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CIA stands for CTR Importable Archieve. These files contain a compiled application which can be installed on CTR NAND, TWL NAND (part of the NAND used by DSi applications) and on the SD card. CIA files can be created with the Nintendo 3DS SDK and installed on the 3DS test units by the Dev channel.


The CIA format based on WAD format, so the structure is very similar to the WAD structure. The file is represented in little-endian.

CIA Header

0x00 0x03 0x04 constant header size = 0x2020 bytes
0x04 0x07 0x04 Reserved = 0
0x08 0x0B 0x04 Certificate chain size
0x0C 0x0F 0x04 unknown (Ticket size?)
0x10 0x13 0x04 TMD file size
0x14 0x17 0x04 Banner size (0 if no banner)
0x18 0x18 0x01 0 (reserved, flag?)
0x19 0x1C 0x04 APP file size
0x1D 0x20 0x04 unknown (0x80000000)

The order of the sections in the header also is the order of them in the CIA file:

  • certificate chain
  • Ticket
  • TMD file data
  • APP file data

The data of the files is decrypted.