Filing a Privacy Act Request

If you would like to make a Privacy Act request for information in FinCEN files, follow the suggestions listed below and submit your request in writing to the same address used for the FOIA.

  • Send a letter of request with your name, address and telephone number, indicating the reasons for your request.
  • Write "Privacy Act Request" clearly on both the letter and the envelope.
  • Individuals submitting a written request for access to their own records must agree to pay duplication costs, identify the System of Records to be searched, and provide a secondary identifier, e.g., certificate of identity, a date of birth or social security number.
  • It is recommended that you review FinCEN'S Privacy Act Regulations under Subpart C of 31 C.F.R. Part 1 before you make your request.

Once the request is received, a letter of acknowledgement will be sent to the requester and a search through FinCEN records will be made. The requester will be contacted if additional proof of identity or authorization is needed. When responsive records are found, a determination will be made as to what information, if any, can be released. Under the Privacy Act, FinCEN is required to respond to a Privacy Act request within 10 business days; however, the requester will be notified if a delayed response is necessary. A request for records may be denied if the requested record contains information that is protected by one of the Privacy Act’s ten exemptions. See section of the Guide entitled Privacy Act Exemptions.


If your request to access the information you seek, in whole or in part, or amend your record(s) is denied, FINCEN will inform you in writing of the reason for the denial, the name of the person(s) responsible for the decision, and your right to appeal the denial. The following procedures should be followed when filing an appeal:

  • Appeal must be submitted within 35 business days of the date of the decision;
  • A copy of the denial and an explanation of why you are requesting a review must be included, and
  • Both the letter and the outside envelope must be clearly marked, "Privacy Act Appeal," and submitted to the same address listed above under FOIA Appeals.

FinCEN has 10 business days to acknowledge receipt of the appeal (unless the determination on appeal is dispatched in 10 business days, in which case, no acknowledgement is necessary) and advise the requester of the date of receipt and when a response is due in accordance with Subpart C of 31 C.F.R. Part 1 (see 5 U.S.C. § 552a (d) and (f)). If FinCEN denies your appeal, you may take the matter to U.S. District Court. As with FOIA, the court may require the Government to pay court costs and reasonable attorney’s fees for you if you win a substantial portion of your case.

Sample Privacy Act Request Letter