Record copying

Terms and conditions for the supply of copies of records

Copies of public records in Crown copyright

Most public records in The National Archives are in Crown copyright. There are no restrictions on the use of copies for non-commercial research or private study. Copies, and copies of those copies, may be made and used for education purposes. This covers both teaching and preparation for teaching and/or examination by either teacher or student.

Applications for permission to use copies for publication (including website publication), exhibition or broadcast or any other purpose must be addressed to:

The National Archives Image Library
Kew, Richmond TW9 4DU

Copies of public records that are not in Crown copyright

Copies may be used for non-commercial research, private study or education (as defined above) within the limits set in UK copyright law.

Copies of non-public records and of published copyright works held in The National Archives

These are supplied subject to the customer accepting and observing additional terms and conditions by signing a declaration form. Any infringement of these additional conditions may result in legal action by the copyright owner. Any use other than for non-commercial research, private study or education, if approved by the copyright owner, may also require the permission of our image library.

The National Archives will provide further information on request. Please email enquiries to


View record copying prices (PDF, 40 KB), in effect from 1 February 2017.

Completed page check requests are valid for six weeks. We will not normally refund the page check fee if we find we are unable to fulfil a copying order. The page check fee covers the cost of staff resources assessing a document to ascertain its size, and condition, if the requested information can be located within the document, and counting the number of pages. This fee is non-refundable if the page check has been completed, even if we cannot locate the information you wanted copied; this is because staff have spent time checking the document.  We can only give a refund if you cancel the page check before we have started it.

Target times for completion of copying orders

Page check requests normally take up to 10 working days to complete. Copying orders normally take up to 14 working days to despatch, but may vary according to order size and complexity.

Post and packing

The National Archives will securely package and despatch copies by post if this option is chosen by the customer. Postage and packing is an additional charge which covers the cost of the packing materials and postage.

Postage is calculated according to an order’s weight, size, and destination; our postal calculator automatically chooses the cheapest rate for a customer’s order. A charge is also added to cover the cost of the packing materials, typically A3 envelope(s) and filler or cardboard tube(s).

See our fees for delivery charges.

In the event of damage or loss in transit the customer must notify The National Archives at the address specified above within 28 days and further copies will be despatched.

If you choose the option to collect copies from The National Archives, we will retain the copies at the record copying counter in the Document Reading Room for 28 days from us notifying you they are ready to collect.

Delivery restrictions

Postal delivery times vary depending on destination country and some countries may have longer delivery times. We cannot guarantee delivery times and postal services may be disrupted due to adverse weather, industrial action, and security restrictions. Some countries may impose import duties on deliveries from the UK. Customers are responsible for any applicable customs duties or taxes that may be imposed on a delivery in the destination country. Please bear in mind that items are sometimes delayed in customs, which is beyond our control.

Paper and digital copies

We reserve the right to copy original records using the copying process or processes which will minimise risk of damage to the records, and to disallow copying of records where the risk of damage to these records is deemed high. There are restrictions on which copying processes may be used for certain types of records due to factors such as size and condition. Where a surrogate of a record exists we will normally create copies from that surrogate and not the original, for preservation reasons.

Digital images

All images delivered online will be supplied in JPEG format at 300 dpi only. Images are downloadable from our website for up to three months of us notifying you by email.

Copy quality

The National Archives will aim to provide research quality copies, which are those sufficient to convey the written or graphic information in the original document. There can be no guarantee that we will be able to do so. For example, if the original documents are of poor quality. There can also be no guarantee that the copies will be suitable for any other purpose. For colour copies we will aim for reasonable differentiation between colours, but we are unable to guarantee an exact colour-matched image.

All requests for copies for any purpose other than research must be referred to The National Archives’ image library.

Image sizes

All copies that are produced from digitally scanned images: The National Archives will normally produce copied images which are approximately the same size as the originals. We cannot guarantee that the copies will be exactly size-for-size. Copies will normally be printed onto sheets of paper of the appropriate size in the A2 to A3 range (within preservation guidelines and at the discretion of the operator). We will not make enlargements or reductions of original records.

Prints from microfilm: images will normally be printed onto A3 size paper and may be larger or smaller than the original documents.

Photographs: orders for transparencies or images for publication or any other form of commercial exploitation, including website use, must be placed with The National Archives’ image library.

Deemed acceptance

Customers will be deemed to have accepted the terms and conditions by requesting a page check, placing an order, or by accepting copies by any means. Placing an order will be deemed to be an agreement that production shall begin on receipt. Once production has begun, the right to cancel the contract will cease. Monies paid are non-refundable.

Claims for missing or incorrect copies

No claims for missing or incorrect copies will be considered after 28 days of despatch. If you have any queries regarding these terms and conditions, please contact us.