We are committed to customer service. However Department regulations require that we examine all FOIA requests in order to see what fees are appropriate. If possible, the FWS will grant you a fee waiver. Your willingness to narrow the scope of your FOIA request; be as specific as possible about what you are seeking; and work with the bureau in either clarifying or reducing the scope of your request will help us help you. With your cooperation - in many instances - we will be able to either waive fees, grant a discretionary fee waiver or grant a partial or full statutory fee waiver.
A basic understanding of the fee process and your willingness to address fee issues up-front and work cooperatively with us will also allow us to process your request more readily. In order to assist you we have provided some basic information about fees below.
Basic information about Departmental fee requirements and the fee process:
- The Department requires that we examine every request to see if the fee issue has been addressed by the requester. The FOIA request is not considered a 'perfected request' until that issue has been addressed and resolved. This means that you must state your 'fee category' from one of the three categories (a) 'commercial use', (b) 'educational or noncommercial scientific institution or news media', or (c) 'other'.
- 'Commercial use' requesters may be charged for search time, review time and copy costs.
- 'Educational or noncommercial scientific institutions or news media' requesters may be charged for copy costs (after the entitlement of 100 free pages of copy costs).
- 'Other' requesters may be charged for search time and copy costs (after the entitlement of 2 hours free search and 100 free pages of copy costs).
- Search and review (time) costs are calculated by the quarter hour and are based on the time and salary of those doing the search and/or review. Search and review costs are based upon clerical salary (GS-6, Step 5), professional (GS-11, Step7), and managerial (GS-14, Step 2).
Copy costs are 13 cents per page. While there is no charge for scanning, the cost per diskette is $2.00.
- There are three types of fee waivers situations: (a) discretionary fee waivers (b) statutory fee waivers, and (c) below the threshold for charging fees.
- The bureau may grant you a discretionary fee waiver at its discretion. The decision is not appealable. See the Department's regulations at 43 CFR 2.
- Requesters must apply for and justify each new request for a statutory fee waiver.
Each statutory fee waiver is considered on a case-by-case basis. See the Department's regulations at 43 CFR 2. The statutory fee waiver is appealable.
- If fees are less than $30 dollars after any entitlement has been granted, it is considered below the threshold for charging fees - and we will waive such fees.
- The bureau may fully grant your request for a statutory fee waiver, partially grant your request for a statutory fee waiver, or totally deny your request for a statutory fee waiver. Any denial of a statutory fee waiver requires that we provide you appeal rights. In the interim we will process your request up to the amount of any entitlements which apply.
- We must provide you an estimate up-front of the costs of your request and seek your willingness (in writing) to pay those fees - unless you have been granted a fee waiver or have agreed up-front to pay all fees.
- We may seek payment up-front of fees if they exceed $250 dollars or if there has been a past history of delinquency related to payment. We may also deny your request for access to future information if we have not received payment of agreed upon fees.
- You must make any check for fees out to "Fish and Wildlife Service" and include either a social security number (SS#) or Tax Identification Number (TIN). This information is required for processing payment; is protected by the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a); and its collection is authorized under the Department's Privacy Act system: Federal Financial System, Interior, DOI-90.
Note: "Copy Fees" are 13 cents per page. "Search Fees" and "Review Fees" are identified below in quarterly hour increments. Check the requester's "Fee Category" first for appropriate charges.
Charges for CD's
- If the information already exists on CD or in an electronic format (and is simply being copied onto CD): Total cost is - actual amount the region paid for the CD.
- If converting paper to a CD, the following is allowable:
$0.13 per page duplication
+ cost of the CD
+ time spent operating the copy equipment (based on the salary and benefits, @ 16%).
= TOTAL COSTS.
Note: As a practical matter, the bureau will not charge "time spent operating the copy equipment" - unless there has been a significant amount of time spent doing so.
In accordance with the Department's FOIA regulations (43 CFR Part 2, Appendix C (1)), effective August 1, 2010, DOI's FOIA search and review fees will be increased as follows:
Category Average Grade
(43 CFR Part 2)
Charge per quarter hour or fraction thereof Clerical personnel
(All employees at GS-7 and below)
GS-6, Step 5 $6.00 Professional personnel
(All employees at GS-8 thru 12)
GS-11, Step 7 $10.50 Managerial personnel
(All employees at GS-13 and above)
GS-14, Step 2 $15.00
The above fees will be charged for FOIA requests received on or after August 1, 2010. If a FOIA request was received before August 1, 2010, the bureau will charge the requester according to the appropriate fee schedule (see the attached). These new fees will be posted to DOI's FOIA website and incorporated in an OCIO Bulletin. The url for the website will be http://www.doi.gov/foia/fees.html
Fees for previous years (pdf)
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FOIA - Fees