Office of the Federal Register (OFR)

VI.B. How Do I Request Approval for an IBR?

(Chapter VI. Requesting IBR Approval)

  • For PROPOSED RULE documents (including ANPRMs), simply send in the document for publication.
  • For FINAL RULE documents, follow these steps and use the checklist:

B.1. What do I send to request approval?


i. Make sure all the IBR material is:

  1. Legible with no extraneous marks or annotations;
  2. Complete; and
  3. Clearly identified by:
    1. Publisher,
    2. Identification number of the publication (the designation),
    3. Title,
    4. Edition (if any),
    5. Author (if appropriate), and
    6. Date.

     (See Example 1-1 and Example 1-2.)

ii. Include a complete copy of the material to be incorporated in the request package except as follows:

  1. If the exact version of the material is already incorporated elsewhere in the CFR (i.e. the material is currently approved):
    1.  Include the full description in the letter along with the current approval location, but
    2.  Do not include a copy of the material in the package.
  2. If the regulatory text of the draft rule includes references to material already approved for that section or appendix:
    1.  Add an explanation to the letter, but
    2.  Do not include the full description of the material in the letter, and
    3.  Do not include a copy of the material in the package.


All Word files must be .docx files (we do not accept .doc files) and cannot include periods in the file name.  (For example, “draft-rule_12-01-22.docx” instead of “draft-rule_12.01.22.docx”). Your package must include:

  1. A digitally-signed letter requesting approval of the incorporation —
    1. If you do not use the template provided (see Template 1 in Appendix A.A of this handbook), you must include information about the proposed rule;
    2. If you transmit a signed PDF file (by either signing the PDF or by scanning a signed paper letter), also include a draft version as an unsigned MS Word file (in .docx file format);
  2. ​The draft rule as a single MS Word file (in .docx file format). The DRAFT rule must include:
    1. All preamble headings and captions,
    2. An easily identifiable IBR section of the preamble,
    3. The words of issuance, and
    4. All amendatory instructions and regulatory text affected by the IBR material.

The draft rule does not have to be otherwise complete, final, or through the OMB review process. It should not be signed because if we require changes, it will have to be re-signed before it can be transmitted for publication.

Address the letter to the Director of the Federal Register specifically requesting IBR approval and including the following information (see Example 1-1 and Example 1-2):

  1. The designation, usually an alpha-numeric designation[1], title, date, version, and author of each publication you wish to incorporate by reference, grouped by publisher;
  2. The title and section where you wish to incorporate a publication, including any centralized IBR sections.  Include references to the lowest paragraph level in the section that requires the use of the publication, except for the centralized IBR section references[2]; and
  3. Who to contact at your agency regarding your IBR request along with their phone number and email address.

[1] Even if the publication’s designation contains a partial date, for example ASTM F1234-12, this is not the same as the date of the document.  You must include the date in addition to the designation.

[2] For example, 40 CFR 63.17(b)(1)(iii)(A).  This is more detailed than what you include in a centralized IBR section. You do not need to include the paragraph level for the centralized IBR section in the request letter; the title and section are sufficient.




We will accept signatures from Federal Register liaison officers, program staff, or agency attorneys, among others, so the request letter does not necessarily have to be signed by the head of your agency.  To determine the Federal employee(s) in your agency who may sign an IBR request letter, ask your agency’s attorneys.

We accept:

  • A digitally signed PDF;
  • A wet signature hard copy scanned as a PDF; or
  • An invisible signature Word document.


B.2. How do I send my IBR request package for approval?

Under OMB/NARA Memorandum M-19-21 (updated by OMB/NARA Memorandum M-23-07), the OFR can no longer accept hard copies of IBR material (except under extremely limited circumstances[3]).  In May 2021, we opened our eIBR pilot to all agencies and began providing secure ftp accounts to each agency that uses IBR in its regulations.  Check with your Federal Register liaison officer for your internal procedures regarding use of this account – even if you have not gone through your liaison officer in the past.  If you do not yet have an account, contact us. 

Contact us for pre-approval to send paper as soon as possible if you encounter difficulty obtaining electronic files.



If you are transmitting at least one standard as part of the request package—

  1. Log into the GPO server using your agency’s sftp account
  2. Navigate to your office’s folder on the GPO server (or create one, if necessary)
  3. Create a new folder for this IBR, making sure that the folder name adequately reflects the rulemaking
  4. Upload the signed letter (and unsigned Word file, if applicable), IBR material, and draft rule to the new folder
  5. Send us an email saying that you have uploaded a new IBR request.

If the IBR request includes material that has already been incorporated elsewhere, such that you are not required to send copies of the material to OFR—

      Email us the signed letter (and unsigned Word file, if applicable) and draft rule.

If we have not pre-approved your request to send paper, do NOT send paper with any IBR request.  If we have pre-approved your request to send paper IBR material—

  1. Send the IBR material to the attention of OFR, Legal Affairs and Policy Division, 7 G Street, NW, Suite A-734, Washington, DC 20401. Do NOT include the draft rule. You may (but are not required to) include an unsigned request letter. Do not use USPS to send material to this address.
  2. end us an email with the signed letter (and unsigned Word file, if applicable) and draft rule attached in the body of the email and state that you have sent (or are sending) the paper material. Include the date you sent the paper material, the address used for the destination, and any tracking information.

Warning: If you send the IBR request by U.S. mail, you must use the address found in the request letter template (Template 1). However, U.S. mail is irradiated before it comes to us, which can damage the documents and delay delivery of the package. If there is too much damage, you will have to resend the IBR material. The preferred method is hand-delivery or courier (including UPS and FedEx) to our street address listed above. If you send a paper IBR request without pre-approval, we will NOT accept it.

B.3. How long will it take to process my request?


OFR Legal has 20 working days to review a request after transmission of a complete request package.  We will notify you within that period that:

  1. No edits are required and the request is approved;
  2. Edits are required, along with appropriate red-line changes; or
  3. The required edits are too extensive and the request is denied.

We will not notify or remind you to complete a package if we only receive a partial request.

  • The 20-day period begins when we receive legally-sufficient material for all elements of the request.
  • Failure to follow this procedure will delay the processing of your request.
  • We do not offer expedited or emergency review of IBR requests.

You have 2 years from the date of the approval letter to send in the final rule for publication, unless you ask for an extension before that date.  After 2 years, your approval will expire and we will dispose of any material that you have given us.  To refer to the material after that time, you will need to send in a new request for IBR approval.




The designation is at the top of the title page and in the header of the standard.  The approval date is in footnote 1.

Proper citation: ASTM D4809-13, Standard Test Method for Heat of Combustion Liquid Hydrocarbon Fuels by Bomb Calorimeter (Precision Method), approved May 1, 2013.

Document header and footer of title page of ASTM D4809-13, including title and footnote 1

The designation and type of date are at the top of the title page and in the header of the standard.

Proper citation: SAE J1634, Electric Vehicle Energy Consumption and Range Test Procedure, Cancelled October 2002.

The designation and type of date are at the top of the title page and in the header of the standard.

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