The Virginia Freedom of Information Act allows any citizen, except incarcerated felons, to access public records within Virginia. These public records include all documents in any form that are owned or prepared by the government. This is a template form for requesting public records in Virginia.
Name of State Act:
Freedom of Information Act
Certain criminal investigations and police reports, tax returns, medical records, personal information, real estate, attorney-client communications, working papers
5 Business Days
Incarcerated felons cannot make requests
We have curated some of the most commonly asked questions for you.
What are "public records"?
Public records" are basically anything the government uses to transact public business. Whether written on a computer screen or chiseled onto a rock, if it's about public business, it's a public record.
Can I make a FOIA request for a deed of trust held by the clerk's office?
Yes, if you are at the courthouse asking for a paper copy of the land record. Only land records on the clerks' secure remote access subscription services are outside the scope of FOIA.
How do I know which records to ask for?
Citizens are not expected to know what every government records is called -- either the name, the number or the function. FOIA requires only that a request for records be reasonably specific, but sometimes records custodians genuinely don't understand what is being asked for. The Library of Virginia has a records retention schedule for local and state governments. It describes the types of records the government might hold, and it tells the government how long it must hold on to the record before it can be disposed. The records retention schedules are thus an excellent resource for requesters trying to determine exactly which records they need to ask for. Click here for the schedule of state records, and click here for the schedule of local records.
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OpenRecord keeps track of important news so you don't have to.
July 21, 2016
The NJ Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case which may transform the availability of public informationRead News
August 9, 2016
The FOIA Improvement Act pushed agencies to improve their transparency but how can your government meet 21st century standards?Read News
July 6, 2016
In his last few months in office, President Obama goes back to one of his earliest promises - FOIA reform.Read News
June 20, 2016
A record number of FOIA lawsuits were filed in 2015, reflecting a recent trend of increasing numbers of FOIA lawsuits.Read News