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Executive Order 13166

Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency

For information, guidance, and technical assistance on the implementation of the LEP initiative please visit

Overview of Executive Order 13166


On August 11, 2000, the President signed Executive Order 13166, "Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency."  The Executive Order requires Federal agencies to examine the services they provide, identify any need for services to those with limited English proficiency (LEP), and develop and implement a system to provide those services so LEP persons can have meaningful access to them.  It is expected that agency plans will provide for such meaningful access consistent with, and without unduly burdening, the fundamental mission of the agency.  The Executive Order also requires that the Federal agencies work to ensure that recipients of Federal financial assistance provide meaningful access to their LEP applicants and beneficiaries. To assist Federal agencies in carrying out these responsibilities, the U.S. Department of Justice has issued a Policy Guidance Document,  "Enforcement of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - National Origin Discrimination Against Persons With Limited English Proficiency" (LEP Guidance).  This LEP Guidance sets forth the compliance standards that recipients of Federal financial assistance must follow to ensure that their programs and activities normally provided in English are accessible to LEP persons and thus do not discriminate on the basis of national origin in violation of Title VI's prohibition against national origin discrimination.

The Federal Coordination and Compliance Section is responsible for governmentwide coordination with respect to Executive Order 13166. The Section serves as the federal repository for the internal implementation plans that each federal agency is required to develop, to ensure meaningful access to its own federally conducted programs and activities, and it also reviews and approves each funding agency’s external LEP guidance for its recipients. As the Department of Justice prepared its own plan, the Section reviewed and approved each component’s submission.  Further, the Section  developed the Department’s external guidance for its own recipients. The Section has initiated an aggressive program of intra- and inter-agency consultations and actively solicits comments and suggestions from representatives of recipient and LEP individuals on how to identify and address the needs of LEP individuals under Executive Order 13166 in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Guidance and Materials

The Federal Coordination and Compliance Section is responsible for governmentwide coordination with respect to Executive Order 13166.  The guidance documents included below provide informal non-binding guidance to assist you in understanding the Order. 

The guidance documents are not intended to be a final agency action, have no legally binding effect, and have no force or effect of law.  The guidance documents may be rescinded or modified in the Department’s complete discretion, in accordance with applicable laws. The Department’s guidance documents do not establish legally enforceable responsibilities beyond what is required by the terms of the applicable statutes, regulations, or binding judicial precedent.  For more information, see "Memorandum for All Components: Prohibition of Improper Guidance Documents," from Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions III, November 16, 2017.

Attorney General Merrick B. Garland Issues Memorandum to Improve Access to Services for People with Limited Proficiency in English- November 21, 2022

Press Release: [Arabic لعربية] [English English] [Spanish Español] [Vietnamese Tiếng Việt] [Chinese Simplified 简体字] [Chinese Traditional 簡體字] [Korean 한국어/조선말] [Tagalog Tagalog]

Message from Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke: Marking the 21st Anniversary of Executive Order 13166, “Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency”- August 31, 2021

(Spanish Español) (Vietnamese Tiếng Việt) (Chinese Simplified 简体字) (Chinese Traditional 簡體字) (Korean 한국어/조선말) (Tagalog Tagalog

Executive Order 13166, "Improving Access to Services for Persons with Limited English Proficiency" -(HTML or  PDF)

Common Language Access Questions, Technical Assistance, and Guidance for Federally Conducted and Federally Assisted Programs - August 15, 2011

Language Access Assessment and Planning Tool for Federally Conducted and Federally Assisted Programs (PDF)- May 9, 2011

Frequently Asked Questions about the Protection of Limited English Proficient (LEP) Individuals under Title VI and Title VI Regulations- March 2011

The Justice Blog, Renewing a Commitment to Language Access - February 2011

Memo to Federal Agencies Reaffirming the Mandates of Executive Order 13166 from Attorney General Eric Holder- February 2011

Language Access Obligations under Executive Order 13166 Memorandum to Heads and Department Components from Attorney General Eric Holder- June 2010

Executive Order 13166 Resource Page on

State Courts Language Access Initiative Materials on

Commonly Asked Questions and Answers Regarding Executive Order 13166: Providing Meaningful Access to Individuals Who Are Limited English Proficient to Federally Assisted and Federally Conducted Programs And Activities.

Training Video, Interagency Video Training Series on Communicating Effectively with Limited English Proficient Members of the Public, Federally Conducted Committee of the Interagency Working Group on Limited English Proficiency, YouTube Video

Updated November 21, 2022