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How to Submit a Request

Submit a FOIA request

SBA does not require a special form to make a FOIA request. Requests for existing records must be in writing.

There are several ways to submit a request for SBA records.

PAL: To submit a request through PAL, please Register or Sign In.



Chief, Freedom of Information/Privacy Acts Office
U.S. Small Business Administration
409 Third St. SW, 8th floor
Washington, DC 20416



When making a proper FOIA request, we ask that you provide:

  • Your name
  • Your complete mailing address
  • Your personal email address
  • Your telephone number
  • A detailed description of the records you are seeking. If applicable, it is helpful if you provide the type of record, the time frame for search, the location or address of a business, associated loan numbers, and any other information pertinent to your request. Please note there is no obligation under the FOIA for federal agencies to create records or respond to questions.
  • The format in which you wish to receive the responsive records (if desired)
  • Your willingness to pay fees for the processing of the requested information and your desired requester fee category (required by SBA regulations)


Personal and third-party requests

In the case of third-party information requests, SBA regulations require a written statement from the first party, verifying his or her identity, and certifying that individual's agreement that records concerning them — including proprietary business information — may be accessed, analyzed and released to a third party requester. 

If you wish to be treated as a first-party requester, please provide this office with a signed release from the owner of the records you are seeking at the time of submission. The release should authorize the disclosure of personal information and proprietary business information. If we do not receive a first-party privacy waiver, you will be treated as a third-party requester.

We process all requests under, both, the FOIA and the Privacy Act to provide greater disclosure. If you are seeking records on yourself, you must provide either a notarized statement or a statement signed under penalty of perjury stating that you are the person you claim to be.

You may have your signature on the notarized request or pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1746 (2) include the following statement just before the signature line: “I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct. Executed on [date].” This is to ensure that private information is not improperly disclosed.

If you have any questions regarding submitting a FOIA request, please email


Reasons for non-disclosure

  • A reasonable search failed to locate responsive records.
  • Request is referred to the federal agency that possesses the responsive records.
  • Request is withdrawn by the requester.
  • Information requested is not a record within the meaning of the FOIA.
  • Access to the record is denied in whole or in part pursuant to nine FOIA exemptions and three exclusions.


Response time

The FOIA requires that agencies respond to requests within 20 working days excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays. This period begins once the correct SBA office is in receipt of the request and once any issues such as processing fees are resolved. We recommend that you Register and then submit a request through PAL.

SBA’s written acknowledgment of the request will provide contact information for you to check the status of a request. The FOIA provides the right to invoke a 10 working-day extension when responsive records are voluminous, require two or more offices to confer about the records, and/or are located off-site.

Please be aware that due to COVID-19, SBA’s response time to certain FOIA requests may be delayed. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your patience during this time.


Expedited processing

Under certain conditions, the FOIA allows a request to be processed on an expedited basis — within 10 calendar days from the date on which the request was received. You must demonstrate one of the following compelling needs:

  • Failure to obtain requested records on an expedited basis could pose a threat to the life or physical safety of an individual.

  • The requester is primarily engaged in disseminating the information and has an urgency to inform the public on an actual or alleged federal government activity.



SBA search and review processing fees range from $43 to $86 per hour. Duplication fees are 10 cents per page and computer searches are $100 per hour.

Please see 13 CFR 102.8 for more information regarding fees. 

Requester category

Do search fees apply?

Do review fees apply?

Do duplication fees apply?

Commercial use




Educational institution



Yes (first 100 pages, or equivalent volume, are free)

Non-commercial scientific institution



Yes (first 100 pages, or equivalent volume, are free)

Representative of the news media



Yes (first 100 pages, or equivalent volume, are free)

Other (general public)

Yes (first two hours are free)


Yes (first 100 pages, or equivalent volume, are free)


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