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About Virginia's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Virginia's Freedom of Information act "ensures the people of the Commonwealth ready access to public records in the custody of a public body or its officers and employees, and free entry to meetings of public bodies wherein the business of the people is being conducted."  Here are your Rights and Responsibilities when requesting a FOIA.

Any Virginia resident can ask to see or get a copy of public records. (The most commonly requested documents are usually posted on our website for your convenience.) You can request the information in the following manners:
Be as Specific as Possible.  There is no formal required language, however, you should be as specific as possible so we can get the information you are looking for as accurately as possible. Please include a phone number and/or email address where we can contact you if we need to clarify your request.

City's Response.  After the city receives your request for records, the city has five (5) business days to respond to you, either by asking for more details about the request; filling the request; filling part of the request; denying the request; or letting you know that the city needs more time.

Common Exemptions.  If all or part of your request is denied, the city will state what parts of the Freedom of Information Act exempt that information from mandatory public release. Some common exemptions include personnel records, medical records and information that is part of active criminal investigations.

Potential Costs. Note that FOIA does not require governments to create records that do not currently exist. Governments can charge the cost of locating, reviewing and copying records, and can request a deposit if the cost is estimated to be more than $200.

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