NPS, SHPOs to Require Electronic Submissions Starting in August–What You Need to Know

Published by Thomas Boccia on Wednesday, July 5, 2023 - 12:00AM

The National Park Service (NPS) is going fully electronic Aug. 15–and so are state historic preservation offices (SHPOs).

The NPS announced last week that all historic preservation certification applications–whether to the NPS or to a SHPO–must be submitted electronically starting Aug. 15. Additionally, all materials submitted to the NPS in response to requests for additional information must be completed electronically.

In the announcement of the change, the NPS said it will issue downloadable, fillable new application forms and instructions the week of July 10. The NPS said the only change in the application forms will be the removal of a requirement that both the applicant and the NPS staff “sign in ink” (it will instead require electronic signatures). The NPS will also issue file- and photo-naming conventions and will provide guidance on how to organize files for submission.

SHPOs will continue to have their own submission process and the NPS is planning to have a webpage linking to each SHPO office with that information. Contact your respective SHPO to determine its submission requirements.

The NPS has three webinars set for training: July 12, July 26 and Aug. 9.

The NPS provided a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) for the transition period. Some highlights:

  • Applications submitted to the NPS or a SHPO on or after Aug. 15 must be on the new forms.
  • Any electronic applications ahead of the deadline must also be on the new form. In short, do not submit any of the old (current) forms.
  • The NPS will accept electronic applications as soon as the new form is issued, but hard-copy submittals may still be made through Aug. 14. The policy of SHPOs on this issue is at their discretion.
  • Any submission in process of being reviewed do not need to be resubmitted.
  • SHPOs will forward reviewed applications to the NPS through a SharePoint portal developed by the NPS. Any additional information requested by the NPS will be submitted through that portal (instructions for that will be included in an NPS email notifying the applicant of the request).
  • The NPS will accept three types of e-signatures: A scanned pdf of an actual, original, wet-signed application; a scanned or digitized version of the actual, original handwritten signature; or a digital signature using a digital ID, such as using Adobe software.

Novogradac’s HTC team is available to assist applicants who have questions or who have issues in submitting applications to the NPS.

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