Services for the Public
The Washington National Records Center (WNRC) provides reference services for records of Federal agencies located in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.
WNRC is the first stop for records after they are no longer actively used by the Federal agency of origin. WNRC also has records of Federal Courts located in the District of Columbia and serves the Armed Forces worldwide.
Agency records stay at the WNRC, where they are tracked through an automated database, until they are either destroyed through recycling or accepted by NARA as permanent records. Access to most records stored at the facility is controlled by the agency of origin, however court records are open to the public.
Researching Federal agency records at the WNRC
The transferring agency, as the legal custodian, controls access to the records. A written request and authorization must be obtained from the transferring agency before the records can be used. The written request and authorization must reach the Reference Services Branch at least one day before the researcher's visit, and written authorization must include the following information:
- Transfer number
- Records center location
- Box number
- File designation of the requested records
- Written evidence of security clearance if the records are classified
All researchers must present personal identification upon entering the WNRC. Contact the Reference Services Branch * at (301) 778-1540 for further information.
The Transfer and Disposition Branch controls the inventory of the agency records stored at the WNRC. Researchers may use the unclassified Standard Forms (SF) 135, Records Transmittal and Receipt and box lists, if available. If photocopies of SFs 135 are required, WNRC staff will copy the documents for you at a cost of $.65 per page. You may pay by cash, check, money order, or credit card for the exact number of copies you need. Contact the Transfer and Disposition Branch * at (301) 778-1650 for further information.
Photocopies of Federal agency record may be purchased one of three ways (please note that these fees DO NOT apply to Court records at the WNRC):
- $.65 per page using a self-service copier which is attached to a debit card machine. The copier accepts a debit card which you may purchase for a minimum of one dollar. The debit card machine accepts one, five, or ten dollar bills. Any unused monies on debit cards may be used on subsequent trips to any National Archives Research Room. Refunds cannot be given on debit cards.
- $.65 per page by paying the research room attendant for each copy you produce. You may pay by cash, check, money order, or credit card for the exact number of copies.
- WNRC staff will copy the documents for you at a cost of $17.00 per 15 minutes of labor. You may pay by cash, check, money order, or credit card for the exact number of copies.
* Please see our Privacy Statement