A CITIZEN'S GUIDE ON USING THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT
AND THE PRIVACY ACT OF 1974 TO REQUEST GOVERNMENT RECORDS
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VII. F. REQUIREMENTS FOR AGENCY RESPONSES
Unlike the FOIA, there is no fixed time when an agency must respond to a request for access to records under the Privacy Act. It is good practice for an agency to acknowledge receipt of a Privacy Act request within 10 days and to provide the requested records within 30 days.
At many agencies, FOIA and Privacy Act requests are processed by the same personnel. When there is a backlog of requests, it takes longer to receive a response. As a practical matter, there is little that a requester can do when an agency response is delayed. Requesters should be patient.
Agencies generally process requests in the order in which they were received. Some agencies will expedite the processing of urgent requests. Anyone with a pressing need for records should consult with the agency Privacy Act/FOIA officer about how to ask for expedited treatment of requests.