31 CFR § 1.6 - Administrative appeals.
(a) Requirements for making an appeal. Before seeking review by a court of a component's adverse determination, a requester generally must first submit a timely administrative appeal. A requester may appeal any adverse determinations denying his or her request to the official specified in the appropriate appendix to this subpart. Examples of adverse determinations are provided in § 1.4(h) of this subpart. The requester must make the appeal in writing and to be considered timely it must be postmarked, or in the case of electronic submissions, transmitted, within 90 calendar days after the date of the component's final response. The appeal letter should clearly identify the component's determination that is being appealed and the assigned request number. The requester should mark both the appeal letter and envelope, or subject line of the electronic transmission, “Freedom of Information Act Appeal.”
(b) Adjudication of appeals.
(1) The FOIA appeal official or designee specified in the appropriate appendix will act on all appeals under this section.
(2) An appeal ordinarily will not be adjudicated if the request becomes a matter of FOIA litigation.
(3) On receipt of any appeal involving classified information, the FOIA appeal official or designee must take appropriate action to ensure compliance with applicable classification rules.
(c) Decision on appeals. A decision on an appeal must be made in writing by the component within 20 business days after receipt of the appeal. A decision that upholds a component's determination must contain a statement that identifies the reasons for the affirmance, including any FOIA exemptions applied. The decision must provide the requester with notification of the statutory right to file a lawsuit and will inform the requester of the mediation services offered by the Office of Government Information Services of the National Archives and Records Administration as a non-exclusive alternative to litigation. If a component's decision is remanded or modified on appeal the requester will be notified of that determination in writing. The component will then further process the request in accordance with that appeal determination and respond directly to the requester. Appeals that have not been postmarked or transmitted within the specified time frame will be considered untimely and will be administratively closed with written notice to the requester.
(d) Engaging in dispute resolution services provided by Office of Government Information Services (OGIS). Mediation is a voluntary process. If a component agrees to participate in the mediation services provided by OGIS, it will actively engage as a partner to the process in an attempt to resolve the dispute.