U.S. Department of Commerce

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) Office

Will I be charged a fee for processing a FOIA request?

A fee is not charged if the charges for processing the request are less than or equal to the cost of routine collection and processing of the fee. Therefore, if the total of charges due for processing a request is $25 or less, no fee will be charged. If the estimated fee for search or duplication charges exceed $25 the requester shall be notified, unless the requester has stated in the FOIA request an amount sufficient to cover the estimated fees. The following is a chart of the four specific categories and chargeable fees:

Category Chargeable Service
Commercial Use Requesters Search, Review and Duplication
Educational and Non-commercial Scientific Institutions Requesters Duplication (excluding the cost of the first 100 pages)
Representatives of the News Media Duplication (excluding the cost of the first 100 pages)
All Other Requesters Search and Duplication (excluding the cost of the first 2 hours of search and 100 pages)

The Census Bureau, under 15 C.F.R. 4.11(c)(1) and (c)(2), applies the following fee schedule:

Service Rate
(i) Manual Search Actual salary rate of employee involved, plus 16 percent of salary rate.
(ii) Computerized search Actual direct cost, including operator time.
(iii) Duplication of records:
(A) Paper copy reproduction
$.16 per page
(iii) Duplication of records:
(B) Other reproduction
(e.g., computer disk or printout, microfilm, microfiche, or microform).
Actual direct cost, including operator time.
(iii) Duplication of records:
(C) Review of records (including redaction)
Actual salary rate of employee conducting review, plus 16 percent of salary rate.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Office of Analysis and Executive Support (Policy Office) | 1-301-763-6440 | Last Revised: April 24, 2013