Code of Federal Regulations

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is a collection of rules and regulations issued by the departments and agencies of the United States government.

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) organizes the rules and regulations promulgated by executive departments and agencies. The CFR is divided into 50 titles, with each title focusing on a particular subject matter area. Each title is further broken down into chapters, subchapters, parts, and occasionally subparts. Finally, each chapter is further broken down into individual rules called sections. The CFR is an annual publication, and it is updated on a staggered basis throughout the year.

Each regulation is governed by a law passed by Congress. These laws, often called statutes, establish a mandate or an obligation for a Federal agency. The agency then promulgates regulations that govern how the agency will comply with the statutory directive. The agency’s rules are published in the Federal Register, and when they are finalized, they are incorporated into the CFR.

CFR Citation
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CFR Citation

When citing a CFR section, the four-digit revision year should be used to identify the version of the rule that is being cited. For laws passed by Congress, the citation should include the Public Law number (or PL number) and the Statute at Large volume number. The citation should also mention any Federal Register notice preceding the cited rule.

As a result, the CFR contains a vast array of rules across the entire Government. In order to help users find specific rules, the CFR is organized by title and then chapter. This allows the user to focus on the specific topic that they are interested in, such as telecommunications. In addition, a CFR citation, such as 25 CFR SS 531.1, tells the reader first the title and then the part that contains the specific rule they are looking for.

How to Access the Code of Federal Regulations
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How to Access the Code of Federal Regulations?

The citation to a regulation should include its name, title number, part, and chapter number, and date of publication in the Federal Register. This citation will be used to locate the regulation in the CFR or other sources. It should also include the authority citation the agency that issued the rule gave. Most Federal regulations are found in the CFR. The CFR can be accessed through the Government Publishing Office service (govinfo). It is also available in print through Federal depository libraries throughout the United States.

Regulatory materials produced by federal and state agencies have become much more widely accessible in recent years. Where once these were limited to print compilations that tended to be expensive and difficult to keep up to date, most agency material is now posted at a public internet site. These sites may be accessed by any user with Internet access, and the content is free of charge.

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