The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located §2.2-3700 et seq. of the Code of Virginia, guarantees citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media access to public records held by public bodies, public officials, and public employees.
A public record is any writing or recording -- regardless of whether it is a paper record, an electronic file, an audio or video recording, or any other format -- that is prepared or owned by, or in the possession of a public body or its officers, employees or agents in the transaction of public business. All public records are presumed to be open, and may only be withheld if a specific, statutory exemption applies.
The policy of FOIA states that the purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities. In furthering this policy, FOIA requires that the law be interpreted liberally, in favor of access, and that any exemption allowing public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly.
To learn more about your rights under FOIA, as well as this agency's obligations, please read this document (PDF), which is available for download.
If you wish to request records from DHR, we ask that you please use this simple one-page form; while the form is helpful to DHR, it is not mandatory that you use it in placing a FOIA request. In either case, you should direct your FOIA request as follows: