New York State Unified Court System
NYSCEF: Unrepresented Litigants

Log-in to Start a Case

The information in this section is for people who want to start a new case by e-filing. The most important thing to understand is that you can e-file your papers with the court over the internet, but you will have to deliver (serve) hard copies of the papers to the other parties. Along with the hard copies of the papers, you have to deliver a Notice of E-filing. If the other side starts using NYSCEF you will not have to serve future papers, NYSCEF will do that for you. If the other side never e-files, you will have to continue to serve hard copies of all papers and upload Affidavits of Service to NYSCEF. See How Legal Papers are Delivered on CourtHelp for more information about service.

Most cases follow the same basic steps. Read the information below before you log-in. If you don't understand something you can ask the Resource Center or practice in the Training Site.

Basics Steps
  1. Case Information: You will be asked:
    • For the County and Court you chose to start your case. If you have not done this yet and are not sure which court to go to, visit CourtHelp, a Help Center, or a law library.
    • For the case type. There will be a drop down menu to choose from. Choose the one that you think is closest to your case.
    • For the names of the parties. Type in your name and the names of all the defendants/respondents exactly as you have written them on the caption of the court papers. If you are starting a special proceeding or a name change case, you must type in the caption differently from how it is written on the papers. Read Caption Information.
  2. Document Information: Before you upload your documents to NYSCEF, read about the information you will be asked to submit. The system will ask you for the names of the court papers and additional information for motions, proposed judgments, exhibits and papers containing personal information like a social security number or birth date.
  3. Payment: You will be asked to pay a filing fee. Visit Filing Fee to see what it costs to start a case in the court you are filing in. If you don't have money to pay for the court fees, you can file papers asking for a Fee Waiver, but you will have to do this at the courthouse. You can't do this in NYSCEF.
  4. Upload documents: You will be asked to attach your document and submit it to NYSCEF. Remember each document must be a PDF/A file and must be signed and notarized, if required. You will see a PDF/A Checker link that you can use to find out if your document is in the right format.
  5. After Documents are Uploaded: Learn what happens after you upload your documents and what you have to do. Read about confirmation notices, Notices of E-filing, and more that you may have to do for the court to consider your papers. After your documents are e-filed, you will get an email from NYSCEF with your Index or Claim number. Put this number in the caption of all your court papers.

Log-in to E-file
If you are ready to begin, choose the court you want to start a case in below. After logging in, you will need to choose your court again, and choose whether you are starting a case or filing into an existing case.
Appellate Court
Court of Claims
NYC Civil Court
Supreme Civil Court
Surrogate's Court