Every physician who administers, prescribes, or dispenses any controlled substance must be registered with the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). As a resident working within your program, you are covered under the registration of your training hospital or institution. When you complete your training, you must obtain your own individual DEA registration. You will also need your own registration if you plan to moonlight outside of your program while still a resident.
Applying for your DEA registration
To apply online, go to www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov. When applying online, make note of the control number. Usually after one business day, you can go online (click on "Check the Status of My Application") to edit your online application or to find out if your application has been approved, issued, or renewed. You can also call 800.882.9539 to verify your application status. In order to check the status, you will need:
- The control number
- Your Social Security number
- Your date of birth
- The zip code for the facility where you have the application
When you first apply for a DEA registration, you must hold an active license in the state where you are going to practice. If the state requires its own controlled substance permit (about half of them do), you must also obtain this, or apply for it, before seeking federal DEA registration or renewal.
For more information about DEA office locations including contact information, view our comprehensive list of DEA offices by state.
Renewing your DEA registration
DEA registration is valid for three years. Approximately 60 days prior to the expiration of your DEA registration, a renewal letter will be sent to you at the address indicated on your current registration. Remember these tips to help your renewal go smoothly:
Whenever you move, you must submit a change of address to the DEA. This can be done either by calling the DEA at 800.882.9539 and following the steps outlined in the menu for address changes, or online by clicking on “Make Changes to My DEA Registration” on the homepage.
You will need your DEA number, last name, Social Security number and the current zip code and expiration date listed on the DEA you are updating. The post office cannot forward your DEA renewal letter. If you applied for an individual DEA registration while you were an intern or resident, the renewal letter will be sent to the address you used on the registration application. Don’t forget to inform the DEA of any move after completing your training program.
When you receive your renewal letter, make sure you complete the renewal online. Remember that it takes four to six weeks (online) and eight to twelve weeks (by mail) — and sometimes more — for the DEA to process your renewal. There is a 30-day grace period for your DEA renewal after the expiration date as long as your renewal is in process. If it expires before you receive your renewal, you may not administer, dispense, or prescribe controlled substances in the meantime.
Make sure that you submit the exact amount required for the application fee. If you fail to send the right amount, the DEA will return your renewal packet unprocessed.
For more information on new applications and renewals, visit https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drugreg/process.htm
Keep your DEA information up to date
Once your DEA registration has been issued, it is your responsibility to keep your DEA information up to date with your current license and Controlled Substance Permit (CSP) information (if applicable). Failure to keep your DEA information updated could result in termination of your DEA registration.
DEA registration and locum tenens work
If you will be taking locum tenens assignments, you'll need to update your DEA registration when you begin working in a new location.
For further information about the DEA's policy for locum tenens, please visit the DEA website at: https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/fed_regs/rules/2009/fr1028.htm
Change of Address Forms and Renewals Can Also Be Found Online
At any time, you can go to the “registration validation" link online and check to see if your DEA registration has been renewed. To verify your DEA registration, you will need:
- Your DEA number
- Your social security number
- The expiration date
If you would like a copy of your DEA license, go to the "Duplicate Certificate Request" link and then print a copy of your certificate.
Article last updated April 13, 2022.