Filing an FOI Request


Filing a FOI request is a relatively simple task that often can be done via e-mail.    Here is a template to help you.

Here is a copy of a sample letter.

Agency Head (or Freedom of Information Act Officer)
Name of Agency
Address of Agency
City, State, Zip Code

Re: Illinois Freedom of Information Act Request

Dear ________:

Under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act, 5 ILCS 140, I am requesting an opportunity to inspect or obtain copies of public records that [Describe the records or information sought with enough detail for the public agency to respond.  Be as specific as your knowledge of the available records will allow. But it is more important to describe the information you are seeking.]

I understand that the Act permits a public body to charge a reasonable copying fee not to exceed the actual cost of reproduction and not including the costs of any search or review of the records.  5 ILCS 140/6.  [Option:] I am willing to pay fees for this request up to a maximum of $_____. If you estimate that the fees will exceed this limit, please inform me first. [Option:] However the law allows you to impose a waiver or reduction of fees when information is sought in the public interest, as is the case for this request. [Here, you can identify yourself as a representative of the news media if applicable and state that your request is related to news gathering purposes.  Include a specific explanation of why your request is in the public interest.]

I look forward to hearing from you in writing within five working days, as required by the Act 5 ILCS 140(3).  Thank you for considering and responding to this request.


City, State, Zip Code
[Optional:] Telephone number and e-mail

Courtesy of National Freedom of Information Coalition.

Another Example: IBA Counsel Don Craven provided this example of an initial request