14 CFR 1206.505 - Advance payments.
(a) For requests other than those described in paragraphs (b), (c), and (f) of this section, a FOIA office shall not require the requester to make an advance payment before work is commenced or continued on a request. Payment owed for work already completed (i.e., payment for search, review and/or before records are released to a requester) is not an advance payment.
(b) When a FOIA office determines or estimates that a total fee to be charged under this section will exceed $250.00, it may require that the requester make an advance payment up to the amount of the entire anticipated fee before beginning to process the request. A FOIA office may elect to process the request prior to collecting fees when it receives a satisfactory assurance of full payment from a requester.
(c) Where a requester has previously failed to pay a properly charged FOIA fee assessed by any FOIA office in the agency within 30 calendar days of the billing date, a FOIA office may require the requester to pay the full amount due, plus any applicable interest due on the outstanding debt, before the FOIA office begins to process a new request or continues to process a pending request or any pending remand of an appeal. Once the outstanding bill has been paid, the FOIA office may also require the requester to make an advance payment of the full amount of any anticipated fee before processing the new request.
(d) Where a FOIA office has a reasonable basis to believe that a requester has misrepresented his or her identity in order to avoid paying outstanding fees, it may require that the requester provide further proof of identity.
(e) In cases in which a FOIA office requires advance payment, the request shall be placed on hold and further work will not be completed until the required payment is received. If the requester does not pay the advance payment within 20 working days after the date of the FOIA office's letter, the request will be closed without further notification.
(f) When advance payment is required in order to initiate processing, after a fee estimate has been determined, the FOIA office will require payment before continuing to process the request.
(g) The fee schedule of this section does not apply to fees charged under any statute that specifically requires an agency to set and collect fees for particular types of records. In instances where records responsive to a request are subject to a statutorily-based fee schedule program, the FOIA office will inform the requester of the contact information for that source.