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Welcome to the FBI's FOIA Website

Federal Bureau of Investigation Records Management Division Seal GraphicHere you will find one-stop shopping to request information that may be found in the FBI’s Central Records System. What kind of information?

  • Information about an organization, business, investigation, historical event, or incident.
  • Information about a third party.
  • Information about a deceased person.
  • Information about yourself.

Each of these requests uses a different form or process, all carefully described in our sections on FOIA Request Instructions and Privacy Act Instructions, accessible on the right hand menu.

Here you will also find one-stop browsing of the FBI’s FOIA Reading Room Index of our most frequently requested documents available for reading at FBI Headquarters in Washington, DC…and a separate index of our ever expanding Electronic Reading Room, where you can read our most popular documents from the comfort of your own computer. Here you will find everything you wanted to know about spies, gangsters, famous people, history, and unusual case from our files.

Want to do research at The FBI Reading Room? It is located at FBIHQ, 935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC; hours, 8:30 am to 2:30 pm. You are required to make appointments 48 hours in advance of arriving; please call 202-324-8057 to make your appointment.

A little bit about our operation—brought to you by the Record/Information/Dissemination Section (RIDS) of the FBI’s Records Management Division.

  • Mission : to effectively plan, develop, direct and manage responses to requests for access to FBI records and information. The requests and disclosure comply with the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts (Title 5, United States Code, Section 552 and 552a), Executive Order 12958, as amended, Presidential, Attorney General, and FBI policies and procedures, judicial decisions, and other Presidential and Congressional directives. In furtherance of this mission, RIDS efforts are directed to appropriately release information in an efficient and effective manner protecting legitimate law enforcement, foreign policy, and national security and defense interests and to remain forthcoming to the American public.
  • Staff: RIDS currently employs approximately 300 employees, most of whom are Legal Administrative Specialists. RIDS consists of 11 Units whose shared function is to intake, review, process, and release information in response to FOIA and Privacy Act requests.
  • Use of technology to expedite customer service: We’ve moved to paperless processing through our FOIPA Document Processing Systems (FDPS), compliant with the legal requirements under E-FOIA for the electronic processing of requests for documents classified at the “Secret” level or below. The FDPS allows the FBI to scan official FBI paper files, documents, and correspondence, and then process them electronically rather than by the traditional method of redacting information manually on paper. RIDS is using the system for all new FOIA and Privacy Act requests.
  • Maintenance of FOIA reading rooms: RIDS maintains the FBI Reading Room in FBIHQ. All Reading Room documents have been converted to CD ROMs, each CD holding some 16,000 pages of text and photos. These can be purchased on site for $15 per CD. RIDS also maintains the Electronic Reading Room located on this website.


Reading Room Index
Electronic Reading Room
FBI File Fact Sheet
FOIA Request Instructions
- FOIA Request Form
- Privacy Waiver and Certificate of Identity Form
Privacy Act Instructions
- Privacy Act Request Form
DOJ Reference Guide

Graphic Link to Get Acrobat Reader
All of these publications are in PDF (Portable Document Format). To view them you will need to have the Adobe Acrobat Reader plug-in installed on your computer. The Reader can be downloaded at no cost from Adobe's site on the World Wide Web.

If you have difficulty accessing any material on this site because of a disability, please contact us in writing or via telephone and we will work with you to make the information available.

Freedom of Information/Privacy Act Section