Frequently Asked Questions

To register, fill out the online registration form. There is no cost for registration.
The PACER Service Center bills quarterly and sends a statement by mail or a notice of billing email. Fees are waived when usage is less than $15 for the quarter. Payments may be made on the PACER website (under Manage My Account), or by calling the PSC at (800) 676-6856 to pay a balance using VISA, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express. If you pay by check, please include your account information to ensure that payment is posted to the correct account.

Mail payment to:

    PACER Service Center
    P.O. Box 71364
    Philadelphia, PA 19176-1364
The Client Code field is optional, so you may leave it blank. You can use this field to help track groups of transactions.

The client code feature can be useful to firms working with multiple clients and would like to have those transactions grouped separately for their internal billing process.

For more information regarding client code settings for your PACER account, go to Manage My Account. Log in with your PACER username and password and click on Set PACER Preferences.
Yes. The Client Code field allows you to enter a code that is up to 32 characters to track charges.

You must enter or change the client code before you perform any operation that results in a charge; otherwise, it will not appear on the bill. The client code feature is optional; however, you can make the Client Code field mandatory for your PACER account in Manage My Account. Log in and then click Set PACER Preferences.
The PACER Service Center's tax identification number is 74-2747938.
Log in to Manage My Account and select the Usage tab, and click the View Detailed Transactions option.
The $.10 per-page charge is based on the number of pages that result from each search and each requested report or document. The charge is not based on printing. Here are some examples that may help you understand how charges are generated:

Enter party name "johnson, t" and receive 2 pages of matches. The charge is $.20.

Enter case number 01-10054 and select Docket Report after locating the case in the PACER Case Locator (PCL). The docket is 10 pages, so the charge is $1. (You may enter a date range to limit the number of pages by displaying entries for the date range rather than all entries in the report.)

Select the link within the docket report to view a document. The scanned document is 5 pages, so the charge is $.50.

Please note that there is a 30-page cap for documents and case-specific reports (e.g., docket report, creditor listing, claims register). You will not be charged more than $3 when you access documents or case-specific reports that are more than 30 pages. However, the 30-page cap does not apply to name search results, lists of cases, or transcripts (when available online).
In 1988, the Judiciary sought appropriations from the U.S. Congress in order to provide electronic public access to court records. However, Congress did not provide the funds and instead directed the Judiciary to fund the initiative through user fees. As a result, the program relies exclusively on fee revenue.

For a current electronic public access fee schedule, click here. All registered agencies or individuals are charged a user fee of $0.10 per page. This charge applies to the number of pages that results from any search, including a search that yields no matches (one page for no matches). You will be billed quarterly.

The Judicial Conference of the United States approved a measure in September 2011 stating that you will not owe a fee unless your account accrues more than $15 of usage in a given quarter. If you accrue less than $15, your fees are waived for that quarter.

In September 2003, the Judicial Conference amended the language of Section I of the Electronic Public Access Fee Schedule for the appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts, the United States Court of Federal Claims, and the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (adopted by the Judicial Conference pursuant to sections 1913, 1914, 1926, 1930, and 1932 of title 28, United States Code). The schedule places a cap on the per-page charge, with a maximum $3, the equivalent of 30 pages, for electronic access to any single document. For example, a 50 page document that would cost $5 at $0.10 a page is capped at 30 pages and only costs $3. Users will receive the entire 50-page document but are only charged $3. Each attachment in CM/ECF sites is considered a separate document. Therefore, the cap will apply to each attachment over 30 pages separately. The cap does not apply to name searches, reports that are not case-specific, and transcripts of federal court proceedings.
Yes. There is a fee for retrieving and distributing case information for you:

  • $30 for the search, plus $0.10 per page per document delivered electronically, up to 5 documents (30 page cap applies).
  • If you want printed copies, the fee is $30 plus $0.50 per page (30-page cap does not apply) instead of $0.10 for email.
  • If you want documents in another case, a new $30 fee will apply.
  • If we search and fail to find anything, the fee is $30.
  • Search fees must be collected before any documents are delivered.
Government agencies are not exempt from PACER fees. The fees are the same for all users of the system.
For credit to be considered, it is necessary to submit a Credit Request Form. The form must be completed according to the instructions outlined in the document.
Account holders must submit a letter of request along with a Refund Form to receive a refund for payments made to the PACER Service Center. The request cannot be processed without both a letter of request and form. Click here for a copy of the Refund Form. For information regarding the purpose of the refund form, please see the United States Treasury website. Please allow 4-6 weeks for payment processing. In some cases, refunds will be issued via electronic funds transfer. The refund will appear as a credit to your checking or savings account.
At this site:
  1. Log in to Manage My Account.
  2. Click Usage.
  3. Click View Detailed Transactions.
  4. In the Sort Order field, select Client Code.
  5. Specify the date range and click Submit.
In forma pauperis status does not automatically entitle you to free access to PACER. Users must petition the court separately to request free access to PACER.
  1. Log in to Manage My Account.
  2. Click Usage.
  3. Click View Quarterly Invoice/Statement of Account.
In a September 2002 session, the Judicial Conference approved amendments to the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedures and the Official Bankruptcy Forms. The amendments implement the conference policy on privacy and public access to electronic case files. These amendments took effect at all courts on December 1, 2003. As a result of this decision, only the last four digits of the SSN are displayed on all reports. However, the full SSN can still be used to perform searches to identify debtors.
It is the attorney's responsibility to inform clients that case files may be obtained electronically and to ensure private information is not included in the case files.
In the event that federal debt collection is necessary, the tax ID may be used in that effort. It is not used for other purposes.
For an account that is not under a PACER Administrative Account (PAA), a quarterly invoice is generated for the attorney. An email is sent to the attorney, indicating the invoice is ready to be viewed/downloaded. If the account is under a PAA, an invoice is not generated for the attorneys account; instead, the PAA is billed. An email is sent to the PAA administrator, indicating the firm's bill is ready to be viewed/downloaded.
Some bankruptcy courts offer limited information through the VCIS (Voice Case Information System) application. Access to the VCIS is currently offered at no cost and can be accessed through a touch-tone phone. Click the link for a list of phone numbers.
For a current list of the PACER policies and procedures, click here.
Yes. Access privileges are suspended for any account that causes an unacceptable level of congestion or disruption to the operations of the PACER Service Center, a federal court, or another PACER user. In addition, any attempt to collect data from PACER in a manner that avoids billing is strictly prohibited and may result in criminal prosecution or civil action.
No, any person can register for a PACER login.

You may search by case number, party name, Social Security number, or tax identification number in U.S. bankruptcy courts. In district courts, you may search by case number, party name, or filing date range. And for appellate courts, you may search by case number or party name.

The PACER Case Locator offers more advanced search capabilities.
To obtain information beyond the case summary, docket entries, and copies of documents filed in federal cases, you will need to contact the court directly. Click here for links to federal court home pages.
If you cannot locate a case when searching by case number or party name, you should try using the PACER Case Locator. This will generate a listing of nationwide court locations and case numbers where a party is involved in federal litigation. However, if you cannot find the party through the PCL, then contact the jurisdiction where you think the case was filed.
If there is a discrepancy found with case information, notify the PACER Service Center (PSC). The PSC will then contact the court to resolve the issue.
Courts have copies of filed documents available through the Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system. For more information about CM/ECF, click here.
Case information is available in PACER once it has been filed or entered in the courts Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system.

For PACER users, if you have forgotten the username or password for your PACER account, click the Forgot Your Username/Password? button on the left menu.

For appellate filers, some appellate courts have converted to a Next Generation Case Management/Electronic Case Files (NextGen CM/ECF) system, while others use the legacy system. Check the court links page to see if your court has upgraded to NextGen.

If you have forgotten your username or password, click the Forgot Your Username/Password? button on the left menu and select from the Legacy or NextGen options. NOTE: There is no username retrieval option for legacy courts.
You may need to adjust the settings in your Adobe Reader. Make sure the PDF is not being displayed in your web browser by disabling the web browser integration or Allow Fast Web View options. Then open a new browser to view the document.

Check the version of Adobe Reader you are using, then try the following:
  • Settings for Adobe Reader 6.0-9.0
    • On the toolbar, Select Edit->Preference->Internet.
    • On the right side of the screen, uncheck the following features:
    • Display PDF in Browser
    • Allow Fast Web View
PACER accounts typically become active within an hour of registration. If you used the instant registration process to establish the account today, click here to log in now. For others who are unable to log in, make sure your username and password are not being recognized by the system.

A cookie-enabled browser is required. If you have successfully entered a PACER website before and are still receiving an invalid user message, you may have a corrupt cookie stored on your system. Delete all cookies stored on your system and try again.
Once case information has been filed or updated in the Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system, that information is available through PACER immediately.
Each court maintains its own case information database; therefore, there will be some variation among jurisdictions as to the date ranges of information offered. Please contact the court directly for additional details.
No, PACER access is for federal courts only.
Select Save As under File in the browser toolbar. Make sure the file is saved with the extension ".html."
Yes.
Some courts provide automatic case notification through the use of Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds. PACER users can easily stay informed of newly docketed events by subscribing to a court's RSS feed, which is free and includes automatic notification of activity in all cases, summarized text such as the name of the document filed, with links to the document and docket report. Results may be sorted by date or case title. There are many commercially available RSS readers that allow you to organize and filter the results further. Log in to PACER to view the document or docket report linked from the RSS feed. To learn which courts have implemented RSS, please visit the court links page. Click on the court's RSS feed icon to display the feed.
You are automatically logged out when you close your browser.

The PACER Case Locator is a national locator index for PACER systems in the U.S. appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts. Each night, subsets of data are collected from each court and transferred to the PCL nightly.

The PCL allows searches by party name or Social Security number in the bankruptcy index, party name or nature of suit in the civil index, defendant name in the criminal index, and party name in the appellate index. The search will return the party name, the court where the case is filed, the case number, date filed, and date closed.
The PACER Case Locator is at http://pcl.uscourts.gov. If you are a registered PACER user, you will automatically have access to the PCL with your username and password.
This varies from court to court. The Court Information menu in the PACER Case Locator shows available date ranges for the cases in each court.
To see more detailed information about a case, you will need to access the courts Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) site. You can access that site and other detailed case information from the PCL by clicking on the case number.
A nature of suit code is a tool for categorizing the types of cases filed in the federal courts. This code is the basis of all federal caseload statistics produced by the Federal Judiciary.
All courts participate in the PACER Case Locator.

Only the attorneys who e-file are required to have their own PACER account, as it is eventually tied to their e-filing account(s). A paralegal can use an attorney's PACER account instead of creating his or her own. In addition, staff members who share a PACER account for only research may continue to share.
No, not immediately. However, attorneys will need to have their own PACER account when their court implements the NextGen CM/ECF system.
No. We do not accept registrations by spreadsheet. Users should set up their own accounts. This is recommended (as opposed to someone setting them up for everyone) because the security information and DOB they enter will be required to reset their password if they forget or misplace it. We can no longer verify or mail passwords.
The option to upgrade your PAA is now available. You do not have to upgrade immediately, but when you log in at pacer.gov, a message will prompt you to upgrade when you try to use any PAA options besides viewing usage or making a payment.
For an account that is not under a PACER Administrative Account (PAA), a quarterly invoice is generated for the individual attorney. An email is sent to the attorney, indicating the invoice is ready to be viewed/downloaded. If the account is under a PAA, an invoice is not generated for the attorney's account; instead, the PAA is billed. An email is sent to the PAA administrator, indicating the firm's bill is ready to be viewed/downloaded.
A credit card is not required to register for a PACER account. For district and bankruptcy e-filing, a credit card may be required, and filing fees are still processed through the court.
If the attorney's account is under your PAA, you can unlink the account so that you are no longer responsible for their PACER charges after they leave the firm.
While we do not recommend setting up accounts for others, we understand this is a common practice at many firms. A new account may be created at pacer.gov/register. When setting up an account for a user, it is important to use the correct DOB for the individual, as the DOB is permanent to the account.
A new employee would provide you with his or her last name and 7-digit PACER account number. If the employee does not have a PACER account, they would need to create one and then provide the account number so you can add them to your PAA. The account is not added until the attorney logs in and accepts the request to add. The user will get an email letting them know the request was made. There is a Remove PACER Account from My PAA option in the PAA Maintenance tab of Manage My Account. The user also has the option to remove their account from the PAA.
Once it is added to the PAA, the account will be activated within a few minutes. You can check the status of the request by clicking View All My Requests under Manage My Account.
An account can be added to your PAA using the attorney's last name and 7-digit account number for the account you want to add. Use the Manage My Account option on the PACER website to add the new user. When the individual accepts the PAA invite, he or she will be linked to the PAA.
PACER and ECF accounts will remain separate until a court implements the next generation of CM/ECF (NextGen CM/ECF). The appellate courts are the first to do this. Other courts will subsequently implement NextGen over the next few years. Courts may post information on their websites as their implementation date approaches.
A user cannot add an account to your PAA. You must invite the user to join your PAA, and they must accept the invite. As the PAA administrator, you can unlink the account at any time, and the individual user can also unlink at any time.
Accounts under the PAA will not generate a bill; all charges will be billed to the PAA.
The user does not link to the PAA during registration. After the user registers, the PAA administrator uses the individual's last name and 7-digit account number to add them to the PAA. When the individual accepts the invitation to link the account, he or she is then added to the PAA.
The attorney should log in to Manage My Account. The account number is the 7-digit number above the username.
Filing fees are separate from PACER fees. Attorneys will pay for filing fees separately. The PACER Service Center will bill for PACER use only.
The PACER account they use now for searches (called a legacy PACER account) will go away once they upgrade their PACER account. Upgrading their account will be required when the court in which they e-file implements NextGen CM/ECF. When they enter the ID they use for e-filing in a court that has implemented NextGen CM/ECF, they will get a message and will be prompted to link their upgraded PACER account to their e-filing ID. At that point, they will use only the upgraded PACER account when logging in to that court's site.
The e-filer will be prompted to link their e-filing account to their upgraded PACER account when they log in to a NextGen court for the first time. (The appellate courts will be the first to do this. Other courts will subsequently implement NextGen over the next few years.)
Upgrading a PAA consists of creating a username, creating a password, adding a DOB (re-adding if you already have one on file), selecting a county (new required field), and selecting and answering two security questions.
Yes. An email will be sent to both the administrator and the user when an account is unlinked from the PAA.
No. An account under a PAA does not generate an individual bill. Therefore, the credit card they used during registration will not be charged.
The existing client code requirement for a PAA will continue. The requirement will extend to newly added accounts at approximately 6 PM on the day the account becomes part of the PAA. The client code requirement for an account will be overwritten with the client code requirement of their new firm's PAA.
Changing a password, updating contact information, setting security information, or changing account preferences would not be possible without upgrading the PACER account. For a PACER Administrative Account (PAA), it would not be possible perform management functions such as adding or unlinking an account, viewing a list of accounts, or assigning cost center information in addition to the functions mentioned above for a PACER account, without upgrading the PAA.
We offer a PACER Administrative Account (PAA), which allows groups to receive one invoice and pay for all charges associated with multiple PACER accounts. When an attorney joins or leaves the firm, he or she can be linked or unlinked from the PAA.
You can continue to use one account for case searches. The security information and DOB will be required in order to reset a password in the event it is forgotten or lost. We can no longer verify or mail passwords. Please keep this in mind when deciding whose information to use.
Yes. Any balance (including credit) will be transferred to the PAA.

There are a few reasons this issue may be occurring. The PDF may be form-fillable and needs to be flattened so that it cannot be edited or altered by other users. To do this:
  1. Open a fillable form and add the necessary data.
  2. Click File and select Print.
  3. Select the Adobe PDF printer and click OK or Print.
  4. In the pop-up window, select where to save the "flattened" version of the form.
  5. Click Save and file the form in CM/ECF.
Another issue may be the size of the document. Check with the court to make sure the document is the correct size for filing. In addition, make sure the PDF does not contain marks or logos with links to the site of the company that developed the product, as the court will not accept these files.
To prevent users from editing your form fields in a fillable PDF, you must "flatten" or lock the form before saving.
  1. Open a fillable form and add the necessary data.
  2. Click File and select Print.
  3. Select the Adobe PDF printer and click OK or Print.
  4. In the pop-up window, select where to save the "flattened" version of the form.
  5. Click Save and file the form in CM/ECF.
The document should now be "flattened" and cannot be altered.
To convert to PDF:
  1. Open the document in your word processing application.
  2. Click File and select Save As.
  3. Click the Save type as dropdown.
  4. Select PDF and click Save.
To create a PDF:
  1. Open the document in your word processing application.
  2. Click File and select Print.
  3. In the Printer dropdown, select a PDF printer.
NOTE: The Adobe PDF printer may be automatically installed with you download Adobe Acrobat. If it was not, you can find several free PDF printer drivers online. Once downloaded, you should be able to select the PDF printer from the printers list and create a PDF.
Your document may change depending on the font type, font size, printer, and other layout parameters in your original file. You can go to adobe.com for some troubleshooting tips. If the issue is with your printer, try setting your PDF printer as the default printer before opening the document. Then open the document and edit it to correct any formatting issues. Save the document and convert it to a PDF again.
For Adobe 6 through XI:
  1. Click Edit and select Preferences. Then select Internet.
  2. In Adobe X and XI, uncheck Display in Read Mode by default. In Adobe X or earlier, uncheck Display PDF in browser.
  3. Uncheck Allow fast web view.
  4. Close Adobe.
Be sure to close your web browser and reopen a new session to allow the changes to take effect.

If you are currently registered to e-file in a federal court that has announced it will be converting to NextGen CM/ECF, you will need an upgraded PACER account.

If you do not have an upgraded PACER account, click this link. Log in with your PACER username and password, and click on any of the options in the Settings tab. You will then be prompted to convert your account.

If you do not have a PACER account, click this link and complete the registration. If you need assistance choosing a registration option, use the Registration Wizard for help.

See the next question to determine if you have an upgraded PACER account.

You may also use the Existing Attorneys or PACER Only Users electronic learning module for a step-by-step guide on how to upgrade your account.
The easiest way to identify whether you have an upgraded account is:
  1. Upgraded PACER accounts have usernames with at least 8 characters. If your username is 6 characters, you do not have an upgraded account.
  2. Log in to Manage My Account and look for "Case Search Status Active."
  3. If your username is 8 characters or more, and you see Case Search Status Active after logging in to Manage My Account, you have an upgraded PACER account.
If you do not have an upgraded PACER account, click this link. Log in with your PACER username and password, and click on any of the options in the Settings tab. You will then be prompted to convert your account.

NOTE: When you log in to Manage My Account, it may say Account Status Active. This indicates you have a PAA, which can only be used for billing purposes and not for case search access.

If the Case Search Status says Inactive, contact the PACER Service Center for assistance at (800) 676-6856 between 8 AM and 6 PM CT Monday through Friday, or by email at pacer@psc.uscourts.gov.

To learn more about the PAA, review the PAA electronic learning module at pacer.gov.
If you intend to e-file, you are required to have your own PACER account because your PACER account will be linked to your e-filing account.
You should upgrade before your court converts to NextGen CM/ECF.

To learn more about upgrading your account, review the electronic learning modules for Existing Attorneys or PACER Only Users, and the Maintenance tab of Manage My Account.
Only e-filers are required to upgrade their accounts right now. However, you will need to upgrade your account in order to perform any maintenance functions outside of making a payment.
Now you should wait for the court to convert to NextGen CM/ECF to proceed.

NOTE: Once the court coverts to NextGen, you will link your filing credentials (login and password) to your upgraded PACER account. You must know both sets of credentials to link the accounts. You should not rely on the browser to remember these credentials.
Click here to reset your PACER account password. If you have an old appellate e-filer account, click here to reset your password.
Yes, there are several electronic learning modules (ELMs) that can help you learn more about the NextGen CM/ECF system.
Check the court's website here or here for information about the conversion schedule.

The court links page will show the word "NextGen" next to any court that has converted.
You must link your old e-filing privileges to your new upgraded PACER account.

See the previous questions to determine if you have an upgraded PACER account, and for links to upgrade if you have not done so already.

To learn more about upgrading your account, review the electronic learning modules for Existing Attorneys or PACER Only Users, and the Maintenance tab of Manage My Account.
Follow the instructions below to link your e-filing and PACER accounts.
  1. Make sure that you are logged out of PACER completely and close your browser.
  2. Open your browser and go to the ECF website of the court where you are registered. If you do not have the web address, you can link to it from here.
  3. Click the CM/ECF Document Filing System link. At the login screen, log in with your upgraded PACER account credentials.
  4. Click Link my filer account to my PACER account.
  5. Enter your old e-filing CM/ECF login and password to link your accounts.
From this point forward, use your upgraded PACER account credentials to log in to file and/or view any NextGen CM/ECF court.

If the linking process failed, please try again. Make sure your username is all lowercase. In addition, you may click here to reset your old e-filing password.

NOTE: If you are linking for someone else, be sure you know whose accounts you are linking because this process cannot be undone once you click Submit.
If the linking process does not work, you must log in with your upgraded PACER account and submit a new e-file request for the court:
  1. Log in to Manage My Account.
  2. Click the Maintenance tab.
  3. Click either Attorney Admissions/E-File Registration or Non-Attorney Admissions E-File Registration.
You will then need to wait for the court to process the request before e-filing privileges are activated.

To learn more about submitting a new e-file request, review the electronic learning module for the Manage My Account Maintenance tab.
You must log in with your upgraded PACER account and submit a new e-file request for the court:
  1. Log in to Manage My Account.
  2. Click the Maintenance tab.
  3. Click either Attorney Admissions/E-File Registration or Non-Attorney Admissions E-File Registration.
You will then need to wait for the court to process the request before e-filing privileges are activated.

To learn more about submitting a new e-file request, review the electronic learning module for the Manage My Account Maintenance tab.
Only e-filers are required to upgrade their accounts right now. However, you will need to upgrade your account in order to perform any maintenance functions outside of making a payment.
While the Federal Judiciary does not recommend this practice, it is possible to share a PACER account if you are only viewing case information.

NOTE: Anyone with the username and password for this account can potentially update information (e.g., password) that could lock out other users who also share the account.

If you intend to e-file, you are required to have your own PACER account because your PACER account will be linked to your e-filing account.
If you have two PACER accounts, upgrade the private account. Contact the PACER Service Center by email to move your existing exempt privileges. PSC staff will provide access instructions by email.

The Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system allows courts to maintain electronic case files and offer electronic filing online, making all case information immediately available.
  • Registered attorneys to file documents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • Organizations can reduce their paper, photocopies, postage, and courier costs.
  • Full case information is available immediately to attorneys, parties, and the general public.
  • The out-of-pocket cost of participation for attorneys is typically very low.
CM/ECF is available in most district, bankruptcy, and appellate courts. For a complete list of the CM/ECF courts, visit: http://www.pacer.gov/cmecf/ecfinfo.html.
To dispute a transaction for which you have been billed, or if you have a question concerning a transaction, submit the following so that your request can be reviewed:

  1. Complete and sign the Credit Request Form.
  2. Include a detailed explanation to support the credit request.
  3. Include the transaction details annotating those being disputed.
Credits cannot be issued until after the quarterly statement has been generated.
Yes. When a document link is accessed, the next screen will display information regarding the number of billable pages and the related cost. To accept the charges, click the View Document button. The PACER cost is $0.10 per page with a cap of $3 per document, except transcripts.
There is no additional fee associated with the CM/ECF system.

Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) is an electronic public access service that costs $0.10 per page. PACER allows users to obtain case and docket information from federal appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts. The cost to access a single document is capped at $3, the equivalent of 30 pages. The cap does not apply to name searches, reports that are not case-specific, and transcripts of federal court proceedings.

By Judicial Conference policy, if your usage does not exceed $15 in a quarter, fees are waived.
Attorneys in a case are emailed a notice of electronic filing (NEF) in district and bankruptcy cases or a notice of docket activity (NDA) in appellate cases. The email contains a hyperlink to the document filed and is sent when a document has been filed or when there is activity in the case.
Each attorney of record in a case (including pro se litigants) will receive an email message containing a hyperlink to a document that has been filed. One free copy is available to each attorney of record and any secondary address listed under the email information screen.
Yes. A fee is applied for accessing a docket sheet and any documents accessed from the link on the docket sheet.
Each federal court maintains an appropriate use statement for filing logins. In addition to the local appropriate use guidelines, the following applies in all federal districts: Passwords are issued to permit electronic filing and entry of data. Extracting data from CM/ECF through any program, script or mechanism other than those provided by the court is strictly prohibited and may result in criminal prosecution or civil action. Electronic filing privileges may be suspended if, in the judgment of the court, they are being misused.
Local court rules vary. Contact the court or check its website to determine if there are local rules governing this process.
The system is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week (except for routine or emergency maintenance that should be posted on the courts website).

Yes. You must register through CM/ECF, and the court must approve you as a filer. You need to register for each circuit in which you wish to file. Click here for more information.
Rule 5(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 5005(a) of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, Rule 25(a) of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, and Rule 49(d) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure authorize individual courts by local rule to permit papers to be filed by electronic means. Amendments to Rules 5(b), 6(e) and 77 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, Rules 45 and 49 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, Rules 25 and 26 of the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, and Rules 7005, 9006, 9014 and 9022 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, authorize service of documents by electronic means if parties consent. The amendments do not apply to service of process.

Most courts have issued an authorizing local rule; most have supplemented the local rule with a general order and/or procedures that set forth the relevant electronic filing practices in that court. Individual court rules and procedures are generally available on their websites.
When a document is filed in CM/ECF, a notice of electronic filing (NEF, for district and bankruptcy courts) or notice of docket activity (NDA, for appellate courts) is automatically generated and emailed to the registered parties in the case. The NEF and NDA include the text of the docket entry, the unique electronic document stamp, a list of the case participants receiving email notification of the filing, and a hyperlink to the document(s) filed. Most recipients will receive one free look at the document when they click on the document number link.
Currently, this is a matter for local court rule or order. All courts using electronic filing treat the use of an attorneys unique system login and password as a signature. Most courts require that attorneys retain copies of certain paper documents, such as affidavits or bankruptcy petitions, containing original signatures of third parties, for a set period of time.
The Administrative Office of the United States is currently working on archiving standards that meet the guidelines of the National Archiving and Records Administration. Currently the open and closed cases will reside on the CM/ECF server.
The cases report displays summary data for a range of cases. It can be used to produce a list of open or closed cases between a date range. For example, it can produce a list of cases filed or discharged. In addition, there are a number of options to help limit the results.

The cases report can be found under the Reports menu option in CM/ECF. The report is NOT subject to the 30-page limit on PACER charges, so users should use caution when running the report.
The notice of electronic filing (NEF for district and bankruptcy courts) or notice of docket activity (NDA for appellate courts) that is emailed to the registered parties in the case, lists the parties and their preferred method of receiving the notice.
Access to the PDF document may be restricted in the following instances:

  • Only the attorney of record in certain types of cases (e.g., Social Security, Immigration) may view PDF documents remotely;
  • In district courts, you should be able to view all criminal documents except those under seal through the NEF. However, most criminal case documents filed in district court prior to November 1, 2004, may be viewed only by the attorney of record.
You cannot delete or edit filings after they have been submitted through CM/ECF. If you made an error (filed in the wrong case, submitted the wrong version of a document, etc.) contact the clerk's office.
An associated case is a case the court has identified as being related to another case because the cases involve the same parties or the same, similar, or related issues of law. An associated case will appear in the Applied Case Selection box on the File a Document screen. A document may be filed to all the associated cases listed, or the user may deselect (uncheck) cases in the list. If an associated case(s) is deselected (the case will appear in bold), the event is only filed to the lead case. If the case is selected, the document is filed to the associated case(s). The selected associated case(s) is displayed at the top of most of the document filing screens.
You may have either saved the document as something other than a PDF, or you did not provide the full file path name. All documents must be saved and submitted as a PDF, with an extension of ".pdf." In addition, be sure to provide the full path name when identifying the file during the upload process (e.g., C:somedirectorydocumentsmotion.pdf.)
To sign up, visit the BNC's public website, at www.ebnuscourts.com, read the information provided, download and complete the registration form, and submit it to the BNC.

Yes, the public can access case data in CM/ECF unless it has been sealed by the court. The user must enter a PACER login and password. For those currently not registered with PACER, use the following link: http://www.pacer.gov/reg_pacer.html to register for a PACER account.
Access to the filing portion of CM/ECF is available to authorized users only. Authorization and training of users is provided by the practicing CM/ECF court. Check with the individual court for details on filing privileges.
Yes. The system requires two separate usernames and passwords; however, once the court implements the next generation (NextGen) CM/ECF system, you can use the same username and password for both. Go to the court links page on this website to find out if your court has upgraded to NextGen.
Registration for appellate ECF is separate from and in addition to PACER registration. PACER registration allows you to view docket reports and documents from a courts database, while ECF registration allows you to file documents electronically. If you have a legacy PACER account, you must complete a separate ECF registration to request filing privileges via this website. You will not have to register at each courts website separately; however, you must request e-filing privileges from each court in which you wish to file.

Click here to register for an appellate filer account.
In order for an attorney to be authorized to e-file and to receive email notices of documents that are filed, he or she must be admitted to practice in the court and registered to e-file with the specific court providing the CM/ECF system.

For district and bankruptcy courts:

Each district/bankruptcy court has its own requirements and procedures for registering. Visit http://www.pacer.gov/cmecf/ecfinfo.html for a complete list of the courts that offer CM/ECF and to learn more about their systems.

For appellate courts:

You may register to become an e-filer in appellate courts and bankruptcy appellate panels through this website. Check the court rules to find out who is permitted. Click here to view more information about the registration procedures.

Please note that attorneys from all court types must register for PACER in addition to requesting filing privileges in order to fully utilize the capabilities of the CM/ECF system.
To register for filing status in other appellate courts, you will need to log in here.
Each court has its own procedures and requirements.
Contact your local court to see what training sessions may be offered. Most courts offering CM/ECF access will provide an online tutorial, training database, FAQs, and a user manual. If a training database is provided, participants should use it to practice filing before filing a document in the live database.
The firm PACER account can be used for the query component of CM/ECF. However, the next generation (NextGen) CM/ECF allows you to use the same username and password for both PACER and e-filing. Therefore, you must register for your own PACER account at http://www.pacer.gov/reg_pacer.html.
You do not need to register for CM/ECF more than once. Even if you change firms, your login remains valid. However, you must update your contact information (address, email, etc.).

For district and bankruptcy courts:

Use the Utilities option of the district and bankruptcy CM/ECF systems to update your contact information with the court. In addition, the PACER Service Center recommends that attorneys review a court's website for specific requirements related to firm changes.

For appellate courts:

Appellate court filers should make contact updates through the Manage My Appellate Filer Account section of this website. Select Personal Info/Address Updates in the Maintenance tab. Add the new address or update the existing address. (NOTE: Your address cannot be updated until the address submitted with your initial registration has been approved by at least one court.)

Once you submit your request, the information will be transmitted electronically to the appropriate court for processing. It is possible to maintain different addresses for each circuit, but your username and password will be the same for each.
If your current PACER account is shared among the firm you are leaving, then you must establish a new PACER account. A PACER account may be obtained by registering here: http://www.pacer.gov/reg_pacer.html.

If your PACER account is not shared among staff at your current firm, it may move with you. You may update the contact information on this website. Log in to Manage My Account with your PACER username and password and update the contact information.
You can make updates to personal information such as address, password, email notification preferences, etc. The process for making changes depends on your court's CM/ECF system.

For district and bankruptcy courts on the legacy CM/ECF system:

In CM/ECF, click on Utilities and select Maintain Your CM/ECF account.

For appellate courts on the legacy CM/ECF system:

Make updates through the Manage My Appellate Filer Account section of this website.

For appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts on the next generation (NextGen) CM/ECF system:

Make updates through the Manage My Account section of this website.

To find out if your court uses a legacy or NextGen CM/ECF system, go to the court links page on this site.
The second login prompt is requesting your PACER username and password, which is required whenever you request a report or document from a case while logged in as an e-filer.
Look for a few of these common problems:

  • If you have a legacy PACER account, your username should be entered in lowercase letters followed by four numbers. If you have an upgraded PACER account, enter the username you selected that is more than 8 characters.
  • Make sure the proper username and password are being used for the proper database. (PACER login for querying; CM/ECF login for filing, if you have a legacy PACER account).
  • Verify that the recommended browser is being used, which is a current version of either Firefox or Microsoft Internet Explorer.
  • Check the location of the website. The training database is located at: https://ecf-train.COURT.uscourts.gov, while the live database is at: https://ecf.COURT.uscourts.gov (without the train), where COURT is the code for the particular court. Typically, appellate courts do not have training databases.
  • The browser needs to be set to accept all cookies and must be JavaScript-enabled.
When an attorney leaves a firm, both the attorney and the firm need to consider the implications to the CM/ECF noticing system. For district and bankruptcy courts, if cases will move with the attorney, he or she should change the email notification setup and submit a change of address to the clerk's office. For appellate courts, the attorney can update his/her address information in the Manage My Appellate Filer Account section of this website.

For courts that use the next generation (NextGen) CM/ECF system, this can be done through the Manage My Account section of this website.
It is possible to use the same filing login in all appellate courts. Click here to register for the ability to file documents electronically with appellate courts. If you have already registered to file and would like to add courts, click here.

Because each bankruptcy and district court assigns the login for filing privileges in the CM/ECF system, it is not possible to obtain a universal filing login in these court types. However, some courts allow you to request a particular login and password when you register, so you may be able to use the same filer login for many courts.

Once a court implements the next generation (NextGen) CM/ECF system, you can use the same login credentials for all courts.
Use the following guidelines to ensure you can access the Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) system for free when performing CJA duties:

  • First, determine whether the court uses a legacy or upgraded CM/ECF system by going to the Court Links page on the PACER website.
  • When logging in to a court that uses the legacy system, enter an "X-" in front of your username to indicate your exempt status.
  • If you log in with an "X-," PSC will validate whether this is a court in which you are indeed exempt. If you are not exempt in that court, all transactions will be billable.
  • If you need to switch between exempt and non-exempt accounts, you should log out and log in again with or without the X-. When you log in without the X-, your account activity will be billable.
  • When logging in to a court that uses the upgraded CM/ECF system, enter your credentials to log in, and then use the toggle switch to self-select your exempt status.
  • Use the toggle switch to alternate between exempt and non-exempt status.
  • If you do not self-select exempt status, you will be billed for your account activity.


NOTE: If you are logged in as a CJA attorney, make sure you are only doing CJA work. Exempt usage is closely monitored by the court, and you will be subject to charges if you are not doing exempt work.
In district and bankruptcy courts:

Electronic access to Social Security Administration case documents is limited to parties in the case. In addition, documents from criminal cases filed prior to November 1, 2004, are only available electronically to the parties in the case. Contact the clerk's office for information about viewing copies. Criminal documents filed after November 1, 2004, are available electronically through PACER.

In appellate courts:

Viewing certain document types (Social Security and immigration) in an appellate CM/ECF court may be restricted.
To register for filing status in other appellate courts, you will need to log in here.
When you register through the PACER Service Center to become an e-filer, the registration information is forwarded to each circuit in which you registered. The court will review each request, so processing times will vary. You will receive an email confirmation from the PACER Service Center when your registration request is processed to inform you of the court's determination. If there is an emergency situation and you need to file immediately, contact the clerk's office for assistance.
The clerk's office reviews attorney filings as part of its quality control procedures. In the event the deputy clerk finds an error or needs to modify the docket text for the event and the filing, the deputy may make the changes and send a new NDA to the case participants. If you receive a second NDA for a filing and cannot determine the reason for the second Notice, please call the office of the clerk from which the notice was sent.
Requirements for Certificates of Service vary depending by circuit. Contact the circuit to determine if there are local rules governing this process.

Each attorney of record in a case will receive an email containing a hyperlink to a document that has been filed and can be viewed the first time for free. Attorneys may list multiple email addresses for their filer login so that interested parties can be notified of filings as well.

The link expires after the earlier of these two events: the first use or 15 days. You should print or save the document during the initial viewing period. If you click the link after it has expired, you will need to enter your PACER login information and will be charged to view the document.

  • If the document is for certain case types (e.g., a restricted, Social Security, or immigration case), the system will prompt to log in. Always enter your CM/ECF login/password. If you log in using your PACER information, you will lose your free copy. NOTE: As courts convert to the next generation (NextGen) CM/ECF system, you will only use one login for both PACER and CM/ECF. Go to the court links page on this website to see if your court has converted to NextGen.
  • If you click on the case number link, it will display the Docket Report. You will need to log in to PACER to view this report, and you will be charged for access.
Yes.

For district and bankruptcy courts:

Attorneys may authorize duplicate receipt of the NEF for up to 5 support staff member. To add email recipients, the attorney should use the Maintain Your Account/Email Information option under the Utilities menu.

For appellate courts:

Attorneys may authorize duplicate receipt of the NDA for several support staff members, depending on the length of email addresses (up to 255 characters).

To add email recipients, the attorney should log in to Manage My Appellate Filer Account on this website and use the Update Noticing Preferences option in the Personal Info/Address Updates section.
No, not if the link has not already been used. If you forward the email without clicking the link, the email recipient can view the document for free. Anytime after the first viewing, a charge will be incurred to view the document. The document should be saved during the first viewing.
CM/ECF participants receive an email notification of activity in each of their cases containing a link to one free copy of the document that has been filed. The recipient should save the document to view or print later.

NOTE: To save the PDF, make sure the Acrobat Reader is opening in a separate window and not in your browser.

1. Click the document link.
2. The document loads into Adobe Reader.
3. Click the diskette icon in the top toolbar.
5. A dialog box entitled Save As appears over the document.
6. Complete the following data fields:
  • Save in: Designate the drive and directory to save the file.
  • File name: Name the file. Example: Public, JQstaymotion.pdf.
  • Save as type: Leave at Acrobat (*.pdf) default.
7. Click the Save button to store the document in the drive and folder you designated.
8. You can now view or print the document at a later time.
The email may have gone to your junk email folder. If a recipient inadvertently identified a previous court email as spam, the ISP may be blocking email from the court. Contact your ISP to rectify this situation. Some ISPs may automatically route court email to a junk mail folder. Go into your junk mail folder and mark the email from the court as "not junk mail."
You may need to change the settings in your PDF viewer. If you are using Adobe, use the following steps:

1. Click Edit, then Preferences, then Internet.

2. Uncheck Allow Fast Web View and Display PDF in Browser.