prison, parole and probation reports.
       P. Public utility records.
       Q. Real estate appraisals, negotiations.
       R. School and university records.
       S. Vital statistics.
    V. PROCEDURE FOR OBTAINING RECORDS
      A. How to start.
        3. Contents of a written request.
          a. Description of the records.

Fees

Explain here whether you expect a fee waiver or want to set a limit on what you will pay.

Create the letter