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    Does anybody know how long does a Service Center take to process FOIA requests?

    If I want a copy of my entire file where do I indicate that on the FORM G-639?

    Is it in number 4?

  • #2
    Does anybody know how long does a Service Center take to process FOIA requests?

    If I want a copy of my entire file where do I indicate that on the FORM G-639?

    Is it in number 4?


    • #3
      FOIR will sent you the "entire" file that they see fit for you to examine... The time to receive the file depends on the location where your file(s) are. If you had several moves, it shouldn't take more than 3-4 months. Any other case could be anywhere from 2 weeks to a month max!


      • #4
        V. Response Times

        Under the statute, all federal agencies are required to respond to a FOIA request within twenty business days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. This time period does not begin until the request is actually received by the FOIA office of the Department of Justice component that maintains the records sought. An agency is not required to send out the releasable documents by the last business day; it can send you a letter informing you of its decision and then send you the documents within a reasonable time afterward.

        Some components of the Justice Department, such as the FBI and DEA, receive thousands of requests each year. Many of these requests require a line-by-line review of hundreds or even thousands of pages of documents. Although the Justice Department makes every effort to respond to FOIA requests as quickly as possible, in some cases it simply cannot do so within the specified time period. This may be due either to the size of the request or to the fact that the component has a backlog of previously received requests that are awaiting processing. Some components use "multitrack" processing queues to deal with their heavy FOIA workloads; components' descriptions of their multitrack processing systems are contained in Attachment B.

        Under the FOIA, a component may extend the response time for an additional ten business days when: (1) the component needs to collect responsive records from field offices; (2) the request involves a "voluminous" amount of records that must be located, compiled, and reviewed; or (3) the component needs to consult with another agency or other components of the Justice Department that have a substantial interest in the responsive information. When such a time extension is needed, the component may notify you of this in writing and offer you the opportunity to modify or limit your request. Alternatively, you may agree to a different timetable for the processing of your request.

        When a determination on your request is not made within the applicable time period and you have not agreed to a different response timetable, you may file suit in federal court to pursue a response. If, however, the court concludes that you have unreasonably refused to limit your request or to accept an alternate timetable for response, the court may find that the component's failure to comply within the statutory time period is justified. The court may excuse the lack of a timely response if the component demonstrates that it has a backlog of requests that were received before yours, that it processes its requests on a first-come/first-served basis, and that it is making reasonable progress in reducing its backlog of pending FOIA requests. In such cases, the court may postpone its consideration of your lawsuit until the agency reaches your request in its processing backlog.

        VI. Expedited Processing

        Under certain conditions you may be entitled to have your request processed on an expedited basis. However, you should realize that whenever a FOIA request is expedited for a particular requester, taking that action results in an additional delay for previous requesters who have been waiting for a response. Therefore, in an effort to treat all requesters equitably, the Department of Justice ordinarily will process a FOIA request ahead of others only in cases in which there will be a threat to someone's life or physical safety, or where an individual will suffer the loss of substantial due process rights if the records are not processed on an expedited bases. In most cases, a request will not be expedited merely on the basis that the requester is facing a court deadline in a judicial proceeding. In both criminal prosecutions and civil litigation there is a document-disclosure process known as "discovery," which gives the parties certain rights to obtain relevant information apart from the FOIA. These discovery rights usually are sufficient to protect the requester's due process rights.

        The FOIA also requires that requests be processed on an expedited basis if made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information to the public and the information is urgently needed to inform the public concerning some actual or alleged government activity. Requests are not expedited under this provision merely on the basis that the requester is a representative of the news media. Similarly, the Justice Department also expedites requests when the subject is of widespread and exceptional media interest and the information sought involves possible questions about the government's integrity which affect public confidence. Expedited processing decisions on this latter basis are made by the Department's Office of Public Affairs.

        A request for expedited processing must be accompanied by a statement setting forth the reasons why your request should be expedited. You should certify that the reasons you have given are true and correct. The component will be required to notify you of its decision about whether to grant expedited processing within no more than ten calendar days after receiving your letter. If the component denies your request for expedited processing, you will be advised of your right to submit an administrative appeal of that denial, which will be handled expeditiously.

        here is the link.........


        • #5

          are you implying that USCIS can withhold information to alien if they so desire.. making it Freedom of Selective Information Act?


          • #6
            FOIA request can be submitted and get reply within 20 days but you can only get an answer that " we receive your FOIA request and we are working on it. IF your reoprt will be more then 200 pages then charges will be $25 ... blah blah..."

            Sometimes after a month or so you will receive another letter " We search the record and record exsists in xyz Place and we forwarded your request to XYZ place".. blah blah..

            Sometimes you will receive letter after waiting more then 6 months " We searched the record and record exsists but we are unable to locate it. if you want to appeal , you can do so by writing ******xx place ..blah blah blah....

            YEs USCIS can withhold the informationto alien, if they desire... I,ve seen many cases

            To figure out the time period, you can calculate yourself by the example I gave above.
            Its a discussion, not a legal advise..


            • #7
              FOIA requests do raise red flags don't they?

              Is it possible to do a FOIA request personally at Vermont Service Center so I can check my file there rather than wait forever to the copies?


              • #8
                Yep.. it looks like it could raise red flag or maybe a couple of EYEBROWS

                its too cold there, and theres snow!
                I dont know if thats possible to do that in person and if so how quick they would approve being that they would have to locate your file. Can you call Vermont Serv Center stay on hold all day to get wrong answer and come back to let us know, ok