5 FAM 530 


(CT:IM-233;   11-14-2018)
(Office of Origin:  IRM/BMP)


(CT:IM-36;   12-09-2002)

a. This section addresses using the facsimile (fax) as a method of transmission only.  See 5 FAM 400, Records Management, for information on maintenance and retirement of faxed information as official records.

b. Fax machines are used for official business only, except for occasional and limited personal use using local dialing only.

c.  Personnel using fax machines to transmit memorandums, letters, or other documents that originate within the Department or a Foreign Service post may use fax machines to obtain clearances, provide informational copies, and other miscellaneous written material to complete official tasks.

d. Correspondence between the Department and members of Congress is subject to guidance issued by the Bureau of Legislative Affairs (H).  Responses to inquiries from members of Congress or their staffs may be sent by fax (with telephone approval of the Congressional office concerned and consistent with H’s tracking requirements).  The Inspector General has statutory authority to report directly to the Congress pursuant to the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended.


(CT:IM-98;   10-17-2008)

a. The following provides general guidelines for using the unclassified fax:

(1)  Only UNCLASSIFIED information (except as noted in paragraph d below) may be transmitted on standard fax machines.  Classified information may be sent via fax only on specifically approved machines used in conjunction with an approved encryption/decryption device.

(2)  Unclassified fax machines installed in controlled access areas (CAAs) must be located in rooms where classified information is neither processed nor discussed, and must be isolated in compliance with telephone security group (TSG) standards.  (See 12 FAH-6 H-540 (classified)).

b. Unclassified fax machines intended for installation in controlled access areas must be purchased from United States citizen vendors in the United States (see 12 FAH-6 H-542.5-3) in accordance with existing random procurement for CAA materials guidelines and transported to site by secure means by a cleared United States citizen or with a Department applied seal indicating it has not been tampered with.

c.  If operational requirements demand that sensitive but unclassified (SBU) information be sent by unclassified fax, the originator must carefully review the document, and clearly understand and comply with the regulations contained in 12 FAM 540 – Sensitive But Unclassified Information (SBU).  The transmission of SBU information must be restricted to the conduct of official U.S. business.  The custodian of the information must ensure that the recipients facsimile phone number is correct, that the recipient is authorized to receive the information, and when faxed to a number outside U.S. Government control, the recipient must be present.

d. Prior to transmission, the document holder must be certain that the document does not contain national security information and does not bear the NOFORN restriction.  NOFORN information must be sent through secure means.


(CT:IM-233;   11-14-2018)

a. Only secure or Tempest facsimile machines may be used to transmit or receive classified documents.  The fax unit can only be used in conjunction with an approved encryption/decryption device and must be installed in accordance with appropriate security criteria.  Additional requirements are contained in 12 FAH-6 H-530 (classified).

b. The regional security officer (RSO) or post security officer (PSO) must approve the purchase of classified FAX machines.

c.  The installation of any secure facsimile machine including all non-Department systems at posts abroad must have the specific written approval of the chief of mission.