Retrieving a File From NARA
The records management policy for the U.S. Courts is established jointly by the Judicial Conference of the United States and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
If you are interested in retrieving an archived file from the Federal Records Center (FRC), you may choose one of the options below.
Option 1-Order Direct from NARA:
If you need the entire file: To retrieve physical files from the Regional Archives & Records Center in Seattle there is a retrieval fee per file. The fee must be paid in advance by either cash, check or money order made payable to "Clerk, US District Court." Please provide the Clerk's Office with the case number and case caption when presenting the retrieval payment. The files are generally sent to the Clerk's Office within 5-7 days of receipt of the fee and are held for a prearranged time period.
The fee amount can be found in the District or Bankruptcy Filing Fees, under the Miscellaneous sections.
Civil/Criminal Retrieval Fee
Bankruptcy Retrieval Fee
If you need just documents: to request photocopies of archived civil, criminal and bankruptcy documents directly from the Regional Archives & Records Center in Seattle you may fill out the appropriate NARA Order Form.
When to use this method:
If you wish to retrieve a full case file to review (file will be shipped to the divisional office closest to you and fees will be paid at your local divisional office);
If you wish to retrieve documents that are in excess of 100 pages;
If you need to obtain a copy of a document and have it certified; or
If you are ordering documents only, order and payment transactions can be completed entirely online through NARA (fees will be paid online)
Option 2- Order using SmartScan Services:
If you know exactly what document you need and the document size is less than 100 pages, you may take advantage of the SmartScan Services offered by the FRC (orders of more than 100 pages cannot be broken into multiple orders- please use Option 1 above). This service will require a valid email address.
There is an additional service fee to use the SmartScan service. Processing fees must be paid in advance by either cash, check or money order made payable to "Clerk, US District Court" before order will be placed. Please call your local divisional office to initiate a SmartScan order. You will be asked to provide the Clerk's Office with case information so we may locate the file.
When to use this method:
If you wish to retrieve documents that do not exceed 100 pages;
If you do not need the document certified;
Payments cannot be remitted online and must be presented either in person or through the mail.
NARA Order Forms