Federal Records Management

Bulletin 2014-05

September 25, 2014

TO: Heads of Federal Agencies

SUBJECT: Guidance on NARA-Created Transfer Requests

EXPIRATION DATE: Expires when revoked or superseded

1. What is the purpose of this Bulletin?

This Bulletin establishes a time period for agencies to take action on NARA-created Transfer Requests in the Electronic Records Archives (ERA TRs). 

It also establishes a time period for agencies to take action on any NARA-created Standard Forms 258, Agreement to Transfer Records to the National Archives of the United States (SFs 258), which have not yet been submitted to NARA

2. What is a Transfer Request?

In FY 2013, NARA phased out its practice of creating SFs 258 on behalf of agencies, completing the transition from paper-based SFs 258 to ERA TRs to document the legal transfer of permanently scheduled records from the originating agency to NARA.

This includes SFs 258 created by NARA either as a courtesy or to support the transfer of permanent records from Federal Records Centers to archival units.

As a convenience for agencies, NARA typically creates ERA TRs for permanent records located in Federal Records Centers that are eligible for legal transfer to NARA.

See NARA Bulletin 2012-03 Instructions Concerning the use of the Electronic Records Archives (ERA) for Scheduling Records and Transferring Permanent Records to the National Archives.

3.  What is the time period for agency action on NARA-created ERA TRs or SFs 258?

All NARA-created ERA TRs expire 15 months after creation in ERA if the TRs have not yet been proposed to NARA. ERA TRs that have not yet been proposed to NARA are identified within ERA in Draft or Submitted for Agency Approval status. For example, a NARA-created ERA TR created on October 1, 2014 will expire on December 31, 2015, if it remains in Draft or Submitted for Agency Approval status.

Two months after the issuance of this Bulletin all NARA-created SFs 258 will expire if they have not yet been submitted to NARA for approval. SFs 258 subsequently created by NARA in accordance with an approved exception to the use of ERA will expire 15 months after creation unless they have been submitted to NARA.

4. What actions should agencies take on ERA TRs or SFs 258?

Agency actions include:

  • approving an ERA TR by proposing it in ERA, or
  • approving a SF 258 by including an authorized signature in Block 2a and sending it to the NARA facility identified in Block 3b. 

Agencies requesting the records remain in the agency’s legal custody longer than specified in the records schedule should follow the instructions described in 36 CFR 1235

5.  Why is NARA establishing an expiration date for NARA-created ERA TRs?

By establishing an expiration date for NARA-created ERA TRs both the agencies and NARA will ensure to the fullest extent possible that the ERA TRs contain the most current information about the records. (The longer the elapsed time between creation and submission to NARA for approval of a proposed ERA TR, the greater the risk that the disposition authority and other pertinent data will become obsolete or be modified.)

6.  What must agencies do after NARA-created ERA TRs or SFs 258 expire?

For records covered by expired ERA TRs or SFs 258, agencies may create new ERA TRs and propose them to NARA through ERA.

In rare instances where ERA cannot accept an ERA TR, agencies may create a new SF 258. See http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/era/faqs.html#exceptions for information on exceptions to using ERA for scheduling and transferring permanent records to NARA.

Once an ERA TR or SF 258 has expired, neither NARA nor the agency will be able to take action on it. NARA will delete ERA TRs from the system as soon as practicable after expiration.

7.  Who do I contact for further information?

Agency staff should contact their agency records officer. A list of agency records officers can be found on the NARA web site at https://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/agency. Your agency's records officer may contact the NARA appraisal archivist or accessioning archivist with whom your agency normally works. The list of the appraisal contacts is posted on the NARA web site at http://www.archives.gov/records-mgmt/appraisal/.

Archivist of the United States