What Is a Federal Charter?

A federal charter, or congressional charter, is issued by Congress and defines the mission, authorities and activities of a group or business and creates a legal entity out of that group or business, according to McClatchy DC. The federal government issued charters from 1791 to 1992, according to Wikipedia.

According to Investopedia, charters usually include the name, head office location, date of incorporation, amount/type of stock issued and any restrictions on areas of business activity. McClatchy DC states that a federal charter is similar to being incorporated at the federal level. Groups with federal charters include Girl Scouts of America and other veteran, fraternal, nonprofit or financial groups.