The National Finance Center can charge fees for processing FOIA requests. Therefore, specify the fee category in which you feel your request falls and the amount you are willing to pay. The FOIA divides requesters into four categories:
- Commercial requesters, who may be charged fees for searching for documents, reviewing the documents, and duplication.
- Educational or noncommercial scientific institutions, which may be charged only for duplication, minus the first 100 pages.
- Representatives of the news media, who may be charged only for duplication, minus the first 100 pages.
- All other requesters, who may be charged fees for searching for documents and duplication, minus the first 2 hours of search time and the first 100 pages.
No charge will be made if the cost of collecting a fee would be equal to or greater than the fee itself; for USDA this amount is $25. In cases where no documents are located, the Agency is entitled to charge the requester for any applicable search time involved.