Federal Records Management

Guidance to Federal Agencies on Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Records Collection

The 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 118-31, Sections 1841-1843) requires NARA to establish the ‘‘Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena Records Collection.” The law requires that by October 20, 2024, each federal agency review, identify, and organize each Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP) record in its custody for disclosure to the public and transmission to the National Archives.  

The Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP) Records Collection will consist of  “copies of all Government, Government-provided, or Government-funded records relating to unidentified anomalous phenomena, technologies of unknown origin, and non-human intelligence (or equivalent subjects by any other name with the specific and sole exclusion of temporarily non-attributed objects).”  

Agencies must identify all UAP records that exist in any format. Agencies must make digital copies of these records and prepare them for transfer to NARA by the deadline established by the act. NARA will only accept the digital versions of UAP records. 

Publicly releasable copies of UAP records transferred to NARA will be made available online in the National Archives Catalog. NARA will provide an online finding aid that will be integrated with the Catalog.

Agencies will continue to manage the original source records in their custody according to the NARA approved disposition schedule. Temporary records will eventually be destroyed. Permanent records will eventually be transferred to NARA, even if a copy has already been transmitted as part of the UAP collection.

Metadata Requirements for UAP Records Identified for Transfer to NARA

  Download the spreadsheet template with metadata fields

Metadata elements for each unique UAP document identified by agencies for transfer to NARA under the Act must include the following, where applicable. These metadata elements are in addition to those required by NARA’s Digitization Standards, 36 CFR 1236.54, when the records have been scanned from original analog versions. All ERA 2.0 transfer fields, and the NA Form 14130 or 14130b are applicable.

Metadata Requirements for UAP Records
Label Definition Comment Examples Usage
Transferring Agency Each transferring agency correlates to the record group that the records are described and arranged within.     Mandatory. 
Agency-assigned Identifiers The unique identifier assigned by an agency or records management system.

Include any original or existing agency-created identifiers at the item, document or file level.


Mandatory when applicable.

UAP Record Identifier

The identifier assigned to the document for the UAP Records Collection.

UAP Record Identifier Scheme:

The originating agency is responsible for identifying the appropriate record group at the time of metadata collection. The UAP Record Identifier Naming Scheme must be in the form of ###UAP00000, wherein the first digits represent the record group, the next segment is “UAP,” and the last set of five digits is a sequential document number.



Title The name given to the record.     Mandatory. 

Date [CreationDate]

Date the record was created.


Originator (agency, office, or source,  where applicable) of the specific document. This may or may not be the same as the transferring agency.


Specific Person/organization/office to whom the document is addressed.

NOTE: Only applicable to correspondence, reports,  and memoranda


Mandatory when applicable. 


Specific Person/organization/office from whom the document originated.

NOTE: Only applicable to correspondence and memoranda


Mandatory when applicable. 


City and State referenced in the document.


Mandatory when applicable. 

Media/File Type     .pdf


Number of pages, structured data files, or running time


Any part of a document that is responsive, deems the entirety of the document responsive.



Rights [Previous Security Classification]

The classification allocated to the record indicating its official security status prior to its current status.

  Top Secret Secret Confidential Unclassified Mandatory. If no security classification applies, the record should be labeled “unclassified.”
Rights [Security Classification]

The classification allocated to the record indicating its official security status.


Include any special controls such as SCI or SAP if applicable. Top Secret Secret Confidential Unclassified Mandatory. If no security classification applies, the record should be labeled “unclassified.”

Rights[Usage Rights]

Usage rights relating to copyright, trademark or other use restrictions.  


Mandatory when applicable.
Special Controls Indicators identifying which entity (person or organization) is authorized to access or process.

Repeatable element containing information documenting any restrictions related to handling and access that apply to the record.

SAP SCI RD/FRD FGI Mandatory when applicable. This element must be populated with any access or handling restrictions that apply to the record as well as the information access or privacy laws or regulations on which the restriction is based.
Release Status     Released in Full, Released in Part, Withheld in Full. Mandatory.
Rights [Exempt Reason] If Released in Part or Withheld in Full, cite the specific grounds for postponement in section 1843 of the NDAA or declassification guide being used for postponement per the authorities outlined in Executive Order 13526.      Mandatory when applicable.
Refer To

The name(s) of all agencies that have equity in the file.

  Department of Defense
Department of Energy
Mandatory when applicable. Enter agencies’ names for referral even if the primary agency is exempting its equity in the file. The Department of Energy must be entered when the file contains RD/FRD.
Date: Review Date Date the document was last reviewed by a review authority.     Mandatory when applicable.
Review Authority Title or name of reviewing or denial authority.     Mandatory when applicable.
Comments Notes specific to the document.      

Preparing UAP Records for Transfer to the National Archives

For each UAP record (document or item) identified, the agency must make a digital copy and complete the following:

  1. Prepare all metadata elements listed on the standard form of identification provided by NARA. 
    1. This metadata should be provided to NARA in electronic format as a machine-readable CSV file (UAP metadata template). If any of the information in the full version of the metadata contains access restrictions, then the agency must also provide a fully public releasable version of the metadata that mirrors the format of the full version.
    2. Each UAP electronic record must include a naming convention based on the record identifier scheme outlined in the metadata requirements to ensure that NARA is able to cross reference the electronic UAP record (document or item) with the provided metadata.

  2. Conduct an access review of each UAP record and identify the following:  
    1. UAP records that can be publicly disclosed without any redaction, adjustment, or withholding under the standards in the Act.  
    2. UAP records that are restricted in part. Agencies are required to create a public access version with redactions. Both a redacted public use copy and a full text version of the document must be transferred to NARA.
    3. Postponed UAP records that must remain restricted in full.
    4. For b. and c. above, complete required Congressional notification per Section 1843.c.
  3. Transfer physical and legal custody of the copies of all of the fully releasable, restricted in part, and withheld in full (postponed) UAP records to the National Archives. The agency should contact NARA for guidance on the accessioning process for their UAP records. 

Updated: May 8, 2024