Historic Preservation Certification Application Submission is Going Electronic
June 30, 2023
As of August 15, 2023, all historic preservation certification applications must be submitted electronically, both new applications submitted to State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) and materials submitted to the NPS in response to requests for additional information.
Technical Preservation Services has been working toward electronic submission for some time, we have communicated about it in several prior messages and webinars, and we are pleased to announce the upcoming transition to electronic submission on August 15, 2023.
We will issue new application forms and instructions in the week of July 10, 2023. The forms will continue to be downloadable, fillable PDFs. The only change to the forms is the removal of the requirement for the applicant and NPS staff to “sign in ink.” Applicants will now sign the application cover sheet electronically (see below for information on types of accepted e-signatures). NPS staff will also sign the forms electronically, and NPS decisions will be issued only electronically.
We have developed file- and photo-naming conventions and guidance on organizing files for submission, all of which will be issued when the new application form is released in the week of July 10. All electronically submitted applications must follow these conventions and guidance.
Please note that each SHPO will have their own process for the submission of electronic applications to their office. We are creating an NPS webpage with links to each SHPO office's webpage with this information.
Please see the FAQs below for guidance on the transition from hard copy to electronic application submission.
We have scheduled three training webinars on electronic submission for program users. Use the links below to register for a webinar; copy and paste the link into a browser tab.
Wednesday, July 12 at 4 pm
Wednesday, July 26 at 4 pm
Wednesday, August 9 at 4pm
We encourage you to check the tax incentives website often in the coming weeks for updates on the electronic submission of applications.
Questions about the electronic submission process may be addressed to NPS_TPS@nps.gov.
Transition Period FAQs
How will the transition period work?
All applications submitted to a SHPO or to the NPS on or after August 15, 2023, MUST be on the newly revised 2023 application forms. For the NPS and any SHPOs accepting applications electronically ahead of that deadline, the applications must also be on the new form. Older forms will NOT be accepted electronically by SHPOs or by the NPS.
The NPS will begin accepting applications electronically (i.e., for applications placed on hold for additional information) as soon as the new application form is issued. The NPS will continue to accept hard-copy submittals until August 14. Any applications submitted on or after August 15 must be submitted electronically.
Each SHPO will determine whether they will accept applications electronically ahead of the August 15 deadline, and, if so, beginning on what date, and whether optional or mandatory. SHPO offices will issue instructions on a similar timeframe as the NPS ahead of the August 15 deadline. Again, applicants will need to check with the SHPO for these directions.
What happens to applications submitted in hard copy that are still under review by the SHPO or the NPS at the time of the August 15 deadline?
Applicants will NOT be required to resubmit applications electronically after the August 15 deadline if the application was submitted to the SHPO or the NPS prior to the deadline and review of the application is still in process. For example, if an application was submitted prior to the deadline and later put on hold for more information, and the applicant submits the additional information after the deadline, the additional information must be in the electronic format. The original application and submittals would remain hard copy but any subsequently submitted information after the deadline must be in electronic format.
How will applications be submitted electronically to the NPS?
SHPOs will forward reviewed applications to the NPS via a Sharepoint portal developed by NPS. When NPS puts an application on hold and requests additional information, the applicant and project contact will be notified by email to submit that information through the portal, with a copy sent to the SHPO concurrently using the SHPO's electronic-submission process.
Instructions for submitting information will be included in the NPS email. The applicant and project contact will be emailed a link to a project-specific electronic folder in the Sharepoint portal for one-time use. Once the information has been uploaded by the applicant and the intake completed by the NPS, the files will be moved out of the folder and the folder will be deleted.
Other amendments will continue to be submitted directly to the SHPO as usual, and the SHPO will forward the applications to the NPS after their review has been completed.
What types of e-signatures will be accepted?
Three types of electronic signatures (e-signatures) will be accepted: 1) a scanned PDF of an actual, original wet-signed application, 2) a scanned or digitized version of an actual, original handwritten signature, and 3) a digital signature using a digital ID (e.g., using Adobe software). A name typed in a different font and other types of generated signature images will not be accepted.