Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)

Arlington will soon start using a new FOIA processing software. This new system will replace our existing request form and response publishing.

The Virginia FOIA (VFOIA) is the state law governing access by citizens of Virginia and representatives of the media to public records and meetings of public bodies.  Arlington County complies with all VFOIA requirements and maintains our own Administrative Regulations.  Providing for transparency and accountability in government operations by ensuring open access to government records is not only a legal obligation – it is central to the business of government and one of Arlington County’s core values.

Existing Publicly Available Data

Arlington County is committed to upholding the highest standard for transparency across all operations.  As a result, the information or records being sought may already be available online without submitting a request. It is recommended that requestors utilize the search function on the County webpage as a first step. Additionally, the following links can be utilized to access existing information.

Your FOIA Rights

  1. To request to inspect and/or receive copies of public records, unless otherwise exempted under VFOIA;
  2. To request that any charges for the requested letters be estimated in advance; and
  3. To file a petition in District or Circuit Court to compel compliance if you believe that your FOIA rights have been violated

Arlington’s FOIA Responsibilities

  1. To provide one of the following responses:
    1. Provide the records requested in their entirety and post the records online.
    2. Withhold all of the records requested, because they are subject to a specific statutory exemption (see below for information regarding exemptions). If records are withheld, you will receive a written explanation identifying the volume and subject matter of the records withheld and the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows the exemption.
    3. Provide and post online some of the records requested, but withhold others. An entire record will not be withheld if only a portion is subject to exemption. You will receive a written response stating the specific section of the Code of Virginia that allows exemption of a portion of the records.
    4. Respond in writing that the requested records cannot be found or do not exist. However, if another public body has the requested records, contact information will be included in the response.
  2. To respond within five (5) working days of receiving the request. If we cannot respond to a request within the five day period, an extension of seven (7) additional working days, for a total of twelve (12) working days, is allowed.  The requestor will be informed in writing should an extension be necessary.
  3. To only charge for the actual and reasonable costs of responding to a FOIA request

Submit a FOIA Request