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BUREAU OF ENGRAVING AND PRINTING
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FOIA

FOIA AND PRIVACY ACT PROGRAMS


Welcome to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s (BEP) Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552 and Privacy Act of 1974 (PA), 5 U.S.C. § 552a website. The FOIA enables anyone the right to request BEP records concerning its mission of designing and producing United States (U.S.) Federal Reserve notes trusted worldwide and other security items. The PA allows U.S. citizens and lawfully admitted aliens to access information about themselves, request an amendment or correction of those records, and request an account of disclosures of these records by the BEP. This website provides a wealth of information about BEP’s FOIA and PA Programs and how to obtain access to BEP records. 

 

It is BEP’s policy to make available to the public, upon written request, records or extracts thereof, in accordance with the FOIA and PA, and applicable regulations of the Department of the Treasury found at 31 C.F.R. Part 1Subpart A (FOIA) and Subpart C (PA).


The BEP does not produce coins - all U.S. coinage, coin-related products, medals, and silver and gold bullion coins, are minted by the United States Mint. To request records concerning U.S. coinage, please visit the U.S. Mint FOIA webpage. Additionally, the BEP does not use social security numbers, date of birth, or birth certificate ID numbers on U.S. Federal Reserve notes, or issue bank statements, financial statements, or payments on promissory notes. The BEP no longer produces Gold Certificates or Silver Certificates.


Before filing a FOIA or PA request, we encourage you to visit BEP’s website which contains a wealth of information concerning U.S. Federal Reserve notes as well as numismatic collector information. Additionally, you can find more records concerning BEP’s mission in BEP’s FOIA electronic reading room.


FOIA and PA requests and questions shall be addressed to:


Disclosure Officer

Bureau of Engraving and Printing

Office of the Chief Counsel

14th & C Streets, SW, Room 419A

Washington, D.C. 20228-0001

Phone number: (202) 874-2500

Fax number: (202) 874-2951

 

Every year, the BEP ceases all operations except essential services during the period between the Christmas and New Year’s Federal holidays, also known as the Annual Year-End Shutdown (YES).  The Office of the Chief Counsel will not be able to process FOIA/PA requests during the YES period. All FOIA/PA requests received during this time will be processed when operations resume.


We encourage you to browse this FOIA/PA website and visit the U.S. Department of the Treasury's FOIA website and the U.S. Department of Justice’s FOIA or FOIA.gov website for additional information.




HOW TO FILE A FOIA REQUEST

 

The FOIA and the Department of the Treasury’s regulations found at 31 C.F.R. § 1.1-1.7 enables an individual or organization to have access to BEP records, unless the records are protected by one of NINE (9) FOIA EXEMPTIONS OR THREE (3) EXCLUSIONS. Under the FOIA, the BEP is not required to answer questions that are posed as a FOIA request, to conduct research, analyze data, or to create records in order to respond to a request.

 

The Department of the Treasury FOIA Handbook provides instructions for the submittal of FOIA requests. Your FOIA request for BEP records must meet the following criteria before BEP can take action:

 

  1. Be in writing and signed;
  2. State that it is made pursuant to the FOIA;
  3. Contain a statement that enables the processing office to determine your fee category (i.e. commercial requesters, educational institutions, non-commercial scientific institutions, news media, or all other requesters). Please, see section below titled: WHAT IS MY FEE CATEGORY?;
  4. Describe the nature of the record(s) being sought in sufficient detail to enable personnel to locate the records. Include subject matter, location, dates or timeframes if possible. If the scope is too broad, you may incur large fees for search, review, and/or duplication;
  5. Provide an address where the determination letter may be sent;
  6. Contain a statement agreeing to pay fees for search, duplication, and/or review, if appropriate. If you will request a fee waiver, please, see section below titled: CAN I REQUEST A FEE WAIVER?;
  7. State whether you wish to inspect the records or have a copy made without first inspecting them; and
  8. State whether you desire expedited processing due to a compelling need, if appropriate. Please, see section below titled: CAN MY FOIA REQUEST BE PROCESSED FASTER?

 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A SAMPLE “FOIA REQUEST LETTER”


WHERE DO I FILE MY FOIA REQUEST?


1.  Department of the Treasury’s FOIA Online Portal. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS TREASURY’S FOIA ONLINE


2.  U.S. Government Central Website. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS FOIA.GOV


3.  Mail:


Disclosure Officer
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Office of the Chief Counsel
14th & C Streets, SW, Room 419A
Washington, D.C. 20228-0001


4.  Fax: (202) 874-2951


The BEP does not accept or respond to FOIA/PA requests by email.


Please remember to include your signature if you decide to file your request by mail or fax.




HOW TO FILE A PRIVACY ACT OF 1974 REQUEST

 

The Privacy Act of 1974 (PA), 5 U.S.C. § 552a and the Department of the Treasury’s regulations found at 31 C.F.R. § 1.20-1.36 allows U.S. citizens or aliens lawfully admitted to permanent U.S. residence status to request information about themselves, unless the records are protected by a PA EXEMPTION. In addition, the PA allows an individual to request an amendment or correction of those records, and request an account of disclosures of these records by the BEP. The BEP treats FOIA requests that seek information about an individual as PA requests.


The PA only applies to records which are contained in a 
BEP system of records and which are retrieved by an individual's name or other personal identifier. Requests for records or amendment of records on an individual made by a third party (someone other than the individual, such as an attorney or physician) must include a release signed by the individual whose records are being requested.


The Privacy Act of 1974 (PA), 5 U.S.C. § 552a and the Department of the Treasury’s regulations found at 31 C.F.R. § 1.20-1.36 allows U.S. citizens or aliens lawfully admitted to permanent U.S. residence status to request information about themselves, unless the records are protected by a PA EXEMPTION. In addition, the PA allows an individual to request an amendment or correction of those records, and request an account of disclosures of these records by the BEP. The BEP treats FOIA requests that seek information about an individual as PA requests.
The PA only applies to records which are contained in a BEP system of records and which are retrieved by an individual's name or other personal identifier. Requests for records or amendment of records on an individual made by a third party (someone other than the individual, such as an attorney or physician) must include a release signed by the individual whose records are being requested.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A SAMPLE “AUTHORIZATION TO RELEASE INFORMATION UNDER THE PRIVACY ACT LETTER”

 

For more information about how to file a PA request, CLICK HERE TO ACCESS DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY-PRIVACT ACT HANDBOOK.


Your PA request must:

 

1. Be in writing and signed by the person about whom the record is maintained or his/her duly authorized representative;

2. State that it is made pursuant to PA;

3. Describe the nature of the record(s) being sought in sufficient detail to enable personnel to locate the records. Include dates or timeframes if possible;

4. Provide the name of the system of records to which access is sought;

5. Provide an address where the determination letter may be sent; and

6. Include proof of identity that bears your signature (i.e. driver's license) or a signed and dated notarized statement swearing or affirming your identity and that you understand the penalties provided in 5 U.S.C. § 552a(i)(3) for requesting or obtaining access to records under false pretenses.



WHERE DO I FILE MY PA REQUEST?


1.  Department of the Treasury’s FOIA Online Portal. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS TREASURY’S FOIA ONLINE


2.  U.S. Government Central Website. CLICK HERE TO ACCESS FOIA.GOV


3.  Mail:


Disclosure Officer
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
Office of the Chief Counsel
14th & C Streets, SW, Room 419A
Washington, D.C. 20228-0001


4.  Fax: (202) 874-2951


The BEP does not accept or respond to FOIA/PA requests by email.


Please remember to include your signature if you decide to file your request by mail or fax.




WHAT FEES WILL BE CHARGED?


BEP will charge search, review, and duplication fees depending upon the requester category (i.e. commercial requester, educational institution, non-commercial scientific institution, news media, or all other requester). Fees are calculated in accordance with the procedures set forth by the Department of the Treasury’s regulations found at 31 C.F.R. § 1.7.

The following chart describes the services which are provided free of charge and the services which are chargeable for the different requester categories:


Requester Category Free Chargeable Fees
Commercial None. Search, review (even if records are not disclosed), and duplication.
Educational Institution Search, review, and 100 pages. Search if records are sought for commercial use, and duplication over 100 pages.
Non-Commercial Scientific Institution Search, review, and 100 pages. Duplication over 100 pages.
News Media Search, review, and 100 pages. Duplication over 100 pages.
All other requesters

For FOIA: 2 hours of search, review, 100 pages.

 

For PA: Search, review, and 100 pages.

For FOIA: Search after 2 hours and duplication over 100 pages.

 

For PA: Duplication over 100 pages.


For each quarter hour spent by personnel searching for requested records, including electronic searches that do not require new programming, the search fees shall be as follows: executive—$21; professional—$16.50; and administrative—$13.00. Review fees will be charged separately at the same rate.


The BEP charges $0.15 per page for standard duplication services, such as making photocopies. Fees for special duplication services, such as those involving photographs or requiring that materials be sent to a private contractor for copying, are based on the actual cost of duplication.


If BEP fails to comply with the FOIA’s time limit in which to respond to a FOIA request, it may not charge search fees, or, in the instances of requests from educational institutions, noncommercial scientific institutions, or representatives of the news media it may not charge duplication fees. The BEP does not charge a fee if the total cost of processing a FOIA request is $25.00 or less. Requesters have the option of deciding how much they are willing to pay for requested information, but it should not be less than $25.00.




CAN I REQUEST A FEE WAIVER?


A fee waiver will only be granted if the disclosure of the information is in the public interest because: 1) furnishing the information is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations or activities of the government; and 2) is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester.


Requests for fee waivers must be submitted in writing and are not automatically granted as they are decided on a case-by-case basis. A requester's status as a non-profit organization or representative of the news media will not automatically qualify the requester for a fee waiver without a showing that the waiver is in the public interest. A requester is not eligible for a fee waiver solely because of indigence.


In deciding whether the public interest standard is satisfied, the BEP will consider the following factors:


1. Disclosure of the requested information would shed light on the operations or activities of the government. The subject of the request must concern identifiable operations or activities of the federal government with a connection that is direct and clear, not remote or attenuated.


2. Disclosure of the requested information would be likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of those operations or activities. This factor is satisfied when the following criteria are met:


A. Disclosure of the requested records must be meaningfully informative about government operations or activities. The disclosure of information that is already in the public domain, in either the same or a substantially identical form, would not be meaningfully informative if nothing new would be added to the public's understanding.

B. The disclosure must contribute to the understanding of a reasonably broad audience of persons interested in the subject, as opposed to the individual understanding of the requester. A requester's expertise in the subject area as well as the requester's ability and intention to effectively convey information to the public must be considered. BEP will presume that a representative of the news media will satisfy this consideration.


3. The disclosure must not be primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. To determine whether disclosure of the requested information is primarily in the commercial interest of the requester, BEP will consider the following criteria:

A. Whether the requester has any commercial interest that would be furthered by the requested disclosure. A commercial interest includes any commercial, trade, or profit interest. BEP will give an opportunity to the requester to provide explanatory information regarding this consideration.

B. If there is an identified commercial interest, the BEP will determine whether that is the primary interest furthered by the request.


The BEP will notify in writing of the decision to grant or deny the fee waiver.




WHAT IS MY FEE CATEGORY?


Fees to be charged under the FOIA/PA will vary depending upon the requester category.


Commercial Use. Refers to requests from or on behalf of one who seeks information for a use or purpose of furthering the commercial, trade, or profit interests of the requester, which can include furthering those interests through litigation. 


Educational Institution. Refers to a preschool, a public or private elementary or secondary school, an institution of graduate higher education, an institution of undergraduate higher education, an institution of professional education, and an institution of vocational education, which operates a program or programs of scholarly research. A requester in this category must show that the request is made in connection with the requester's role at the educational institution. Components may seek assurance from the requester that the request is in furtherance of scholarly research and will advise requesters of their placement in this category.


Non-Commercial Scientific Institution. Refers to an institution that is not operated on a “commercial” basis, and that is operated solely for the purpose of conducting scientific research, the results of which are not intended to promote any particular product or industry. A requester in this category must show that the request is authorized by and is made under the auspices of a qualifying institution and that the records are sought to further scientific research and not for a commercial use.


Representatives of the News Media/Freelancers. Refers to any person or entity that actively gathers information of potential interest to a segment of the public, uses its editorial skills to turn the raw materials into a distinct work, and distributes that work to an audience. The term “news” means information that is about current events or that would be of current interest to the public. Examples of news media entities include television or radio stations broadcasting news to the public at large and publishers of periodicals that disseminate “news” and make their products available through a variety of means to the general public. A request for records that supports the news-dissemination function of the requester shall not be considered to be for a commercial use. “Freelance” journalists who demonstrate a solid basis for expecting publication through a news media entity shall be considered as a representative of the news media. A publishing contract would provide the clearest evidence that publication is expected; however, components shall also consider a requester's past publication record in making this determination.


All other requesters. Refers to requesters not falling into any of the categories mentioned above.




HOW LONG WILL BEP TAKE TO PROCESS MY REQUEST?

Under the FOIA and Department of the Treasury’s regulations found at 31 C.F.R. § 1.4 the BEP is required to respond to a perfected request within 20 working days of receipt-excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. For a PA request, the BEP has up to 30 working days after receipt of a perfected request to complete processing the request as set forth in the Department of the Treasury’s regulations found at 31 C.F.R. § 1.26(g).

A request that does not comply with the requirements necessary to complete processing is regarded as 'unperfected'. An unperfected request is not considered as having been received for purposes of the 20 or 30-day time limitation, until all the missing part(s) of the request have been provided to the Disclosure Officer. If you submit an unperfected request, you will be contacted and asked to correct the deficiency so that the BEP may complete processing your request.

The BEP will make every effort to respond to a request as promptly as possible. In some cases, however, the BEP may be unable to process your request within the 20 or 30 working-day time limitation. In such situations, the BEP will contact you directly to request an extension of 10 working days-exclusive of Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays- or to arrange for an alternative time frame for processing your request.

The Disclosure Officer may also determine that unusual circumstances justify an administrative extension of the 20 or 30-day time limit. Unusual circumstances include, but are not limited to the need to:

 

  • Search for and collect the requested records from facilities that are separate from the office processing the request;
  • Search for, collect, and review a large volume of separate and distinct records in response to a single request; or
  • Consult with another agency or bureau having a substantial interest in the potential release of the information being requested.


If unusual circumstances justify an extension, you will be provided written notice of the reasons for an extension and the expected date of a response.


Every year, the BEP ceases all operations except essential services during the period between the Christmas and New Year’s Federal holidays, also known as the Annual Year-End Shutdown (YES). The Office of the Chief Counsel will not be able to process FOIA/PA requests during the YES period. All FOIA/PA requests received during this time will be processed when operations resume.




CAN MY FOIA REQUEST OR APPEAL BE PROCESSED FASTER?


In certain situations, a requester may ask that her/his request or appeal be processed on an expedited basis. According to the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(6)(E) and the Department of the Treasury’s regulations found at 31 C.F.R. § 1.4(e) the BEP will render a determination of whether to grant or deny a request for expedited processing within 10 calendar days after receipt of a perfected request. 


Requests and appeals will be processed on an expedited basis only upon request and when it is determined that they involve:


1. Circumstances in which the lack of expedited processing could reasonably be expected to pose an imminent threat to the life or physical safety of an individual;


2. An urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged Federal government activity, if made by a person who is primarily engaged in disseminating information. The standard of “urgency to inform” requires that the records requested pertain to a matter of current exigency to the public and that delaying a response to a request for records would compromise a significant recognized interest to and throughout the general public; or


3. The loss of substantial due process rights.

Demonstration of a compelling need must be made through a certified statement in which the person making the request declares under penalty of perjury that the statement is true and correct to the best of his/her knowledge and belief. The statement must be in the form prescribed by 28 U.S.C. § 1746, “I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and belief. Executed on [date].” As a matter of administrative discretion, the BEP may waive the formal certification requirement.


For a request for expedited processing, both the envelope and the request itself must be clearly marked, "Expedited Processing Request."




CAN I APPEAL THE RESPONSE TO MY REQUEST?


You may administratively appeal an initial FOIA/PA determination to the Director of the BEP in any of the following circumstances:


  • Access to the records you requested has been denied in whole or in part;
  • The request does not reasonably describe the records sought;
  • The information requested is not a record subject to the FOIA
  • The requested record does not exist, cannot be located, or has been destroyed;
  • The requested records is not readily reproducible in the form or format sought by the requester;
  • An adverse determination has been made as to the fee category or waiver applicable to your request; or
  • A request for expedited processing has been denied.


Your administrative appeal must be filed within 90 calendar days of receipt of the relevant determination. However, an appeal of a denial for expedited processing must be filed within 10 calendar days of the denial. The BEP will render a decision on an administrative appeal in writing within 20 business days after receipt of the appeal.

The appeal letter should be detailed and explain the basis for disagreement. Please, include any identifying number(s) assigned to your request, a copy of your request(s), a copy of the BEP response letter(s), and any other correspondence associated with your request. Both the letter and envelope should be clearly marked “Freedom of Information Act Appeal” or “Privacy Act Appeal” as appropriate.

FOIA/PA appeals must be made in writing, signed, and mailed to the following:

Director
FOIA/PA APPEAL
Bureau of Engraving and Printing
14th & C Streets, SW
Washington, D.C. 20228




FOIA ELECTRONIC READING ROOM AND FREQUENTLY REQUESTED RECORDS


The FOIA, 5 U.S.C.  § 552(a)(2) and Department of the Treasury’s regulations found at 31 C.F.R. § 1.1 requires each agency to provide a place where the public may inspect and copy or have copied the material such as:


1. Final opinions, including concurring and dissenting opinions and orders made in the adjudication of cases, as defined in 5 U.S.C. § 551, that may be cited, used, or relied upon as precedents in future adjudications.


2. Statements of policy and interpretations that have been adopted by BEP and are not published in the Federal Register. This qualification is generally met when action is taken by the head of an agency or a responsible official who has been empowered by the agency to make an authoritative issuance.


3. Administrative staff manuals and instructions, or portions thereof, which establish BEP’s policy that affect a member of the public.


4. Records that have been located and processed in response to a FOIA request that have become or are likely to become the subject of subsequent requests for substantially the same records, regardless of form or format. These are often referred to as "frequently requested" records.


5. A general index of the records referred to under (4) above.

CLICK HERE TO ACCESS BEP'S ELECTRONIC READING ROOM

When BEP receives three or more requests for the same records, it makes available for public inspection in an electronic format, any records released in response to those requests in BEP’s ELECTRONIC READING ROOM.




ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
 
For more information about BEP’s FOIA/PA policy, BEP CIRCULAR NO. 50-00.8, PROCESSING REQUESTS UNDER THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION AND PRIVACY ACTS, DATED DECEMBER 16, 2015 [PDF]
 
For more information about how to file a FOIA request, CLICK HERE TO ACCESS DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY-FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT HANDBOOK
 
For more information about how to file a PA request, CLICK HERE TO ACCESS DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY-PRIVACT ACT HANDBOOK
 
DOJ Guide to the Freedom of Information Act (2013), CLICK HERE
 
FOIA Improvement Act of 2016, CLICK HERE


DOJ Overview of the Privacy Act of 1974, (2012), CLICK HERE
 
Attorney General FOIA Memorandum (March 19, 2009), CLICK HERE
 
White House Memorandum on the Freedom of Information Act, CLICK HERE 
 
White House Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government, CLICK HERE
 
OMB Fee Guidelines, CLICK HERE 




PRIVACY ACT OF 1974 STATEMENT


Collection of the information to process your FOIA/PA request is authorized by 5 U.S.C. § 301 and Department of the Treasury’s regulations found at 31 C.F.R. Part 1. The information you provide is used by BEP to administratively control and/or process requests for Federal agency records. Specific details as to the routine uses for this system are available under Privacy Act Systems of Records Notice Treasury.004, Freedom of Information Act/Privacy Act Request Records--Treasury, 81 FR 78266 (Nov. 7, 2016).