Federal Records Centers

FRC Reference Services

This section outlines the process for requesting, receiving, and returning your agency's records. You may access your agency's records by removing them on temporary loan, reviewing them on-site at the FRC, requesting photocopies or electronic scans of the records, or permanently withdrawing the records.

 Please note that the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, MO, has special procedures for requesting records. If you are requesting records from the NPRC, please see the NPRC Guidelines.

Requesting Records

Agencies may submit reference requests using one of four methods:

  1. Other formats (including agency request forms)

Specific instructions for each method of requesting records are included in this chapter.

Specific instructions for each method of requesting records are included in this chapter. In all cases, include the following information in the reference request:

  1. Transfer number (formerly accession number);
  2. Agency box number;
  3. Folder name/number (if applicable);
  4. Beginning location of transfer at the records center;
  5. The type of request (temporary loan, review, permanent withdrawal, photocopies, SmartScan, etc.);
  6. Date;
  7. Complete name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address of requestor; and 8.

Be sure to complete a separate request form or CIPS submission for each folder or box requested.

Please note that the FRC will bill your agency separately for each item, folder, or carton requested (as specified in your agency's agreement with NARA) regardless of the type of reference service requested.

Agencies participating in Stratified Report Invoicing (see definition, page 6) must include a caret (^) followed by a valid, legible two-character charge code encircled on the top right front of every request.


You may request records via letter, e-mail, memo, or by using an appropriate form from your agency. Please check with your agency's records officer to determine if you should use an agency-specific form.

Delivery of Requested Files to Agencies

In most cases, properly submitted and complete reference requests will be ready for mailing, pickup, or delivery to the agency one business day after receipt by the FRC.


The U.S. Postal Service or commercial carriers are the standard methods of delivering requested files to agencies.


FRC customers have several options for delivery of urgent/special reference requests (requests requiring same-day or overnight delivery):

  • Overnight express courier: Please provide the name of the overnight express courier (along with a billing account number) in the "Remarks" section.
  • FRC Metro Courier and SmartScan services: Select Federal Records Centers provide next-day delivery of reference requests via Metro Courier and same-day electronic delivery of requested files with SmartScan. Please see the "Special Services" section for more information.


Agencies may send documents or folders that were not included in the original transfer to be interfiled into that transfer at the center. The agency must provide the transfer number, charge code (if participating in Stratified Report Invoicing---see definition), box number, records center location number, and correct file designation where the interfile should be filed. The FRC will contact agency customers if the new material will not fit into the original box.

Please note that the National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) in St. Louis, MO, has special procedures for interfiles. If you have records for interfile at NPRC, please see Transactions with the National Personnel Records Center.

Relocation of Records

Occasionally, it becomes necessary to move records within a Federal Records Center. When this happens, NARA will notify agencies of the relocation. A Notice of Transfer Location Change, NA Form 13016 (www.archives.gov/frc/forms/na-13016.pdf), is mailed to the agency after the relocation. Following a relocation, you should update your agency's file copies of SF 135s to show new location numbers for use in requesting these files in the future. For further information concerning the relocation of records, contact the FRC staff. Note: If you are using CIPS, the system automatically connects your transfer number with the current location number.