22 CFR § 503.4 - Time limits.

§ 503.4 Time limits.

(a) General. The FOIA sets certain time limits for us to decide whether to disclose the records you requested, and to decide appeals. If we fail to meet the deadlines, you may proceed as if we had denied your request or your appeal. Since requests may be misaddressed or misrouted, you should call or write to confirm that we have the request and to learn its status if you have not heard from us in a reasonable time.

(b) Time allowed.

(1) We will decide whether to release records within 20 working days after your request reaches the appropriate area office that maintains the records you are requesting. When we decide to release records, we will actually provide the records at that time, or as soon as possible after that decision, or let you inspect them as soon as possible thereafter.

(2) We will decide an appeal within 20 working days after the appeal reaches the appropriate reviewing official.


(i) The FOIA Officer or appeal official may extend the time limits in unusual circumstances for initial requests or appeals, up to 10 working days. We will notify you in writing of any extensions. “Unusual circumstances” include situations where we: Search for and collect records from field facilities, records centers or locations other than the office processing the records; search for, collect, or examine a great many records in response to a single request; consult with another office or department that has substantial interest in the determination of the request; and/or conduct negotiations with submitters and requesters of information to determine the nature and extent of non-disclosable proprietary materials.

(ii) If an extra ten days still does not provide sufficient time for the Agency to deal with your request, we will inform you that the request cannot be processed within the statutory time limit and provide you with the opportunity to limit the scope of your request and/or arrange with us a negotiated deadline for processing your request.

(iii) If you refuse to reasonably limit the scope of your request or refuse to agree upon a time frame, the Agency will process your case, as it would have, had no modification been sought. We will make a diligent, good faith effort to complete our review within the statutory time frame.

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