1. Find out as much as you can about the records you are seeking and the agency procedures before you make a formal written request. Most agencies will have a FOIA "officer" who will be the best source of information on FOIA request procedures, the costs of search and copying and the filing system of the agency. You can speak to that officer without specifying in advance the nature of your request, or look in the Federal Register or regulations at the public library for the agency's procedures. Following the agency's FOIA rules will speed up the response to your request.
2. Be as specific as possible when you make your request. Your request must "reasonably describe" the records you seek. Being specific will expedite the handling of your request. (You may use the form in Appendix II.)
3. You don't
have to give the agency any information about who you are or the reason
for your request, although you may wish to do so because your status will
determine how much the agency can charge you. Federal agencies charge non-media,
non-academic requestors search fees in addition to copying costs. If the
disclosure you seek is "primarily benefiting the public," the agency has
discretionary power to grant a waiver of search and copying costs.