How to Cite the Federal Register

US federal regulations are codified in the Code of Federal Regulations. The Federal Register, on the other hand, is updated daily with regulations that have not yet been codified. If you’re writing a research paper dealing with federal regulatory activity, you might need to use a regulation listed in the Federal Register as a source. Although the information included in your citation will be similar, the format will differ depending on whether you’re using Modern Language Association (MLA), American Psychological Association (APA) or Chicago citation style. MLA uses Bluebook citation style for federal register citations. Bluebook is the citation style used in the legal field.

Steps

Method 1 of 3: MLA/Bluebook Download Article

How to Cite the Federal Register

Start your Works Cited entry with the office or agency’s name. For regulations in the Federal Register, start with “United States” to identify the federal government. Place a comma after “United States,” then add the name of the specific executive department or agency that issued the regulation. Place a period after the name of the agency.

  • Example: United States, Food and Drug Administration.

How to Cite the Federal Register

Provide a title for the regulation. The title of the regulation will be listed at the top of the entry in the Federal Register. Use title case, capitalizing all nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. Place a period at the end of the title.

  • Example: United States, Food and Drug Administration. “Premarket Tobacco Product Applications and Recordkeeping Requirements.”

How to Cite the Federal Register

List the volume and page number where the regulation appears. Type the volume number of the Federal Register followed by the abbreviation “Fed. Reg.” Then type the page number where the regulation starts. Include commas for page numbers with 5 or more digits. Do not include a period after the page number.

  • Example: United States, Food and Drug Administration. “Premarket Tobacco Product Applications and Recordkeeping Requirements.” 84 Fed. Reg. 50,566

How to Cite the Federal Register

Include the date of publication in parentheses. Type a space after the final page number and open parentheses. Type the date in month-day-year format, using the 3-letter abbreviation for the month. Place a period outside the closing parentheses.

  • Example: United States, Food and Drug Administration. “Premarket Tobacco Product Applications and Recordkeeping Requirements.” 84 Fed. Reg. 50,566 (Sep. 25, 2019).

MLA Works Cited Format

United States, Department or Agency, “Title of Regulation in Title Case.” Vol. # Fed. Reg. Page # (Month Day, Year).

How to Cite the Federal Register

Use the first element of your Works Cited entry in your in-text citation. When you mention the regulation in the text of your paper, follow it with a parenthetical citation that will direct your readers to the Works Cited entry. For your parenthetical citation, use the first couple of elements included in your Works Cited entry. This will typically be “United States” and the name of the executive department or agency that issued the regulation.

  • Example: The regulation requires manufacturers to maintain records demonstrating that tobacco products, such as vaping devices, are legally marketed (United States, Food and Drug Administration).
  • If you included the name of the executive department or agency in your text, you typically don’t need a parenthetical citation at the end of the sentence. For example, you might write: “After deaths from the use of vaping devices, the US Food and Drug Administration issued a regulation that would control the marketing of vaping devices.” Because you identified the executive agency in the sentence, you would not need to include a parenthetical citation.

Method 2 of 3: APA Download Article

How to Cite the Federal Register

Start your reference list entry with the title of the regulation. Look in the heading of the regulation and provide the full title of the regulation. Use title case, capitalizing all nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. Place a period at the end of the title.

  • Example: Mammography Quality Standards Act.

How to Cite the Federal Register

Provide the volume and source for the regulation. Type the volume number, then a space, then the abbreviation “Fed. Reg.” Type a space after the abbreviation and add the page number where the regulation starts. Do not use commas between page number digits.

  • Example: Mammography Quality Standards Act. 84 Fed. Reg. 11669

How to Cite the Federal Register

Include the date of publication in parentheses. Type the date in month-day-year format without abbreviating the name of the month. Add a status to the date if the regulation isn’t final. Check the “action” line in the heading for the regulation. If the regulation isn’t final, include this information before the date. Place a period after the closing parentheses if the date is the last element in your citation.

  • Example: Mammography Quality Standards Act. 84 Fed. Reg. 11669 (proposed March 28, 2019)

How to Cite the Federal Register

Include information about the future location of the regulation, if available. In the heading of the regulation, look for a CFR line. If one is available, type a space after the closing parenthesis for the date, then open a new parenthetical. Type the words “to be codified at” followed by the volume and part number where the regulation will be codified. Use the abbreviation “pt.” for the part. Place a period after the closing parenthesis.

  • Example: Mammography Quality Standards Act. 84 Fed. Reg. 11669 (proposed March 28, 2019) (to be codified at 21 C.F.R. pt. 900).

APA Reference List Format

Title of Regulation in Title Case. Vol. # Fed. Reg. Page # (status Month Day, Year) (to be codified at Vol. # C.F.R. pt. #).

How to Cite the Federal Register

Use the name of the regulation and the year to cite in-text. APA in-text citations include the first element of the reference list entry and the year the reference was published. Typically, you would place this information in parentheses at the end of any sentence in which you discuss the regulation, inside the closing punctuation.

  • Example: The regulation would modernize existing mammography standards by updating them to conform with current technology (Mammography Quality Standards Act, 2019).
  • If you include the title of the regulation in your text, place the year of publication immediately after the title of the regulation. If you happen to include both the year of publication and the title of the regulation, you don’t need a parenthetical in-text citation at all.

Method 3 of 3: Chicago Download Article

How to Cite the Federal Register

Start your bibliography entry with the author of the regulation. Federal regulations typically don’t have an individual author. Instead, the department or agency that issued the regulation is considered the author. Place a period after the name of the department or agency.

  • Example: Department of Labor.

How to Cite the Federal Register

Include the title of the regulation in quotation marks. After the name of the department or agency that issued the regulation, type the full title of the regulation. Use title case, capitalizing all nouns, pronouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives. Place a period at the end of the title, inside the closing quotation marks.

  • Example: Department of Labor. “Apprenticeship Programs, Labor Standards for Registration, Amendment of Regulations.”

How to Cite the Federal Register

Identify the volume, number, and date of the Federal Register. Type the words “Federal Register” in italics, followed by the appropriate volume number. Place a comma after the volume number, then the abbreviation “no.” for “number,” followed by the issue number. Then type the date in month-day-year format. Do not abbreviate the name of the month. Place a colon after the closing parenthesis.

  • Example: Department of Labor. “Apprenticeship Programs, Labor Standards for Registration, Amendment of Regulations.” Federal Register 84, no. 122 (June 25, 2019):

How to Cite the Federal Register

Provide the page number of the first page of the regulation and URL, if necessary. After the colon, type the number of the first page where the regulation starts. Do not use commas to separate digits. Place a period after the page number. If you accessed the Federal Register online, add the direct URL to the end of your citation, placing a period at the end of the URL.

  • Example: Department of Labor. “Apprenticeship Programs, Labor Standards for Registration, Amendment of Regulations.” Federal Register 84, no. 122 (June 25, 2019): 29970. https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-06-25/pdf/2019-13076.pdf.

Chicago Bibliography Format

Department or Agency. “Title of the Regulation in Title Case.” Federal Register Vol. #, no. # (Month Day, Year): Page #. URL.

How to Cite the Federal Register

Adjust punctuation to create footnotes for in-text citations. The same information you included in your bibliography entry is also included in footnotes whenever you reference the regulation in the text of your paper. However, internal periods are changed to periods. The only period occurs at the end of the footnote. If the page number of the material you reference differs from the first page of the regulation, you would use that page number in the footnote instead of the first page.

  • Example: Department of Labor, “Apprenticeship Programs, Labor Standards for Registration, Amendment of Regulations,” Federal Register 84, no. 122 (June 25, 2019): 29970, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-06-25/pdf/2019-13076.pdf.

Chicago Footnote Format

Department or Agency, “Title of the Regulation in Title Case,” Federal Register Vol. #, no. # (Month Day, Year): Page #, URL.

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