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Freedom of Information Law Requests (FOIL)

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Overview

The Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”), Article 6 (Sections 84-90) of the NYS Public Officers Law, provides the public right to access records maintained by government agencies with certain exceptions.

“Record” means any information kept, held, filed, produced or reproduced by, with, or for this agency, in any physical form whatsoever including, but not limited to, reports, statements, examinations, memoranda, opinions, folders, files, books, manuals, pamphlets, forms, papers, designs, drawings, maps, photos, letters, microfilms, computer tapes or disks, rules, regulations or codes.

Learn more about records access and Open FOIL NY.

Request Records

Use the Open FOIL NY online form

Mail a written request to:

Records Access Officer
New York State Department of State
One Commerce Plaza
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY  12231

E-mail a written request to: Cherise.Watson@dos.ny.gov

Fax a written request to: (518) 474-4597

Submit a request for records in person:

Our offices are located at One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12231, 11th Floor. Suite 1100. Upon entering the main entrance door to Suite 1100, use the phone next to the interior door inform staff that you would like to request records. Staff will contact the Records Access Office, and a staff member will provide assistance.  Please be advised records require review prior to disclosure. As a result, documents and records will not be immediately available.

FOIL Process

Within five business days of the receipt of a written request for a record reasonably described, we will send you a letter either: making such record available; denying such request in writing; or furnishing a written acknowledgment of the receipt of such request. If you have not received a letter within five business days, please contact us at (518) 486-9846 or Cherise.Watson@dos.ny.gov.

An acknowledgment letter will provide you with an estimate of when the records you request will be available, which shall be reasonable under the circumstances of the request. This date is determined by the number of documents you request, their format, their availability, the time it takes to redact any information that cannot be disclosed pursuant to FOIL, the time it takes to assemble the documents, and other factors.

If the records you request require a fee to be paid, you will be notified prior to the records being released to you. Unless a different fee is otherwise prescribed by statute, Public Officers Law §87(1) authorizes an agency to charge a fee of 50¢ per copy for copies of records up 9”x 14”, or the actual cost of reproducing a record. In determining the actual cost of producing a record, an agency may include only:

Once the requested records are prepared, you may receive the records via email, fax, paper, CD/DVD, or USB. 

Records are available for inspection, by appointment, on business days between the hours 9 a.m. through 12 noon and 1 p.m. through 4 p.m at either (depending on specific record location):

(1): One Commerce Plaza, 99 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12231; or
(2): 123 William Street, New York, NY 10038

You may schedule an appointment for in-person inspection of records by calling (518) 486-9844.

Right to Appeal

Under provisions of the Public Officers Law you may appeal a FOIL determination.  If you desire to submit such an appeal, you must do so within 30 days of the written response to your FOIL request. Please include a copy of the original request for records and a copy of the FOIL response letter you received along with your appeal letter to: 

Joseph Ball
Records Appeal Officer
NYS Department of State
One Commerce Plaza 11th Floor, Suite 1120
99 Washington Avenue
Albany, New York 12231-0001

You will be informed in writing of the decision within ten business days of our receipt of such an appeal.  Please indicate the FOIL Request Number when corresponding on this subject.

Subject Matter List

The following is a current list of records, by subject matter, that are maintained by this agency.  Some of the listed records may be exempt from disclosure pursuant to the Freedom of Information Law.

Records Subject Matter List

DOS FOIL Regulations

FOIL Regulations for DOS

Helpful Tips

For more information about FOIL, please visit the New York State Committee on Open Government’s website.
When submitting a FOIL request: