Freedom of Information & Privacy Acts

The Freedom of Information Act, also known as the FOIA, was enacted in 1966 and is the primary means by which the public has access to records in the possession of Executive Branch agencies of the Federal Government. The FOIA is operated under the premise that the public has a right to know what the Government is doing, how it is being done, and what information is being collected. However, to prevent individuals, businesses, and government from harm resulting from the release of certain information, the FOIA provides a means by which limited information can be withheld from disclosure.
The Privacy Act provides safeguards for the protection of records the Federal Government collects on United States citizens or lawfully admitted permanent residents. Under the Privacy Act of 1974, an individual United States citizen or Legal Permanent Resident may seek to access, correct, or amend records that are retrieved by name or other personal identifier such as one's social security number (SSN) contained in a systems-of-records. Such requests will be processed in accordance with applicable legal requirements and exemptions under the governing regulations (e.g., 28 CFR 16.40 and 28 CFR 16.77) and statutes such as FOIA and the Privacy Act (cf. 5 U.S.C. 552a(j)-(k)), as appropriate. Requests may be made in any written form that bears the requester's signature. Requests for information contained in a PA system-of-records must: (1) be accompanied by a consent form or verification of identity attesting that you are the record subject (or his/her legal guardian) or that you have the record subject's consent; (2) clearly identify the particular record(s) at issue; and (3) indicate the precise nature of any amendment, correction, or other action sought, and the reason or justification for such action. See Chapter 13 of COMDTINST M5260.3 for specific information on providing verification of identity and/or consent from individuals.


FOIA or PA requests must be submitted in writing using of the following below:

WASHINGTON DC 20593-7710
DHS Online Portal: Online Request Submission
For additional assistance, please see:
NOTICE: The Coast Guard strives to provide equal access to information and data to people with disabilities in accordance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Not all of the documents on this page are fully Section 508 compliant. If you have problems with any of the documents on this page and need assistance, please contact the FOIA Office at 202-475-3522.
Transparency and Open Government. Per the direction of White House Memorandum dated 21 January 2009, the U.S. Coast Guard will continue to operate our FOIA Program under a presumption of disclosure; however, FOIA exemptions still apply. We are awaiting further guidance from the Attorney General regarding provisions of Executive Order 13392, and will post new information as it becomes available.