The Code of Federal Regulations is the codification of the federal government's rules and regulations published in the Federal Register. The official version is published annually by the Office of the Federal Register and the Government Publishing Office. The informal version is updated daily online. The CFR encompasses the wide breadth of federal rules and regulations published by the federal government’s agencies and executive departments. It differs from the Federal Register in an important respect. Unlike the Federal Register, the CFR contains merely the final and effective rules of Federal agencies and related official interpretations to the rules. It does not contain preambles, proposed rules, notices, or general policy statements found in the Federal Register.
The CFR reflects the tenet that the federal government must follow an open public process when rulemaking. The United States Constitution permits federal agencies to promulgate rules to enable Congress’ legislation. This rulemaking process is governed by the Administrative Procedure Act. The Act requires a formalized procedure for agencies to follow. Proposed rules must be first published in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. This notice allows the public to comment and participate in the rulemaking process before the final rule is adopted and published. A rule becomes final when it is published in the Federal Register.
The CFR is divided into 50 titles. Each agency is assigned chapters within the titles. The standard organization of a title consists of:
The CFR’s 50 titles are divided by subject areas:
[Last updated in May of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]