About Us

The Federal Register system is an official legal information service of the United States government. The Federal Register legal system operates under the general authority of the Administrative Committee of the Federal Register (ACFR), and the specific statutory and regulatory authority of the Office of the Federal Register (OFR). The OFR functions as the Secretariat for the ACFR, and is a component of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). NARA is joined in a statutory partnership with the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) to provide Federal Register publications and services to the public under the Federal Register Act (44 U.S.C. Ch. 15), the GPO Access legislation (44 U.S.C. 4101), and related public information laws of the United States. This web site is an e-Government service of the NARA/GPO partnership.

The FederalRegister.gov web site is administered by the OFR and operates under the technical auspices of the GPO. This site hosts the Federal Register Electronic Public Inspection Desk, which provides full-text, global access to the pre-publication versions of documents scheduled to appear in the Federal Register on GPOaccess.gov and in printed format. This site also functions as a portal to the official Federal Register publications on GPOaccess.gov, and to Federal Register information services on Archives.gov.

About Public Inspection Documents

The Federal Register electronic Public Inspection Desk displays documents that will appear in the next day's Federal Register, as well as selected documents scheduled for later issues. The Office of the Federal Register (OFR) is required to file documents for public inspection at our office in Washington, DC, on the business day before publication in the Federal Register in accordance with 44 U.S.C. 1507 and 1 CFR part 17. In some instances, agencies may request that documents appear on file several days prior to publication. This enables the official version of an important or complex document to be available to the public well before publication in the final typeset editions of the Federal Register.

The legally controlling version of a public inspection document is the official record filed at the Federal Register office in Washington, D.C. A full-text version of the filed document is posted to the FederalRegister.gov web site shortly after the document is publicly available at the Federal Register office. Although the OFR makes a concerted effort to reproduce the original document in full on our public inspection website, in some cases, graphics may not be displayed. The actual date and time of the official filing is specified on the filed document, and reflects the point at which the document is available to the public at the Federal Register office in Washington D.C., rather than the time of Internet posting. The time of posting to the web site will vary depending upon server usage and other factors, but the controlling point of public release is indicated on the filed document by a time/date stamp, regardless of Internet availability.

Availability of Documents

Visit the electronic Public Inspection Desk starting at approximately 8:45 a.m., every Federal government business day to:

  • Browse the list of documents filed for public inspection.
  • Read and Print copies of documents in PDF format.

The OFR posts a new set of documents on the electronic Public Inspection Desk every morning, on or about 8:45 a.m. Eastern Time. We may update this web site during the day as we add, or on rare occasions, correct text or remove documents from public inspection. Our official business hours run from 8:45 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Eastern Time. Documents will not be filed at the OFR for public inspection after 5:15 p.m. Due to the time required to post material on the Electronic Public Inspection Desk, some documents that are filed shortly before 5:15 p.m. may not be posted to the web site until after 5:15 p.m. We remove the pre-publication version of documents from the electronic Public Inspection Desk the morning they appear in the Federal Register. At that point, the daily Federal Register becomes the primary means of accessing Federal Register documents. Note that all posted documents are only tentatively scheduled for publication because agencies may delay or terminate the action prior to publication in the Federal Register. The set of documents posted on the electronic Public Inspection Desk remain available overnight, until the morning of the following business day. The electronic Public Inspection Desk site may occasionally be taken down for maintenance after official business hours, but the refreshed set of files will be posted on or about 8:45 a.m. Eastern Time, each Federal business day. We also continue to make documents available for public inspection at our office in Washington, D.C., upon request. The documents may be displayed on computer terminals or downloaded and printed from our document management system for the convenience of our walk-in customers. There is a nominal per-page charge for copies.

How to Find Information on the Public Inspection Desk

Browse for the public inspection list for information, including:

  • The agency that issued the document
  • Whether it is a Rule, Proposed Rule, Notice, or Presidential Document
  • A short descriptive title
  • Its Federal Register Document Number
  • The date and time it was filed
  • The date it will appear in the Federal Register

Read and Print copies of documents in PDF format.

Types of Filing

The list of documents posted online for public inspection is divided into "Special Filing" and "Regular Filing" sections. There is no general legal distinction as between a special and regular filing, except for the date and time differences discussed below. The differentiation between regular and special filing documents usually relates to the timing and complexity of publication in the typeset edition of the Federal Register. But note that some special filing documents do reflect requests by agencies for “emergency filing” to address an urgent matter or a critical legal requirement, which usually will be explained in the text of the document.

Regular Filing

“Regular Filing” documents are filed in the regular course of business at 8:45 a.m. Eastern Time, for publication in the next day's Federal Register.

Special Filing

"Special Filing" documents are filed at times other than 8:45 a.m., the day before publication in the Federal Register. This includes documents filed at times later than 8:45 a.m., documents on a deferred publication schedule but filed early for an official “preview,” meeting notices that can be handled in an expedited manner, and documents on an “emergency filing” schedule to meet a critical condition or legal requirement. Documents filed more than one day before appearing in the Federal Register remain on public inspection on subsequent days, until the document is published in the Federal Register.