Presidential Records

Presidential Record Notifications

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As President George W. Bush returns to Washington, DC, Marine One prepares to land on the South Lawn of the White House.

The National Archives coordinates notifications to the former and incumbent Presidents when it proposes to publicly release presidential records.

In accordance with 44 U.S.C. 2208 when the National Archives intends to make presidential records available to the public, it notifies both the former president in whose term of office the records were created and the incumbent president, and makes the notification available to the public.

Notification letters are available on our website, view copies of the notification letters.

Presidential records are defined as: “documentary materials, or any reasonably segregable portion thereof, created or received by the President, the President’s immediate staff, or a unit or individual of the Executive Office of the President whose function is to advise and assist the President, in the course of conducting activities which relate to or have an effect upon the carrying out of the constitutional, statutory, or other official or ceremonial duties of the President.” [44 U.S.C. § 2201(2)]. These records can be in any format, including textual, audiovisual, and electronic records. Presidential records are governed by the Presidential Records Act (PRA), which applies to records from the Reagan administration forward.

Learn more about the laws that govern presidential records