Office of the Federal Register (OFR)

Agency FAQs for OFR

Please see if we have already answered your question before having your Federal Register liaison office contact OFR  Check back periodically, as we continue to update this list.



To combine different actions (revising, adding, and removing parts), amend the chapter or chapters that contain all affected parts.  For example:

For the reasons set out in the preamble, [my agency] amends _ CFR chapter _ as follows:


If you are removing a part, set out the authority as part of the instruction to remove the part (if you did not include it in the words of issuance).  For example:

PART _ [Removed]

x. Under the authority of XYZ, remove part _.


When drafting proposed regulatory text that will have a date inserted only after the effective date of the final rule is known, use brackets but do NOT use the word "INSERT". For example, if the effective date of the final rule will be calculated as 60 days after publication of the final rule:

Something happens on or after [DATE 60 DAYS AFTER PUBLICATION of the final rule IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER].

OFR will not calculate a date and the text "[DATE 60 DAYS AFTER PUBLICATION of the final rule IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER]" will publish in the proposed rule.

Conversely, to add a calculated date to proposed regulatory text based on the publication date of the proposed rule, use brackets and use the word "INSERT".  For example, to have OFR insert the date that is 60 days after the proposed rule publishes:


OFR will calculate the date and that date rather than "[DATE 60 DAYS AFTER PUBLICATION of the final rule IN THE FEDERAL REGISTER]" will publish in the proposed rule.

Footnotes in the preamble are ONLY permitted in SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION.  (See DDH sections 1.4, 2.4, 3.4, and 4.5.)




All you (or your agency official) need to digitally sign a document is a PIV card, card reader, and MS Word.  

The person who digitally signs the document for publication does not have to send it to the OFR.  Anyone with a webportal account for your agency can transmit a document.  The person who signs the document just has to get the signed Word file (either through email or a network drive) to someone with a webportal account.

No. OFR cannot accept digital signatures in PDF files for publication.  A document that is scanned and converted to PDF is not an original; it's no different from a photocopy, which is not an original signature.  Further, OFR's document processing systems cannot validate Adobe PDF signatures.  PDF signatures, therefore appear as invalid in the file once on OFR computers and we cannot accept them as original signatures.



Contact OFR Legal ( before you use either method the first time or if you have additional questions.

How to delegate

If the person who would normally sign a document cannot, they can delegate the signature authority to someone who can. 

Your agency can do this formally and notify OFR that —

  • general authority has been delegated to either:
    • specific people or
    • a specific position; and
  • the delegation will apply to:
    • a specific document; or
    • all future documents until revoked. 

Or, your agency can do this on a document-by-document basis by adding a signing statement to each document.

OFR requires that the digital signature of the person who actually signs the document (using their PIV card) matches the name of the person included in the signature block of the document. So if the Secretary's name and title were originally in the signature block but the General Counsel actually signed the document after a delegation, the document sent for publication must have a signature block that contains the name and title of the General Counsel.

When to delegate 

Your agency can include a delegation statement in the preamble of any document; however, OFR will require either a signing statement or general delegation if the person who actually signs the document does not have inherent authority to make policy or rulemaking decisions for an agency.

Delegation required (by the OFR)

The Federal Register liaison position is created by the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register, under 1 CFR part 16, and someone in that position only has authority to communicate with OFR on behalf of the agency. Someone signing as FR liaison doesn't have inherent authority from their position as liaison to make binding legal decisions for the agency outside the editorial process.  Likewise, an administrative assistant doesn't have any inherent authority to make binding legal decisions.  Thus, OFR requires delegations of authority for these and similar positions.  The delegations can be made through letter (indefinitely or through the end of this crisis) or document-by-document through a signing statement.

Delegation not required (by the OFR)

An agency General Counsel or Chief of Staff position has inherent authority to make binding legal decisions on behalf of the agency, so, as far as OFR is concerned, your agency doesn't need any type of delegation for these and similar signatures.  But if your agency needed to make clear for agency purposes why a particular person/position was signing vs someone else, your agency would include the signing language.

Example delegation language

The [agency official] of [AGENCY], [name of agency official, having reviewed and approved this document, is delegating the authority to electronically sign this document to [name of signer], who is the [title of person signing], for purposes of publication in the Federal Register.

Example 1 (DHS)

Example 2 (VA)



OFR staff work every business day, regardless of the Federal government's operating status.

Paper transmissions

If you have a paper document, we have a small staff on-duty in Suite A-734 to receive packages.  The requirements for transmitting a paper document remain the same.  But, it may take longer to enter these documents into our system since the majority of our staff is teleworking.

To ensure smooth handling and limit delays, we strongly recommend that your agency use our electronic signature and transmission process.

Electronic transmissions

If you are transmitting documents electronically, don't change anything! 

OFR must have an original signature on a document before we can accept if for publication.  If you can't get us the package with the pen-and-ink signature (and disc and certification letter), look into electronically signing the document.  If the person who would normally sign the document isn't able to electronically sign the Word file, see if they can delegate the authority to sign to someone else in your agency who is able to electronically sign.

Yes, you should use the webportal to transmit documents for publication during regular business hours, not just when OFR or your agency is closed.  

No, OFR does not accept documents submitted through email.  We must have an original signature on the document, so if you have an electronically-signed Word file, submit it through the webportal.

Processing and publication

Document processing


No matter who uses the webportal to upload a document for publication, once the document is in our system, we follow our normal review process.  This means that we contact the FR liaison officer designated for that document.

Even if your FR Liaison officer cannot physically sign and scan letters (special handling, correction requests, withdrawals, etc), OFR accepts digitally-signed letters on agency letterhead.  We strongly encourage your liaison officers to digitally sign a Word file, using the same method required to sign files transmitted through the webportal, for consistency.  However, we will also accept digitally-signed PDF documents certified using a visible signature. (Remember, we cannot accept PDF documents for publication and you cannot transmit PDF files through the webportal.)  See Letter Requirements and Signature Requirements for more information.

To view the following examples, download and save to your computer before opening:

Unless otherwise approved, formal letters to the OFR must come from designated FR Liaison or Certifying officers' government email accounts.  Even if your officer is not the individual who signed the letter, they are still our point of contact with your agency and their government email address servers to authenticate your agency's request.



Any Federal agency employee (which excludes contractors) can request a webportal account.  All designated Federal Register liaison officers are pre-cleared for accounts, so requesting an account is as easy as filling out the form at  Non-liaison officers may also request accounts but we will contact the agency liaison officers for approval before we create accounts for non-liaisons.

If you are a Federal Register liaison officer, it will take a few minutes to a few hours to create your account, depending on workload at the time you request the account.  If you are not a liaison officer, it may take longer because we have to get permission from your agency's liaison officer before we can create the account.

Once we create your webportal account, you can immediately start transmitting documents. 

There is no limit to the number of accounts an agency can establish.  FR liaison officers are pre-approved for accounts and FR liaison officers can then approve other agency employees (but not contractors) for webportal accounts.

Document publication



We typically publish a document in three business days, although an unusually high volume of documents can cause lengthy and more complex documents to take longer to publish than is typical.  

However, we cannot guarantee a publication date until we have received and reviewed your official, signed document.  We process documents for publication on a first-in, first-out system, as much as possible, but the time it takes to get to and process your document depends on a number of factors, including:

  • the number of documents already in-process,
  • the number of documents received before your document,
  • the number of emergency documents (which must be processed before non-emergency documents) received before we receive your document or while we are processing your document,
  • the length and complexity of your document,
  • the number and scale of edits needed, and
  • the time it takes to work with your agency to resolve the edits.



To correct a document before it is published, go to: Document Corrections before Publication

To correct a published document, go to: Correcting the Federal Register and CFR


If we require a letter to update or change the status of a publication request (like emergency filing or immediate publication) or to correct or withdraw a document, you must email us a signed letter on agency letterhead. If you cannot email the letter, please contact our office to discuss possible alternatives.  We cannot accept these letters through the webportal.  To email the letter:

  • Use the appropriate letter template.
  • Make sure the name in the signature block and the signature name match:
    • Paper letters –
      • Print and sign your letter. Then,
      • Scan the letter and save it as a .pdf file; or
    • Electronic letters – using your PIV card (or other official Federal digital signature) digitally sign a:
      • .pdf file with a visible signature; or
      • .docx file with an invisible signature.
  • Email the file to the OFR's general scheduling email, even if you have already been in touch with a member of the Scheduling unit.

OFR’s standard signature policies apply to letters withdrawing or correcting documents. An employee with authority to submit Federal Register documents must sign this letter and that signature must match the name on the letter; usually this is your agency’s Liaison Officer.  If your agency’s Liaison Officer or alternate is not available to sign the letter, contact OFR’s Scheduling Unit to verify the authority of the signer.