The Federal Register FAQ's
- What is it?
- Why should I read it?
- Who uses it?
- Where can I find it ?
- How is the content organized?
- How do I find the information I need?
- What does the information mean? Does it apply to me?
- How can I use it to affect Federal rulemaking?
- How does NARA use it?
- Are there copyright restrictions?
- Is information available in advance of publication?
Daily Tables of Contents
About the Federal Register
NARA's Office of the Federal Register prepares the Federal Register for publication in partnership with the Government Printing Office (GPO). GPO distributes the Federal Register in paper, on microfiche, and on the World Wide Web.
The Federal Register informs citizens of their rights and obligations and provides access to a wide range of Federal benefits and opportunities for funding.
Reading the Federal Register may be vital to you and your customers:
- If you need to know about the day-to-day operations of the Federal Government
- If your business is regulated by a Federal agency
- If you are an attorney practicing before a regulatory agency
- If your organization attends public hearings or meetings or applies for grants
- If you are concerned with Government actions that affect the environment, health care, financial services, exports, education, or other major public policy issues
To read or purchase copies of the Federal Register:
- Visit GPO's FDsys, for free online access to Federal Register publications
- Visit any Federal Depository Library, http://www.gpo.gov/libraries/, for reference copies of Federal Register publications
- Visit GPO's Electronic Bookstore, http://bookstore.gpo.gov
- Purchase by phone or fax:
Telephone 202-512-1800, M-F, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Fax orders and inquiries to 202-512-2250 (anytime)
- Purchase by mail:
Superintendent of Documents
P.O. Box 371954
Pittsburgh, PA 15250-7954
- Send E-mail questions and comments on Federal Register services to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Each issue of the Federal Register is organized into four categories:
- Presidential Documents, including Executive orders and proclamations
- Rules and Regulations, including policy statements and interpretations of rules
- Proposed Rules, including petitions for rulemaking and other advance proposals
- Notices, including scheduled hearings and meetings open to the public, grant applications, and administrative orders
Documents published in the Federal Register as rules and proposed rules include citations to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) to refer readers to the CFR parts affected. The CFR contains the complete and official text of agency regulations organized into fifty titles covering broad subject areas. The CFR is updated and published once a year in print, fiche and on-line formats.
- You can find Federal Register indexes, tables of contents, and search pages in the Federal Register Indexes
The table of contents at the beginning of every Federal Register is organized alphabetically by agency. It lists all documents in the issue, including page spans. On GPO's Federal Digital System, tables of contents with links to documents are available for issues published starting January 1, 1994.
FDsys' Federal Register Search Page allows users to retrieve documents using a variety of different search criteria.
Two monthly publications, available online and in print, provide information on documents that appeared in past issues of the Federal Register:
- The LSA (List of CFR Sections Affected), a numerical listing of changes to the CFR, arranged by title, part and section
- The Federal Register Cumulative Index, an index to all documents published since January 1 of this year.
- Federal Register Staff members cannot interpret or explain any regulations other than our own, which appear in 1 CFR Chapter I.
- If you have specific questions about any document in the Federal Register or the Code of Federal Regulations, contact the agency that issued the document.
How do I contact the agency?
All Final Rule and Proposed Rule documents, as well as many Notice documents, include the name and phone number of an agency official under "FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:"
You'll also find agency phone numbers and other contact information online:
Federal agencies are required to publish notices of proposed rulemaking in the Federal Register to enable citizens to participate in the decision making process of the Government. This notice and comment procedure is simple.
- A proposed rule published in the Federal Register notifies the public of a pending regulation.
- Any person or organization may comment on it directly, either in writing, or orally at a hearing. Many agencies also accept comments online or via e-mail. The comment period varies, but it usually is 30, 60, or 90 days. For each notice, the Federal Register gives detailed instructions on how, when, and where a viewpoint may be expressed. In addition, agencies must list the name and telephone number of a person to contact for further information.
- When agencies publish final regulations in the Federal Register, they must address the significant issues raised in comments and discuss any changes made in response to them. Agencies also may use the notice and comment process to stay in contact with constituents and to solicit their views on various policy and program issues.
Like all agencies, NARA publishes documents in the Federal Register to carry out its statutory responsibilities. These responsibilities include preservation, management and access to Federal and Presidential records. For example, NARA publishes for public comment proposed rules
- To set standards for electronic, audiovisual and micrographic records
- To announce the opening of donated historical records and Presidential materials
- To develop design standards for Presidential libraries
- To set copying fees and hours of operation
Taking all comments into consideration, NARA develops final regulations which are published in the Federal Register and then codified in title 36 of the CFR. NARA also publishes notices of agency records schedules for public comment as required by 44 U.S.C. 3303a.
Other notices NARA publishes in the Federal Register include
- Requests for comments on the strategic plan
- Requests for comments on proposed information collection activities
- Invitations to attend public meetings of special working groups on subjects such as space planning and electronic records
No, everything that appears in the Federal Register may be reproduced without restriction.
Documents are held in confidentiality until they are filed for public inspection at least one business day before publication in the Federal Register. NARA maintains a List of Documents on Public Inspection which includes a short description of these documents and the date they will appear in the Federal Register.
- The current List of Documents on Public inspection is available online.
You may read or copy documents on public inspection during business hours at the
Office of the Federal Register
800 North Capitol Street, NW.
There is a nominal per-page charge for copies.