Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- What are the Clerk's Office hours?
- 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM Monday through Friday
- Where is the Clerk's Office located?
- Philadelphia - 601 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106-1797, Room 2609 on the second floor - Phone: (215) 597-7704 Fax: (215) 597-6390
Allentown - 504 Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA 18101-1500, Room 1601 on the first floor - Phone: (610) 434-3896 Fax: (610) 434-6174
- What telephone number do I call for.....
- Main Number? (215) 597-7704
Procedural Questions? (267) 299-7011 or (267) 299-7012
Electronically Filing Documents on CM/ECF? (267) 299-7017 or (267) 299-7146
Automated Services? (267) 299-7059 or (267) 299-7060
Financial Department? (267) 299-7106
Ordering a Transcript? (267) 299-7041 or (267) 299-7104
Records/File Room? (267) 299-7082
Interpreter Coordinator? (267) 299-7029
Jury Service? (267) 299-7299
Attorney Admissions? (267) 299-7099
Naturalization? (267) 299-7099
- What do I do in case of an emergency matter after hours?
- A deputy clerk is on duty in the Clerk's Office each weekday from 8:00 AM to 5:30 PM. Attorneys who wish to contact the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania during the evenings after 5:30 PM, or on weekends, may do so by calling (215) 597-0374, (215) 597-7272 or the toll-free number (800) 525-5726. These numbers connect with the office of the Federal Protective Service and the Court Security Office which is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Attorneys who call these numbers will be referred to the clerk or a deputy clerk on duty. This service is available for attorneys who have to file an injunction, ship an attachment or other emergency business during non-business hours.
- How do I know if the courthouse is open in the event of inclement weather?
- In the event of inclement or otherwise extreme weather conditions, the public is urged to call the court's Code-A-Phone line for a special announcement on whether the courthouse will be closed or if trials have been canceled for that day. A recorded message on the toll-free number (800) 829-0189 will be accessible from about 5:30 AM. Attorneys and jurors are requested to call this number before leaving their office or residence to attend court. It is also suggested that the public tune into radio and television news stations, which will also broadcast announcements if jury trials have been adjourned or if the courthouse will be closed for that day. If no announcement is made by 6:00 AM and there is no special message on the recording, it should be assumed that court will be in session and jurors are to report for jury duty as scheduled.
- What are the geographic boundaries of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania?
- The Eastern District of Pennsylvania consists of the following counties: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton and Philadelphia.
- As an attorney, how do I become admitted to practice in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania?
- Application for admission to the bar of our court may be obtained at the front counter of the Clerk's Office. Admission ceremonies are held once a week. The fee for attorney admission is $201.00. There is an $18.00 fee for a duplicate certificate of admission or certificate of good standing. For further information on attorney admissions, refer to Local Civil Rule 83.5 or call the Attorney Admissions Clerk at (267) 299-7099.
- How can an attorney be admitted Pro Hac Vice?
- An attorney who is admitted to the Eastern District of Pennsylvania may file a motion for an out of state attorney to appear Pro Hac Vice. The Pro Hac Vice admission fee is $40.00. The Attorney Admissions Application (Pro Hac Vice) form may be obtained here.
- How do I obtain a Certificate of Good Standing?
- Certificates of good standing are available in the Office of the Clerk of Court for a fee of $18.00. Please contact the Attorney Admissions Clerk at (267) 299-7099.
- What are the filing fees?
- The filing fee for a Complaint or Notice of Removal is $400.00. (This has been established pursuant to a decision of the Judicial Conference of the United States to assess a $50.00 administrative fee pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 1914(b) (in addition to the $350.00 filing fee established by 28 U.S.C. 1914(a)). This $50.00 administrative fee shall not be charged to petitioners in civil actions seeking habeas corpus relief pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 2241-2266.)
The filing fee for a Notice of Appeal is $505.00.
The filing fee for a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus is $5.00.
The filing fee for a Miscellaneous Case is $46.00.
- Who should the check be made payable to?
- Clerk, United States District Court
- What is the time period for responding to motions?
- Unless otherwise ordered by the court, you have 14 days from the date on the Certificate of Service to file a response to a Motion. Refer to Local Civil Rule 7.1.
- How do I have notice of the Entry of Orders and Judgments sent to me by facsimile?
- In order to participate in the program, a Facsimile Transmission Authorization form must be executed to authorize the Clerk of Court to serve notice of the entry of Orders and Judgments, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 77(d) or Fed.R.Crim.P. 49(c), by facsimile in lieu of notice by means of mail. A Facsimile Transmission Authorization form may be obtained by contacting the Office of the Clerk of Court at 2609 United States Courthouse, 601 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106-1797 (267) 299-7059 or (267) 299-7060 or a request for the form may be sent by fax to (215) 597-6390. All forms are to be returned by mail or in person.
- What filings are accepted in the Allentown Divisional Office?
- The Allentown Office will accept all filings, including Bankruptcy Court filings.
- What forms/papers are needed to file a Complaint or Notice of Removal?
- The forms needed for filing a Complaint or Notice of Removal are: one (1) Civil Cover Sheet, two (2) copies of the Designation Form, and one (1) Case Management Track Form, along with a $400.00 filing fee. Please see additional information on the Clerk's Office Procedural Handbook page.
- How do you execute a Judgment?
- A Judgment may be executed 14 days after it has been entered. You may obtain a Writ of Execution Package (forms) from the Clerk's Office.
- When are Motions heard?
- To obtain this information, contact the Courtroom Deputy to the Judge assigned to the case.
- How much time do you have to serve a Summons?
- You have 120 days to effectuate service of a summons.
- How much time do you have to file a Bill of Costs?
- There is no time specified for the filing of a Bill of Costs.
- How much time do you have to file a Notice of Appeal?
- For civil cases you have 30 days from the date that the order was entered to file a Notice of Appeal. If the Government is a party to the action, the time for filing a Notice of Appeal is 60 days from the date that the order was entered.
For criminal cases, defendants have 14 days from the date that the order was entered to file a Notice of Appeal.
- How much time do you have to file a Motion for Reconsideration?
- You have 14 days from the date the order was entered to file a motion for reconsideration.
- When can you request a Default Judgment?
- The procedure for requesting Default/Default Judgment may be found in Rule 55 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
- Do you time-stamp copies of filings over the counter?
- The Clerk's Office does not time or date stamp filings over the counter. You may receive a date-stamped copy of a filing by providing a copy of the filing along with a self-addressed stamped envelope.
- How many years of civil and criminal cases do you have at the District Court?
- All active civil and criminal cases are in the records room. We retain closed civil cases from the present year and the three previous years. Closed criminal cases are kept for seven years in the records room.
- Do I have to come into the Clerk's Office to review a closed civil case file and obtain a copy of the pleading?
- No. You may write or fax a request to the correspondence department in the Clerk's Office in Philadelphia. The fax number is (215) 597-6390. To obtain a copy of a document the cost is $.50 per page. There is an additional fee of $11.00 for a certified copy. If the file is located at the Federal Records Center (FRC), you'll need to contact the Records Room at (267) 299-7082 to obtain a form that reflects the file's accession number, location number and box number. Alternatively, a blank form can be obtained here, but the Records Room would need to be contacted to obtain information for the form. The public submits the form via mail, fax or e-mail directly to the FRC to request copies of documents. The FRC does not provide on-site court case review services to the public. In order to obtain a case file from the FRC for your review at the District Court, please contact the Records Room. The fee for this service is $64.00.
- How do I get a copy of an electronic docket and what is the cost?
- You may submit a request in person at the Clerk's Office in Philadelphia. You may also submit a request in writing or by fax to the correspondence department in the Clerk's Office in Philadelphia. The fax number is (215) 597-6390. To obtain a copy of a docket the cost is $.50 per page. Alternatively, you may obtain the docket through the PACER system. The cost is $.10 per page of electronic access (via the Internet). The fee for using PACER to obtain copies is limited to 30 pages per document or docket (i.e., $3.00).
- How do I perform a search?
- Searches can be done through the PACER system. The cost is $.10 per page of electronic access (via the Internet). Alternatively, you could come to the Clerk's Office in Philadelphia and perform the search for free using terminals available on the second floor of the courthouse. You could also request to have a search done for a $30.00 fee by writing or faxing a request to the correspondence department in the Clerk's Office in Philadelphia. The fax number is (215) 597-6390.
- How do I file documents in the Eastern District?
- Documents for filing in the Eastern District may be filed:
- Electronically on the ECF (Electronic Case Filing) system in accordance with Local Civil Rule 5.1.2.
- Any attorney that has been excused from registering as an ECF Filing User in accordance with Local Civil Rule 5.1.2 is required to file the document on a disk in PDF format with a courtesy copy and a signature form on file. The document submitted on disk constitutes the original. Attorneys are required to submit a signature form (one-time only). After the signature form is submitted a signature code is provided by the Clerk's Office. The filing attorney is to place the signature code on the signature line of the courtesy copy. Copies of documents served on counsel are to contain the signature of the filing attorney and not the code.
- or -
- Is an ECF login and password different from a signature code?
- Yes. The ECF login and password is utilized to access the ECF system and to file documents electronically. The signature code is utilized for documents that are not filed electronically. The signature code is to be placed on the signature line of the courtesy copy that accompanies the filing on disk in PDF format.
- Do I need an ECF login and password and a signature code?
- Yes. An ECF login and password is required to file documents electronically. A signature code is required to file documents by attorneys that are excused from registering for ECF and for filing documents excluded from electronic filing in accordance with Local Civil Rule 5.1.2.
- If I filed a document electronically do I need to submit an original document?
- No. The electronic filing is the original document.
- Do I need to complete a Validation of Signature Form for every document I file?
- No. Only one signature form per attorney needs to be submitted. After submission of the signature form the Clerk's Office will issue a code. The attorney is to place the code on the signature line of all courtesy copies of the filed documents.
- When and how do I receive my signature code after I submit the signature form?
- The signature code will be sent to you by e-mail in 1-2 days. If an e-mail address is not available, the information will be sent by fax or mail.
- What should I do if I misplaced my signature code or my ECF login and password?
- Call 1-866-ECF-4ECF for assistance.
- Why have I received a non-compliance notice when I have submitted a signature form and already received a code?
- If you do not file electronically using ECF, the code must be placed on the signature line of the courtesy copy of the document. Also, a disk with the document in PDF format must accompany the filing. The document on disk constitutes the original.
- Is my validation code secure?
- The validation code is to be placed on the courtesy copy of the document and not on the document in PDF format. The courtesy copy is only for use by the court. Copies of documents served on counsel are to have a signature and not the code. The document in PDF format is placed on the ECF system for viewing by ECF and PACER users.
- If I scan a document into PDF do I still need to use the signature code?
- Yes. The code must always be placed on the signature line of the courtesy copy, if you do not file electronically using ECF.
- If I am admitted pro hac vice do I need to use a signature code?
- Is there a size limit for PDF documents? Can I place the file on a CD?
- The size limit for converting files to PDF is 5.0 MB per file. A document over 5.0 MB may be divided into separate files. Documents may be submitted on a CD.
- Is there training available for the ECF system and the procedures for filing documents?
- Training is conducted on a regular basis for ECF, creating PDF files and the requirements of Local Civil Rule 5.1.2. Please call 1-866-ECF-4ECF to register for the training.
- How do I change my name, address, telephone number, fax number, and/or e-mail address for the Eastern District including CM/ECF?
- You can login to the ECF system and make the changes yourself. Alternatively, you can submit a letter describing your change of name, address, telephone number, fax number, and/or e-mail address and applicable cases. Please see Mail Sent to the Court for where to write. The Mail Sent to Counsel form cannot be used for this purpose. The attorney's signature must be on the letter. The change would only apply to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The letter can be faxed to (215) 597-6390. In the case of a name change, you'll need to include a copy of your marriage certificate or other documentation that supports the change.
- What are the formatting requirements (i.e., fonts, margins, etc.) for documents filed in the Eastern District?
- There are no such requirements for complaints. However, some of the judges may have requirements in their own policies and procedures for other pleadings.
- What are the transcript fees?
- For an ordinary transcript (delivery in 30 days), the fee is $3.30 per page.
For an expedited transcript (delivery in 7 days), the fee is $4.40 per page.
For a daily transcript (delivery in 1 day), the fee is $5.50 per page.
For an hourly transcript (delivered within 2 hours and set up in advance), the fee is $6.60 per page.
For a realtime unedited transcript, the fee is $3.05 per page for 1 feed, $2.10 per page for 2 - 4 feeds, and $1.50 per page for 5 or more feeds.
For copywork, the fee is $.83 per page.
For overnight copywork, the fee is $1.10 per page.
All payments are due in advance.
- How do I obtain a transcript?
- Transcripts can be ordered by calling (267) 299-7041 or (267) 299-7104. Alternatively, the Transcript Order Form (Appendix Y of the Clerk's Office Procedural Handbook) can be faxed to (215) 597-6390 or sent by first-class mail to the court. Please use the address for the Clerk of Court indicated in Mail Sent to the Court and include the notation Attention: Transcripts.
- Will I be needed to do a presentence report following a plea?
- The Court Interpreter Coordinator will contact the probation office 2 days prior to the proceeding and ask if an interpreter will be needed for the presentence report. The Coordinator will notify the interpreter if they are needed.
- Will the courtroom be set up with microphones, etc.?
- The Court Interpreter Coordinator will contact the Assistant United States Attorney 3 days prior to the proceeding and ask them to contact the agent and have their technician set up the courtroom.
- Why am I serving as a juror in Philadelphia if I don't live in Philadelphia?
- The United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania's jury pool includes nine counties: Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton and Philadelphia.
- Is daycare available?
- No. If you have children under the age of 10 that you are required to care for, you are exempt from jury service. In order to be exempt from jury service in this case you must return your questionnaire stating your reason for seeking the exemption.
- Where do I park for jury duty?
- Courthouse Locations provides maps of courthouse locations and parking information.
- How long will the trial last?
- You will be informed of the approximate length of the trial when you appear before the judicial officer and counsel for the voir dire process. All jurors are randomly chosen and we have no idea of which case they will be assigned until the time they are chosen.
- What will happen to me if I fail to appear for jury duty?
- Any person summoned for jury service who fails to appear as directed may be ordered by the district court to appear forthwith and show cause for failure to comply with the summons. Any person who fails to show good cause for noncompliance with a summons may be fined not more than $1,000, imprisoned for not more than three days, ordered to perform community service, or any combination thereof.
- What is a grand jury?
- The function of a grand jury is to determine whether there is probable cause to believe that a federal crime was committed and that a specific person or persons committed it. If the grand jury finds probable cause, it will return a written statement of the charges called an indictment, and the case will proceed in the court.
- How long does a grand jury sit?
- A grand jury usually sits once a week for a period of 18 months.
- Will I be sequestered?
- Federal jurors are rarely sequestered.
- I was recently a juror in my county and was told that I would be exempt for several years. Why am I being called for jury duty?
- You have been summoned for Federal jury duty. Your service in your county only satisfied your duty for county jury duty.
- I am a veteran. Am I exempt?
- No. (Only if you are in active service.)
- How do I request a postponement or excusal for jury duty?
- Requests for postponements or excusals will not be accepted by e-mail. All such requests must be made in writing, signed by the prospective juror and sent by first-class mail to the court. Please use the address for the Clerk of Court indicated in Mail Sent to the Court and include the notation Attention: Jury.
- I was recently summoned for federal jury duty, but after calling the court's Code-A-Phone system I found that I was not required to report. Why am I being called again?
- Your federal jury duty is satisfied only after you physically appear in the U.S. Courthouse for jury selection. At the completion of such service, you will be excused for at least two years.
- How do I become placed on the roster of Criminal Justice Act attorneys?
- Contact the Federal Defenders Association at (215) 928-1100.
- How do I get a passport returned?
- A passport may be returned after sentencing and only upon the court's Order.