The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), located at §2.2-3700 of the Code of Virginia, provides that citizens of the Commonwealth and representatives of the media have 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 purpose of FOIA is to promote an increased awareness by all persons of governmental activities. In furthering this policy, FOIA requires that its provisions be interpreted liberally, in favor of access, and that any exemption allowing public records to be withheld must be interpreted narrowly.
Additional information and contact information for the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council, including on how to requesters can comment on the quality of assistance provided to the requester by public bodies, is available on the FOIA Advisory Council website.
To submit a FOIA Request online, please use the FOIA Webform. To submit a paper copy, please use the form labelled "FOIA Request Form" below.