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Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement. The exemptions commonly used at the U.S. Census bureau include but are not limited to:

  • Internal agency rules and practices
  • Information that is prohibited from disclosure by law
  • Trade secrets and other confidential business information
  • Inter-agency or intra-agency communications that are protected by legal privileges
  • Information involving matters of personal privacy

Privacy Act

The Privacy Act establishes a code of fair information practices that governs the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of information about individuals that is maintained in systems of records by federal agencies. The Privacy Act: 

  • Allows individuals to request access to their own personal records.
  • Allows individuals to seek correction or amendment of federally maintained records that are inaccurate, incomplete, untimely.
  • Prohibits the disclosure of a record about an individual from a system of records without the written consent of the individual. 

Navigate the tabs below to submit a Privacy Act Request, a FOIA Request, or explore the resources available.

Submit a Privacy Request
  • Search Available Records
  • Submit a FOIA Request
  • Submit a Privacy Request
  • FOIA by the Numbers
  • FOIA and Privacy Act Videos
Submit a Privacy Request

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

A Privacy Act request allows individuals to gain access to their own personal records (unless the requested records are exempted from disclosure), and to seek correction or amendment of federally maintained records that are inaccurate, incomplete or untimely. Privacy Act requests made to the Census Bureau allows individuals to gain access to records about "themselves" that are filed "in a system of records’’ that can only be retrieved by your name and at least one other personal identifier (Name, DOB, SSN, etc.).

You are required to provide some proof of identity before records will be disclosed. A completed and signed Certification of Identity form, BC-300 [PDF <1.0 MB] will meet this requirement.

Requestors can submit Privacy Act requests through FOIAonline.gov. By utilizing FOIAonline.gov, users can:

  • Track progress on all your requests submitted through FOIAonline.gov via a personal dashboard
  • Communicate directly with the agency at all points in the process
  • Have your contact information pre-populated in future requests
  • Receive notification when the status of your request has changed

Other ways that requestors can also submit Privacy Act requests are:  ​​​

  • E-Fax - (301)-763-4244​​
  • USPS Mail - U.S. Census Bureau
                          4600 Silver Hill Road
                          Washington D.C. 20233​​
                          ATTN: FOIA/PA Office

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