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EDVA ECF Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • How can I pay my filing fees? The EDVA currently accepts electronic payment from e-filers through for civil initiating documents such as complaints, petitions, notice of removals, Application to Proceed without Prepayment of fees and Affidavit, Application for Pro Hac Vice and Notice of Appeals. All other filing fees should be paid in the traditional way: by cash, check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa, over the counter or by U.S. mail. No cash payments are allowed for the Newport News division. All non-e-filers will not be allowed to electronically file or pay fees online.
  • What technology do I need to get started? You need the following basic technology to work in the ECF system:
  1. word processing software,
  2. connection to the Internet and an Internet browser,
  3. an e-mail account,
  4. software that allows you convert to Portable Document Format (PDF), and
  5. a scanner, possibly, for non-text or non-electronic documents.
  6. For more details, see the "Getting Started" section of the E-Filing Policies and Procedures manual.

  • How secure is CM/ECF? CM/ECF has many security features and has passed an evaluation by the National Security Agency.  However, filing users are responsible for maintaining the security of their login and password.

  • Do I have to be admitted to the EDVA bar to register for filing in CM/ECF? Yes, you must be admitted to practice in VAED to become an e-filer or government agency.

  • Are there character limitations on creating a new password for ourselves? Passwords must be at least eight characters long and include both uppercase and lowercase alphabetic characters and at least one digit or special character (for example, 0-9, @, #, $, %, *,+).
  • In the Written Opinions Report, what is the purpose of the Last Name/First Name blocks? The Last Name/First Name blocks are data entry fields to search for written opinions by party name. Business names should be typed in full in the Last Name field.
  • Can I check to see which parties in the case are ECF filing users before I file a document, so that my certificate of service is correct and so that I know to whom to send a paper copy of the document with the NEF? Take the following steps to find out who will or will not receive a NEF in a particular case:
  • Click on Utilities on the main blue menu bar once you have logged into CM/ECF.
  • Click on Mailings.
  • Click on Mailing Info for a Case.
  • Enter the case number in the white box.
  • Click on the Submit button.
  • How do you add additional attorneys to associate with the case? File a Notice of Appearance.Note:  Simply adding the name of another attorney in the same firm at the bottom of the document or as part of the filing user's signature block does NOT add that attorney to the case.  In fact, no attorney's name, other than the filing user, should appear in the document's signature block.  If more than one attorney signs the document, the Multiple Signatories policy should be used, which requires a full nine-element signature block for each signature.
  • How should I handle cover letters to the clerk? If you find it necessary to send a cover letter with your electronic filing, you can file the cover letter as an attachment to your main document.  If you should attach a cover letter to your main document, please remember that attachments become part of the official record of the case.  For instructions on how to add attachments to your main document, please see the Attachments to Documents section of the E-Filing Policies and Procedures manual.
  • Do I have to file a Motion and Memorandum in Support as separate documents? Yes, if  you create the motion and memorandum in support as two separate documents.  In other words, if both your motion and memorandum in support have their own signature blocks and their own heading (court name, division, case style, case number, and document title), then you have two separate documents that must be filed separately.  Please file the motion as one entry and the memorandum in support as a separate entry in which you link the memorandum to the motion it is supporting.  Always file the motion before filing the memorandum in support.Yes or no, depending on how you create the documents. No, if you create them as one document, with a single heading and only one signature block.  If you file the motion and memorandum in support as one document, be sure to text into the white rectangular box the fact the the document includes a memorandum in support as well as the motion.
  •  How should we file documents with multiple signatures that are NOT consent orders, such as a joint motion with a proposed order? The joint motion should be filed electronically, following the procedure for multiple signatories, with the proposed order as an attachment.  See the E-Fiing Policies and Procedures manual, Multiple Signatories.  When selecting the filer of the document, be sure to select the party you represent. If filing a joint motion, you may text in the name of the opposing party when presented with a text box before committing the transaction.
  • What if I docket the wrong document after receiving a NEF? Contact the clerk's office immediatley for further direction.
  • What if an attachment to an electronically filed document is exempt from e-filing? If an attorney is electronically filing a document that has an attachment or exhibit that is exempt from e-filing, the attorney should replace the exempt document with a placeholder stating that the document was submitted to the Clerk's Office on paper.  The attorney should clearly indicate on the paper document which exhibit the document is and for which case, so that the Clerk's Office will know into which case and with which electronically filed document the document goes with when received.  The attorney must file both the electronic document and paper attachment timely. Contact the clerk's office if you have additional questions.
  • When adding or creating a party, should we include fictitious names or akas? (e.g., ABC Crop d/b/a Universal Floors, etc.) Doing business as, also know as, etc. are alias names and should be added as an alias to the party when the party is added to the case.
  • Does each person who receives a NEF get one free look?  For example: two attorneys of record and one case manager.Yes.  The primary addressee (the attorney who is the filing user) gets one free look.  The filing user can add more than one secondary e-mail addressee, and all secondary addressees will receive NEFs and one free look for the entire law firm.  All recipients from the same law firm must take this free look by clicking on the document number link within the e-mailed NEF and must do so within 15 days of receiving the e-mailed NEF.  Once the person has taken the free look and used that opportunity to print and/or electronically save the document, or once the 15 days has expired -- whichever comes first -- the person will have to go through PACER and pay to look at, save, and/or print the document.
  • Can we stop receiving NEFs in specific cases? If you file a Notice to Discontinue NEFs, the Clerk's Office will turn off notices for you for that particular case.  Note:  If the primary e-mail addressee is not receiving NEFs, the secondary e-mail addressee won't receive NEFs either.
  • Why am I not receiving NEFs? It's possible that your e-mail spam filter is blocking the NEFs from arriving in your e-mail box. Please check your system, and make sure that e-mails from the CM/ECF address ( are getting through. It is also possible the Notice box was never changed from No to Yes when you added yourself to the case. The Notice box must say Yes if you want to receive NEFs.