Georgia Archives

University System of Georgia

The Georgia Archives will be closed Wednesday, June 19th in observance of Juneteenth. Additionally, the Georgia Archives will be closed the morning of Thursday, June 20th for in-service/staff development training. We will reopen on Thursday, June 20th at 1pm.

Retention Schedules

State Agencies

State Government Records Retention Schedules
State Agency Specific Schedules (records not covered in the General Schedule)
Appoint a New Agency Records Management Officer (state agency heads only)
University System of Georgia Retention Schedules

Local Government Schedules

Local Government Records Retention Schedules
Judicial Branch Retention Schedules (November 2018)

Retention FAQs

I can’t find the retention period for a specific record.

If you are unable to find the retention of a specific record you may contact the records management section of the Georgia Archives by emailing If the record has not been scheduled for retention, Records Management staff will work with you to have a retention period approved by the State Records Committee.

What does “Retain for useful life” mean?
“Retain for useful life” means the agency should keep the record for as long as they require it (as long as it is useful to them), after which they may destroy it.
What does “Vital Record” mean?

Vital records are also called Essential Records, the records your agency needs to continue doing business in the event of a disaster. Georgia Code defines “Vital records” as “any record vital to the resumption or continuation of operations, or both; to the re-creation of the legal and financial status of government in the state; or to the protection and fulfillment of obligations to citizens of the state.” (O.C.G.A. 50-18-91 (10))

Some records series are identified in the retention schedule as “Vital Records” in order to assist the agency with the identification of such records. You should note, however, that only you can determine which records in your agency are essential to business continuity; some of them may not be identified as such in the retention schedules.

You should identify all of your Vital Records, duplicate them, and store them off-site for use in an emergency. If you make duplicates, remember that the retention period applies to the official copy of the record, not its duplicate. The duplicate records can be replaced as needed—and should be replaced frequently with the most current version of the original. You should never keep a duplicate record longer than its official original, though. When the original reaches the end of its retention period and is destroyed, destroy the duplicate copy as well.

Examples of Vital Records are: the current list of unpaid taxes, current security passwords and protocols, current contracts and leases, recent deposit records, etc.

What is the retention period for email?

Georgia retention periods are determined by the content of the record, not by its format. Whether a record is on paper, in electronic form, or on microfilm, it must be retained for as long as the retention schedule specifies. So, for instance, the retention of Employee Assistance Program Case Files is 6 years after the employee completes the program.

Employee Assistance Program Case Files - Records documenting the referral and treatment of employees in an agency sponsored assistance program - 6 years after employee completes program

All paper and electronic records—including email messages—that relate to Employee Assistance Program cases would need to be retained for the full 6 years after the employee completes the program.

It is important that agencies retain electronic files in a manner that permits them to be retrieved and viewed for the full length of the retention period. An electronic record with a 40 year retention period, for example, will need to be retrievable and readable forty years from now, despite hardware and software changes that occur during that period.