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Electronic Self-Representation (eSR)


Important Warnings!

If you are filing bankruptcy to delay or stop a foreclosure proceeding on your home (or for some other emergency purpose), this system may not be the best option for you. eSR may delay the filing of your case for several days until the court receives the additional required items (see below) necessary to complete your filing.

Emergency New Case Filings Only: (773) 495-5842 and (312) 543-5460

Bankruptcy has serious long-term financial and legal consequences, and hiring a competent attorney is strongly recommended. Individuals filing for bankruptcy without an attorney are responsible for knowing and following all of the legal requirements.

Employees of the Bankruptcy Court Clerk's Office are NOT attorneys and cannot give you ANY legal advice.

If you would like to meet with an attorney for a FREE 30-minute consultation before filing bankruptcy, contact the Bankruptcy Pro Se Help Desk Click Here. For Chicago cases, call Legal Aid Chicago at (312) 229-6344. For Rockford cases, call Prairie State Legal Services at (815) 668-4402. Leave a message with your name, case number, and phone number.

What is eSR?

  • eSR is an online tool to help individuals prepare a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition when they have decided to file bankruptcy without an attorney.
  • eSR asks the user a series of questions and uses the data entered to automatically fill out official forms.  After each section is completed, the forms are available for viewing by the user.

Who can use eSR?

  • Individuals who live in the Northern District of Illinois filing Chapter 7 and 13.
  • eSR is NOT available to attorneys or bankruptcy petition preparers.
  • eSR is NOT designed for filings by corporations or other business entities. 

Why use eSR?

  • Although you must pay the required filing fee for a Chapter 7 or 13 case, there is no additional fee to use eSR.
  • eSR has a guided, step-by-step process that allows you at least 45 days to complete.
  • Your personal information is accessible only to you using a unique login and password assigned to you.
  • eSR is accessible 24 hours a day from any Internet-enabled computer.
  • There is no software to download or purchase.

eSR Computer Requirements

  • A computer or tablet with an Internet connection.
    Note: eSR will NOT work from a smart phone.
  • Adobe Reader (version 8 or higher).
  • Pop-up blocker must be disabled.
  • Printer.
  • Browser requirements - It is recommended that you use the latest version of Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome, or Safari.

How do I use eSR?

  • The law requires debtors to complete credit counseling BEFORE filing bankruptcy. To obtain credit counseling from an approved counseling agency, click here.
  • Assemble all your financial documents before your begin.
  • Review Filing Without an Attorney and these checklists:
    Chapter 7 checklist
    Chapter 13 checklist
  • Create a user profile, provide an email address which will serve as your login ID, and create a password for eSR.
  • Using eSR, answer questions about your property, income and debts, and submit the package.
  • See the flowchart on How to Prepare a Petition Using eSR here.

What happens AFTER I submit the eSR packet?

Do I have to pay my entire filing fee when I submit my packet?

You have the following options for paying your filing fee:

  • You can pay the filing fee in full by submitting cash in person at the court, a cashier’s check or money order, payable to "Clerk, U.S. Bankruptcy Court" at the time, or you submit your Declaration Regarding Electronic Filing (Self-Represented Individual) Form G-20) and the additional items required to complete your filing. Do Not mail cash to the court.
  •  You can request that the court allow the filing fee to be paid in installments by filing an Application to Pay Filing Fees in Installments (Official Form 103A). If application is approved,
    • The full filing fee must be paid in four equal installment payments (click here to access the date calculator).
    • The first installment payment must be paid within 30 days, and at least half of the filing fee must be paid within 60 days of the filing of the petition.
    • The final installment payment is to be paid not later than 120 days after filing the petition.
  •  If you are filing a Chapter 7 case, you may request that the court waive your filing fee by filing an Application For Waiver of Chapter 7 Filing Fee.

How do I submit my documents?

Note: A bankruptcy petition is NOT considered “filed” (and does not receive a case number) until all of the above-listed documents are received and processed by the court. Please note that the confirmation email that your eSR package has been submitted does NOT constitute filing. A Notice of Bankruptcy Case Filing will be provided to you when the case has been officially filed.

Can I make any changes after I submit my package?

If you need to make changes, AFTER you receive a confirmation number but BEFORE your bankruptcy petition is officially filed:

  • Log back into the Electronic Self-Representation website by clicking here.  
  • Click on Continue a Petition Packet Tab and login.
  • Click on drop down #6: Petition Package on the left side panel. Then click on the Review and Submit link.
  • Click on the checkbox at the bottom of the page “To restore this petition and make it available for changes…”. 
  • Click on Restore Package button.

eSR Help

  • For technical assistance with eSR, complete Contact Us to obtain an email reply or call the Bankruptcy Clerk's Office at (312) 408-5000.
  • To see Frequently Asked Questions, click here.

Start Online Petition

Start Online Petition eSR