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U.S. Administrative Law Research

A guide to finding regulations and administrative decisions issued by federal agencies

About the Code of Federal Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations contains current, in-force rules and regulations issued by executive branch and independent agencies of the U.S. government. It is arranged by subject into 50 titles. Note: There is no relationship between a citation in the U.S. Code and the C.F.R.

Volumes in the CFR are republished every year, with the new edition incorporating new and changed regulations. Learn more

Bluebook abbreviation: C.F.R.

See The Reg Map (PDF) for a graphic display of the rulemaking process.

Online Sources

As a copyright-free federal government publication, the C.F.R. is reproduced by many online sources. Although the language for any section in any given year should be identical in all of the online sources, this guide links to all reliable sources because several of them include additional features that make navigating the C.F.R. easier.

Print Sources

New editions of most titles of the C.F.R. are published annually. It takes the Office of the Federal Register an entire year to update the C.F.R.

To assist users in recognizing volumes that have been replaced with the new editions, the covers are printed in different colors each year, as the photo below illustrates.

Changing Cover Colors of the Code of Federal Regulations


Indexes & Finding Tools

The print version and several of the online versions of the C.F.R. include indexes to help researchers locate relevant regulations.

The index volume to the printed C.F.R. also includes a "Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules," arranged in four sections organized by citations to the U.S. Code, the U.S. Statutes at Large, public law numbers, and Presidential documents (executive orders, proclamations, and reorganization plans). The citations correspond to laws and other sources that enable the promulgation of rules and regulations.

Other Research Guides & Tutorials