4-4.15 Time Extensions

  1. General. The statutory time limit for responding to a request may be extended with written notice to the requester under certain unusual circumstances. This includes:
    1. The need to search for and collect records from a facility other than the one processing the request;
    2. The need to search for, collect, and examine a voluminous amount of records; or
    3. The need to consult with another agency, or two or more components of the Postal Service, having a substantial interest in the record(s) (see 4-4.19).

    If the request is referred from a FOIA RSC, the records custodian must contact the referring FOIA RSC as soon as possible if it appears that an extension may be necessary and warranted under the circumstances detailed above.

  2. Notification to Requester. Whenever the statutory time limit for processing a request cannot be met because of unusual circumstances, as defined above, the Postal Service shall, before the expiration of the 20-day period to respond, notify the requester in writing of:
    1. The unusual circumstances involved; and
    2. The date by which the Postal Service expects to complete the processing of the request.
  3. Extensions Exceeding 10 Working Days. If the extension exceeds 10 working days, the Postal Service must:
    1. Provide the requester with an opportunity to modify the request or arrange an alternative time period for processing;
    2. Alert the requester to the availability of the Office of Government Information Services to provide dispute resolution services; and
    3. Make available its designated FOIA contact and its FOIA Public Liaison.
  4. Voluntary Extensions. By mutual agreement and within the initial 20–day response period, the custodian and the requester may establish a different response period. Confirm agreement with the requester in writing. For requests referred from a FOIA RSC, consult with the FOIA RSC prior to arranging a voluntary extension of a response time.