When you come to a National Archives and Records Administration facility to look at records, you will be issued a researcher identification card.
- How to Obtain your Research Card
- Preview the Researcher Orientation Presentation
- Need to Renew or Replace your Research Card?
You do not need a Research Card:
- When you are not at a National Archives facility.
- When you are attending an event or visiting a museum at a National Archives facility.
- When you are only using secondary or library resources at a National Archives facility.
Research Cards are only issued when you are doing research in a research room. Research Card requirements may vary slightly at different facilities.
- Please do not come in advance of your research visit solely to get a Research Card.
To obtain a Research Card, an applicant must:
- Show official identification that includes a photograph. Acceptable IDs include driver's license, passport, and school and employment identification.
- Complete a short form giving full name, permanent address, telephone number, and a brief description of the proposed research topic.
- View a short Researcher Orientation presentation emphasizing the safe handling of records and explaining the most basic research procedures, responsibilities, and rules.
- New researchers should plan for a total of 15-20 minutes to complete the registration process.
Your Research Card must be presented during each research visit.
Researchers at the National Archives Research Rooms and Presidential Libraries will view this Researcher Orientation presentation before receiving a Research Card.
- This presentation aims to help you understand your role in the safeguarding and preservation of our records and to learn about our reference rules, procedures, and practices.
Help Us Protect the Records - Orientation for Researchers at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)
The National Archives Researcher Orientation presentation is available online for your convenience.*
* You will be required to review this presentation in person and sign the Researcher Application prior to receiving your Research Card.
Your Research Card will be valid for one year.
- You may renew your Research Card up to 30 days before expiration date.
If your Research Card has already expired, please bring it with you when you come in to renew.
- If you forget or lose your Research Card, talk to the staff when you arrive on your next planned research visit.
Procedures for replacing your Research Card vary slightly at different facilities.