Office of the Federal Register (OFR)

About the Federal Register

The Federal Register (the daily journal of the Federal government) is published every business day by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)'s Office of the Federal Register (OFR).

The Federal Register contains:

  • Federal agency regulations
  • Proposed Rules and Notices of interest to the public
  • Executive orders
  • Proclamations
  • Other Presidential documents

The OFR prepares the Federal Register for publication in partnership with the Government Publishing Office (GPO). GPO distributes the Federal Register in paper, on microfiche, and online as PDF files.  You can also access our unofficial version of the Federal Register at

Why should I read the Federal Register?

The Federal Register informs citizens of their rights and obligations and provides access to a wide range of Federal benefits and opportunities for funding.

Who uses the Federal Register?


  • who needs to know about the day-to-day operations of the Federal Government
  • whose business is regulated by a Federal agency
  • who is an attorney practicing before a regulatory agency
  • who attends public hearings or meetings or applies for grants
  • who is concerned with Government actions that affect the environment, health care, financial services, exports, education, or other major public policy issues


Where is the Federal Register available?

To read or purchase copies of the Federal Register:

  • Visit GPO's or, for free online access to Federal Register publications
  • Visit any Federal Depository Library for reference copies of Federal Register publications
  • Visit GPO's U.S. Government Bookstore
  • 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:


How is the Federal Register organized?

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 electronic formats.


How do I find the information I need?

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, tables of contents with links to documents are available for issues published starting January 1, 1994. also 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:


I'm looking at a document in the Federal Register. What does it mean? Does it apply to me?

  • OFR staff cannot interpret or explain any regulations or published documents other than our own or which appear in 1 CFR Chapter I (issued by the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register).
  • 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 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:


How can I use the Federal Register to affect Federal rulemaking?

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.

  1. A proposed rule published in the Federal Register notifies the public of a pending regulation.
  2. 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. In each Federal Register document, the issuing agency 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.
  3. 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.


How does NARA use the Federal Register?

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 documents that 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


Are there copyright restrictions on Federal Register documents?

No, everything that appears in the Federal Register may be reproduced without restriction.


Is Federal Register information available in advance of publication?

Documents are held in confidence until they are filed for public inspection at least one business day before publication in the Federal Register. OFR 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.

You may inspect documents on public inspection during business hours at the

   Office of the Federal Register
   7 G Street, NW
   Suite A-734
   Washington, DC 20401

We do not provide copies of documents to the public.