36 CFR 1600.4 - Timing of responses to requests.
(a) In general. The Foundation ordinarily shall respond to requests according to their order of receipt.
(b) Multitrack processing.
(1) The Foundation may use two or more processing tracks by distinguishing between simple and more complex requests based on the amount of work and/or time needed to process the request. The anticipated number of pages involved may be considered by the Foundation in establishing processing tracks. If the Foundation sets a page limit for its faster track, it will advise those whose request is placed in its slower track(s) of the page limits of its faster track(s).
(2) If the Foundation uses multitrack processing, it may provide requesters in its slower track(s) with an opportunity to limit the scope of their requests in order to qualify for faster processing within the specified limits of its faster track(s).
(c) Unusual circumstances.
(1) Where the statutory time limits for processing a request cannot be met because of “unusual circumstances,” as defined in the FOIA, and the Foundation decides to extend the time limits on that basis, the Foundation shall as soon as practicable notify the requester in writing of the unusual circumstances and of the date by which processing of the request can be expected to be completed. Where the extension is for more than 10 working days, the Foundation shall provide the requester with an opportunity either to modify the request so that it may be processed within the time limits or to arrange an alternative time period for processing the request or a modified request.
(2) Where the Foundation reasonably believes that multiple requests submitted by a requester, or by a group of requesters acting in concert, constitute a single request that would otherwise involve unusual circumstances, and the requests involve clearly related matters, they may be aggregated. Multiple requests involving unrelated matters will not be aggregated.
(d) Expedited processing.
(1) Requests and appeals will be taken out of order and given expedited treatment whenever it is determined that they involve:
(i) Circumstances in which the lack of expedited treatment could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual; or
(ii) An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged federal government activity, if made by a person primarily engaged in disseminating information;
(2) You may ask for expedited processing of a request for records at any time.
(3) In order to request expedited processing, you must submit a statement, certified to be true and correct to the best of your knowledge and belief, explaining in detail the basis for requesting expedited processing. For example, if you are a requester within the category in paragraph (d)(1)(ii) of this section, and you are not a full-time member of the news media, you must establish that you are a person whose main professional activity or occupation is information dissemination, though it need not be your sole occupation; you also must establish a particular urgency to inform the public about the government activity involved in the request, beyond the public's right to know about government activity generally. The formality of certification may be waived as a matter of administrative discretion.
(4) Within 10 calendar days of receipt of a request for expedited processing, the Foundation will decide whether to grant it and will notify you of the decision. If a request for expedited treatment is granted, the request will be given priority and processed as soon as practicable. If a request for expedited processing is denied, any appeal of that decision will be acted on expeditiously.