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Freedom of Information Act Office | National Institutes of Health (NIH)

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Freedom of Information Act Office


Notice to FOIA Requesters

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NIH FOIA program will be teleworking full time to balance the need of completing its mission-critical work while also adhering to the recommended social distancing for the safety of our staff. Please submit all requests through our online portal rather than mail, fax, or courier, to ensure timely logging of your request. We are exercising maximum telework flexibility per OMB guidance. Therefore, requests submitted by mail or fax will not be processed until staff physically returns to the office.  If you need to submit a payment, to ensure that it can be processed in a timely manner, please use the link found here.

Pre-Disclosure Notifications: In compliance with Executive Order 12600, NIH notifies submitters of records requested under FOIA for the submitters’ identification of portions containing confidential commercial information during our FOIA review process. Submitters, — including hospitals, research institutions, and other medical professionals, and companies, — remain severely affected by the pandemic, and require additional time to respond to our Pre-Disclosure Notifications. NIH subject matter experts, who review and confirm submitters’ redactions, may also need additional time for review during the pandemic. In these circumstances, requesters may experience unexpected delays as we process FOIA requests for records.


The NIH FOIA office generally handles three different categories of requests:

  • requests for information maintained by the Office of the Director, NIH
  • requests that involve trans NIH issues or initiatives unless a specific IC has responsibility
  • requests for information that will not be released because it is protected by one or more of the FOIA's nine exemptions or three exclusions

While all requests may be sent to the NIH FOIA Office, each of NIH's separate Institutes and Centers has its own FOIA Coordinator. Requesters should direct requests for information about a specific NIH component to that component. A list of the FOIA Coordinators for each component is available at this site for your convenience.


The Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”), 5 U.S.C. 552, provides individuals with a right to access to records in the possession of the federal government. The government may withhold information pursuant to the nine exemptions and three exclusions contained in the Act.

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