File a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request
What is FOIL?
The NYS Freedom of Information Law provides access to state and local government records. See the Committee on Open Government for more information.
Do I need to use FOIL?
Many DMV records are available using the Request for DMV Records (MV-15). Check the MV-15 form carefully before you submit a FOIL request for DMV records. If the records you are requesting are available by using the MV-15, you will often receive them sooner by using this request method instead of submitting a FOIL request.
What DMV Records may I request under FOIL?
You may request any DMV records under FOIL, but certain records or parts of records can be withheld under Section 87(2) of the NYS Public Officers Law.
When you request DMV records under FOIL, DMV will send you an acknowledgment letter within 5 business days of the date your request is received. In most cases, the records will be made available within 20 business days from the date of the acknowledgment letter. In some cases, it may take longer than 20 business days to produce records under FOIL. If the records you requested cannot be provided to you within 20 business days, you will be notified of the date when the records will be available.
How do I make a FOIL request?
Step 1: Determine if you need to request under FOIL
Read the Request for DMV Records (MV-15) to determine if the records are available without a request under the FOIL. If the record you are requesting is available by using the MV-15, doing so may allow you to receive your records more quickly than filing a FOIL request.
Step 2: Make your request in writing
If you decide that you are eligible to request the records under FOIL, you must make your FOIL request in writing.
To make a request under FOIL do one of the following
- complete the Freedom of Information Law Request Form (MV-FOIL)
- write a letter that describes the records you seek (make sure you include the mailing address or email address so that DMV can send the records to you)
Step 3: Submit your request
If the records you are requesting include personal information, be sure to include a photocopy of your driver license or other government issued photo ID card with your request (you may black out the picture). You must identify your permissible use for the record you are requesting. Permissible uses are listed on Page 2 of the MV-15FOIL.
Your request, form or letter to
Records Access Officer
New York State Department of Motor Vehicles
6 Empire State Plaza, Room 327
Albany, NY 12228
Email with your request to dmv.sm.FOIL@dmv.ny.gov. In your message, include your name and mailing address or email address. Attach a copy of your government issued photo ID, if required.
When will I get a response?
The FOIL office will respond to your FOIL request within 5 business days of receiving the request by either providing you with the record requested or by acknowledging receipt of your request. We will also provide a time frame for when you can expect to receive the record you requested.
Is there a fee for records I request under FOIL?
Yes. The law authorizes us to charge a $10.00 search fee to determine if the records you requested are available. Your payment of the search fee does not guarantee that you will receive the records that you requested. We cannot refund the search fee.
We will tell you if the records that you requested are available or not available. If the records you requested are available, you must pay a copy fee of $1.00 for each page if you wish to receive paper copies of the records. A page is a single sheet of paper, whether one-sided or two-sided.
You may pay the fees by credit card, or by a check or money order made payable to Commissioner of Motor Vehicles.
The FOIL office will not release the record you have requested until payment has been received in full.
When searches are being performed for a public purpose by certain individuals or organizations, they are exempt from paying search fees. The ONLY individuals or organizations this applies to are:
- government agencies
- volunteer fire companies
- volunteer ambulance services
- public officers, boards, or bodies
- legal aid bureaus or societies or other private entities when acting pursuant to Section 722 of the New York State County Law
When and where can I inspect copies of DMV records?
Records rarely can be produced on the same day that they are requested. Most DMV records are available within twenty (20) business days of the FOIL Office's written acknowledgment of your request. If a phone number was provided with your request, the FOIL office will call you when your records are ready to be inspected. Otherwise you will be notified by mail.
When the records you requested are ready to be inspected, you will need to come to the
Customer Service Counter
Swan Street Building
Empire State Plaza
Albany, NY 12228
Can I appeal DMV’s response to my FOIL request?
Yes. If DMV has denied your request for a record (in whole or in part), you may appeal the denial, but you must do so in writing within thirty (30) days of the date of DMV’s denial of your FOIL request. Your FOIL appeal must identify the date of your record request and a description of the records that were denied. You should complete the FOIL Appeal Form (AA-33FI) and mail it to:
Department of Motor Vehicles
FOIL Appeals Officer
P.O. Box 2935
Albany, New York 12220-0935