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Can I Tour FBI Headquarters?

Yes, but visits require up to a month of advanced notice.

Seeing the FBI HQ (as some in the know might call it) is a pretty great way to experience the increasingly important work the FBI does to protect this city – and this country.

You must arrange your visit through your Congressional office. The FBI requires up to a month for advance notice from Congressional offices prior to your visit; this is because the FBI will perform a security check on all visitors. The visit itself will take about two hours.

The FBI Headquarters is located between 9th and 10th Streets NW. The closest Metro subway stops are Federal Triangle on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines, Gallery Place/Chinatown and Metro Center on the Red line, and Archives/Navy Memorial on the Yellow and Green lines.

J. Edgar Hoover Building - FBI Headquarters - Washington, DC

More on the FBI Building and Tour

The tour of the FBI is actually one of the oldest ones around. It started in 1937, when headquarters was in a different place. In fact, until 1975, the main offices of the FBI were housed in the Department of Justice building. In 1975, the FBI moved to its current location, the J. Edgar Hoover Building, off of Pennsylvania Avenue.

After Sept. 11, the tour closed for security reasons. Never fear, sleuths of all ages. It’s now back open and, we’d say, better than ever. The tour was modernized and updated in 2008, as the FBI created a full-fledged Education Center to assist in teaching the public the importance and central role of the FBI in law enforcement and national security.

But what does the FBI actually do?

Surely, you’ll learn just a bit more about that on the tour, but we can clue you in on a couple things. The FBI’s mission is to protect the United States from internal and external threats, whether clear and imminently dangerous, or more metaphysical and long-term, all with the goal of improving the security of our nation. The FBI has grown and changed since its inception, now incorporating both intelligence and law enforcement in its mandate. That means it works to uphold local and national laws, but also investigate those hard-to-define threats. And, OK, since you probably aren’t a special agent, we can tell you some of the things these important people, stationed all over the world, look into: domestic and international terrorism, counterintelligence, cyberwarfare, corruption, civil rights, organized crime (the “mob”), white-collar crime and more.