Office of the Federal Register (OFR)

Incorporation by Reference in the CFR

This site does not link to or contain standards incorporated by reference into the CFR.

If you want to obtain material that has been incorporated by reference, contact the standards organization that developed the material or the agency that incorporated it. The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and Office of the Federal Register (OFR) maintain the official Federal record copy of the material.  We do NOT provide or distribute copies.


OFR, part of NARA, maintains the official Federal copy of the standards incorporated by reference by agencies into the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). You may inspect IBR material at our DC office for the first 5 years after publication of the final rule incorporating the material by requesting an appointment. After 5 years, we transfer paper material to a Federal Records Center for storage. You may inspect the material at our DC office for another 10 years, but only after we make arrangements to retrieve any paper material for you.  After that, it is archived into the collection of permanent Federal records in the National Archives. (To determine when the material was incorporated and to request an appointment, see Inspecting IBR Material at NARA.)

We do not have or maintain copies of material that an agency merely references in a Federal Register document or the CFR but has not formally incorporated by reference under 1 CFR part 51.

We cannot answer questions about the IBR material or the related regulations.

Locating IBR material

The Director of the Federal Register approves specific versions of material for specific CFR sections.  As part of that approval, the agency must provide availability information as follows —

  • for:
    • the organization that produced the material, as well as how to obtain the material if it is no longer commercially available from the original organization; and 
    • the agency that issued the regulations to inspect the material or to contact for any content or substance questions related to the material
  • in one of two locations, either:
    • the section where the material is incorporated; or
    • the centralized IBR section that covers the part or subpart of the section where the material is incorporated

The availability information is in a standard format in the majority of CFR sections codified since 2008; however, it may be less structured or complete in older sections.  (For examples of what this information should look like, see Examples XV-1 through XV-6 and XV-8 on IBR Examples in Regulatory Text.) If you discover obsolete contact information, please  email us, providing the same information about the standard we require when requesting an appointment (see Scheduling an Appointment).

FAA Airworthiness Directives (ADs)

For iBR material in ADs, the availability information is contained the preamble to the Federal Register document and the concluding AD paragraph. FAA's online AD search tool may contain additional information.

Obtaining IBR material

There is no legal requirement that the general public be able to freely access IBR material online. While some material is available for free, other material must be purchased. Similarly, some material is accessible online and some is not. To determine what you need to obtain a specific standard, you must contact the organization that produced the standard (see Locating IBR Material) or the agency that incorporated the material.

However, some standards development organizations (SDOs) have online reading rooms that are free to the public, to registered users, or to organization members. You may find some standards incorporated by reference at these SDO websites:

Asking about IBR material

If you have questions about the IBR material, especially about how the material relates to the regulations that incorporate it, you must contact the agency that incorporated the material (see Locating IBR Material). If you don't have, or can't find, the agency availability information in the regulation, find contact information by:

  • searching the agency's regulations (using the search feature at
  • looking in either ADDRESSES or FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT of any relevant Federal Register document
  • visiting the agency’s website
  • viewing the agency's entry in the United States Government Manual
  • searching the U.S. Government’s official web portal,

If you aren't sure who the issuing agency is and don't have, or can't find, the agency availability information in the regulation, identify the CFR section where the material is incorporated by reference, for example 40 CFR 63.843 or 24 CFR 3280.703 (the citation may also read §63.843 or §3280.703).

Note: The number before "CFR" is the title and the number before the period is the part.

  1. Open the table of contents for the relevant CFR title
  2. Determine which chapter the relevant part falls under
  3. Determine if that chapter is divided into subchapters with specific agencies as the heading

If so, the agency in the subchapter heading is the issuing agency.

If not, the agency in the chapter heading is the issuing agency.

Inspecting IBR material at NARA facilities

Determining when material was incorporated by reference

Requesting an appointment to inspect IBR material

Material incorporated at least 20 years ago

If it is clear that the material has been accessioned into the National Archives, contact the College Park research room. IBR records are rarely digitized and are part of record group (RG) 64.

Material incorporated less than 20 years ago

If it is clear that the material is still at OFR, or if it is not clear where the material is, email the following information to our public inspection desk:

  • the full citation of the test method (including ID designation, title, date, and publisher)
  • the full CFR citation where the method is referenced, and
  • proposed dates and times for your visit.

When proposing dates and times, please keep the following in mind:

  • For paper material stored at the FRC, it can take up to six (6) weeks to locate and bring the material to OFR.
  • For paper material stored at OFR, it can take up to two (2) weeks to locate the material.
  • We cannot schedule an appointment for inspection until we have the material at OFR and locate.

Since the OFR does not provide copies, you would need to bring your own copier or scanner to make a copy.