Flags, Seals and Emblems Nationwide

The Office of Facilities and Administrative Services (OFAS) is responsible for administering the Department of the Interior (DOI) flag, seal and emblem program. The flag, seal and emblem are visible symbols of the DOI and may not be used with any commercial or other unofficial enterprise without the written approval of the Director, OFAS. Policies and procedures are contained in the Departmental Manual (DM) 310, Chapters 4 & 5 and include the following: 1) Approvals for official use of the DOI flag and/or seal (including private sector requests); 2) Guidance on displaying and flying the DOI and U.S. flags at DOI Facilities; 3) Half-staffing of U.S. Flag; 4) Review and coordination of proposed designs for new or existing bureau or office seals.

Flag of the United States of America

Bureaus and offices will display and use the U.S. flag as required by Public Law 94-344 and 36 U.S.C. § 173-178. The U.S. flag should be displayed in the Offices of the Secretary, Solicitor, Assistant Secretaries, Inspector General, and the headquarters and regional headquarters offices of bureaus and offices. It should also be displayed or flown at official functions and special occasions. The position and manner of display of the U.S. flag will be in accordance with 36 U.S.C. §175 which outlines common use requirements. Generally, when the U.S. flag is displayed with other flags on separate staffs, it will be on the right, i.e., the flags own right (viewers left). No other flag may be placed higher than the U.S. flag.

Department of the Interior Flag

The Department of the Interior Flag (Department Flag) will be displayed or flown only in conjunction with the U.S. flag at the entrance to, near, or over all Department of the Interior-controlled installations. The flag should be displayed in the Offices of the Secretary, Solicitor, Assistant Secretaries, Inspector General, and the headquarters and regional headquarters of bureaus and offices. It may also be displayed or flown at official functions and special occasions. The Department flag will be flown at leased facilities which are solely occupied by the Department, where leasing arrangements (and GSA policy) permit.

U.S. Flag Half-Staffing

U.S. Flag Half-Staffing Directed by Presidential Proclamation: As directed by the White House through Presidential Proclamation, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issues half-staff notifications to Federal agency contacts via e-mail. OFAS maintains a DOI contact list where DHS provides email notification to bureaus and offices when presidential half-staffing proclamations are issued. To provide additions and/or changes to OFAS for DHS half-staff notification, refer to the “Contacts” section below.

DOI Directed Half-Staffing:  DOI specific requests for half-staffing (i.e., for a facility, Bureau, or DOI-wide) must be processed through the Bureau or Office Head, to the appropriate Assistant Secretary, then to the Secretary for decision. OFAS must be advised of these requests, as notification may be required when the Secretary of the Interior orders half-staffing for DOI locations. OFAS will notify bureau and office contacts who are responsible for contacting their affected field offices on these occasions and ensuring compliance.

The U.S. flag will be flown at half-staff annually on the following dates:

  • May 15 - Peace Officers Memorial Day (unless that day is also Armed Forces Day)

  • May - Memorial Day (Last Monday in May; until noon only)

  • July 27 - National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day

  • September 11 - Patriot Day

  • October 06 - National Firefighters Memorial Day

  • November 11 - Veteran’s Day

  • December 7 - Pearl Harbor Day

Ordering Flags and/or Shadow Boxes

To expedite the procurement of flags, you must order U.S. and/or Department flags directly. After reviewing requirements and sizes in DM 310, Chapter 5, click through to GSA Advantage and search for the required flag, size and area to fly (indoor or outdoor):

If you wish to order a shadow box (i.e., enclosed glass-front display case for a flag typically used as a tribute or memento), they are available through GSA Advantage from the link mentioned previously. When ordering, you may choose a special inscription for the glass-front of the shadow box such as:

Mary or John Doe
With appreciation for dedicated service to the
U.S. Department of the Interior
1990 – 2010

Department of the Interior Seal

The use of a seal by the Department of the Interior is authorized and required by the Act of August 24, 1912 (37 Stat. 498; 43 U.S.C. 1460 et seq.). The seal consists of a male buffalo with the head and body in a left position, standing on a prairie, with mountains and a rising sun in the background, enclosed within two concentric circles, having the words "U.S. Department of the Interior" and the date "March 3, 1849" inscribed in the top and bottom arcs within these circles. The official seal is three dimensional and 15¼ inches in diameter. Any reproduction or use shall not vary in design or appearance.

Departmental Emblems

The use of emblems or insignia, which are not authorized by statute, to symbolize a bureau or office mission, must be approved by the appropriate program Assistant Secretary, the Director of OFAS and any other officials as needed, if required by legislation or Executive order. Before approval is granted, the emblem or insignia will be reviewed and evaluated for appropriate design, relationship of symbolism to mission and suitability of intended use.

Creation of New Department Seals, Emblems or Insignia

  1. Requests for new Department of the Interior seals, emblems, or insignia, authorized by statute, and used to symbolize a bureau or office or its mission are required to be submitted to OFAS for review and approval. Submissions must include:  a digital file (vector.eps file) and hard copy; information regarding technical standards and/or an identity manual; and a narrative describing the standard(s) of usage.

  2. Upon receipt of the submission, OFAS will send it to The Institute of Heraldry for a visual and trademark review. This portion of the review process will determine if the seal, emblem or insignia submitted is in use by another Federal agency.

  3. Any time during this process OFAS may return the seal, emblem or insignia back to the bureau or office with suggestions for redesign consideration.

  4. Upon authentication by the Institute of Heraldry, and review/approval by OFAS, documentation will be forwarded by the OFAS Director to the appropriate Assistant Secretary for final approval.

  5. A letter of final approval will be made to the Bureau or Office Head by OFAS.

Requests for Use of the Department of the Interior Seal

Requests for permission to use the Department of the Interior seal for other purposes must be submitted in writing and addressed to the Director, OFAS. Each request should contain information on the intended use of the seal, with specific details as to the product, method of reproduction, and any other data which would be helpful in evaluating the request. You may send written requests to the following address:

U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C.  20240
Attention: Director, Office of Facilities and Administrative Services


For assistance, please contact the OFAS Service Desk at (202) 208-2222 or the individuals below:

U.S. or DOI Flag half-staffing, contact:

Dante Jeffries
Phone: (202) 219-0429

Ordering DOI Seals; or design of a new seal, emblem or insignia, contact:

OFAS, Creative Communication Service
Phone: (202) 208-7051