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Guidance Documents

DHS issues guidance documents to help the public understand how DHS administers its statutory and regulatory authorities.  Consistent with Executive Order 13,891 Promoting the Rule of Law Through Improved Agency Guidance Documents, DHS posts guidance documents at the pages below. 

In general, guidance documents lack the force and effect of law, except as authorized by law or as incorporated into a contract. 

DHS Guidance Documents

To find a guidance document issued by DHS or one of its components, see the links below:

What is a “Guidance Document”?

This page contains links to documents that DHS issues to help the public understand how DHS administers its statutory and regulatory authorities. 

A guidance document, as defined by Executive Order 13,891, is “an agency statement of general applicability, intended to have future effect on the behavior of regulated parties, that sets forth a policy on a statutory, regulatory, or technical issue, or an interpretation of a statute or regulation.”  The term “guidance document,” as used in Executive Order 13,891, is a term of art, and it is subject to various exclusions and exemptions.   For example, the Executive Order contains an exemption for guidance documents related to a homeland security function of the United States.

DHS is substantially complying with the transparency provisions of the Executive Order, and also posting other documents that fall outside the scope of the Executive Order.  The pages linked above under "DHS Guidance Documents" therefore include many of the guidance documents that meet the definition of “guidance document” in that Executive Order.  They also contain other types of guidance documents.

Feedback or Complaints

Members of the public who have feedback or complaints regarding guidance documents should contact the Department office or component that issued the guidance.

If the issue is not resolved after the initial contact, please contact the Department's Office of the General Counsel, Regulatory Affairs Law Division, at In order to ensure proper processing of your comment, please include the words “GUIDANCE: [Insert name of significant guidance document]” in the subject line of your email message.  Feedback under these procedures are for the benefit of the agency and do not require formal response by the agency.

The Department will review feedback and complaints to determine whether any action is warranted and, if so, what action. The Department will determine whether it needs to take any action based on the nature and timeliness of the information submitted, the significance of any modifications requested, the magnitude of any modifications requested, and the resource requirements for any modifications requested.

Last Published Date: February 28, 2020

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