Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Is there a cost for obtaining federal records under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

By law, the USGS is authorized to charge Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) processing fees to requesters in order to recover the direct costs of search, review, and duplication of requested records. The fees depend on the requester category into which you fall.

If the total costs of supplying the requested information is less than 50 dollars, the USGS will waive any applicable FOIA processing fees. If the total costs will exceed 250 dollars, you may be required to pay the FOIA processing fees before we begin our record search. The USGS can charge search and review costs even if we do not locate records or if we withhold the records in their entirety.

When submitting a request, please include a statement indicating the amount that you are willing to pay for the processing of your request (e.g. I am willing to pay 75.00 dollars for processing my FOIA request). If our costs are going to exceed the amount you are willing to pay, we will notify you before proceeding with your request.

For additional information, see the site or send an email to