eFiling is mandatory in all Texas district and county courts. There are some rare exceptions, but in most cases, attorneys may not paper file most documents unless it is an emergency. To eFile, litigants use an electronic filing service provider (EFSP) like InfoTrack to connect with the Texas electronic filing portal.
Exceptions to mandatory eFiling in Texas
Parties must eFile all documents. Exceptions exist in the following circumstances:
- Juvenile cases under Title 3 of the Family Code
- Truancy cases under Title 3 of the Family Code
- Documents filed under seal
- Documents presented to the court in camera
- Documents to which access is restricted by court order or law
- Other documents may be subject to exemption for good cause
A clerk of the court may not accept eFilings from a pro se litigant if that party has been found by the court to be a vexatious litigant. In this instance, the party must present an order from the local administrative judge to permit the filing.
Document and system requirements
All eFiled documents must comply with the JCIT Technology Standards approved by the Supreme Court (Tex. R. Civ. P. 21(f)(8)(D)).
Document requirements in Texas are similar to eFiling standards in most states. Your eFiled documents must must conform to these standards:
- All documents must be submitted as text-searchable PDFs with optical character recognition (OCR) applied. Scanned documents must also have OCR applied.
- Dimensions for filed documents should be 8.5” by 11” and rotated to portrait orientation.
- Where possible, documents should be directly converted to PDF instead of scanned.
- Fonts should be permitted by PDF application 1.4 should not include any embedded fonts.
- Documents must be unlocked without encryption or password protection.
- Each document should be a separate PDF file.
- Do not include any embedded videos, audio, or other multimedia.
- If submitting video or audio, the efileTexas.gov portal supports VLC media player and Windows media player. Any files submitted should be supported by those programs. If audio or video has been enhanced, the filer is required to also submit the original file.
- Document names can only include letters and numbers. Do not include special characters in file names for eFiled documents.
- Individual documents may not exceed 25 MB and the total combined size of all documents in a single filing may not exceed 35 MB.
- Some counties do not allow documents to be submitted with hyperlinks, including hyperlinks to email addresses. Check local rules.
- If exhibits must be submitted in two separate documents due to file size, the titles should reflect that they are multiple parts of the same series such as Exhibits Part 1 and Exhibits Part 2.
In addition to document requirements, Texas provides guidelines on basic system requirements. In order to eFile and eServe, you must have access to the following:
- A personal computer
- An internet connection, preferably high speed
- A current, up-to-date operating system, preferably a recent version of Windows or Mac OS
- An updated internet browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Microsoft Edge
- Software that creates documents in Microsoft Word and PDF. Word Perfect is allowed but not preferred
- PDF software such as Adobe Acrobat that allows the modification and merging of PDF documents
- A scanner with optical character recognition (OCR) capabilities
- An email account registered with the State Bar of Texas (required to file directly) or a registered account with an electronic filing service provider (EFSP)
- Any additional software requirements as specified by your preferred EFSP
Unless your documents are filed confidentially or under seal, sensitive information should be redacted in civil filings. The eFiling party must keep a copy of the unredacted documents. Sensitive information includes:
- Driver's license numbers, passport numbers, social security numbers, tax identification numbers, or similar government-issued personal ID numbers
- Bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or other financial account numbers
- Birth dates, home addresses, and the names of any persons who were minors at the time the plaintiff filed the lawsuit
Use commercially available redaction software to properly redact digital documents. If redacting a scanned document, use tape, liquid white out, thick paper, or a dark marker, and add the word “Redacted” before scanning. Be sure to check document metadata to ensure that redaction is not necessary.
Redaction rules do not apply to any sensitive data that you are required to include because of statute, court rule, or administrative regulation. Additionally, the initial pleading in a civil case must include the last three digits of the filing party’s drivers license and social security numbers.
Signatures on eFiled documents
At least one attorney of record must sign every pleading, discovery document, or other litigation document. Like paper filings, this is done in a signature block. For electronically filed documents, each attorney must include an email address in the signature block. Ensure that the email address does not generate a hyperlink for counties where links are prohibited.
On unsworn documents, the filer may type /s/ and the name of the filing attorney in the signature space. Unsworn documents may also include scanned or electronic signatures.
This is not sufficient on sworn documents, however. Documents that require a notarized and sworn signature must be signed with a handwritten signature. Some courts may also require a physically filed copy of sworn documents. Check with your local court for guidance.
eFiling fees in Texas
When submitting an electronic filing in Texas, you can expect to incur these fees:
- Standard court filing fees – These vary by county and type of filing. You can find the amount on the court’s fee schedule.
- Cost-recovery court filing fees – In some cases, a court may charge this fee to recover the cost of developing electronic processes.
- EFSP service provider fees – Some EFSPs charge a fee for the use of their services.
- Convenience fees – These are fees charged by the court to cover the cost of processing a credit card transaction.
Where to find rules and guidelines on Texas eFiling
Rules and guidelines for Texas are developed by the Judicial Committee on Information Technology (JCIT). See Tex.Gov't Code Ann. § 77.011; TX R TECH STAND Rule 1. For additional details on eFiling and eService in Texas, review these sources:
- Texas Rule of Civil Procedure (TRCP) 21, especially TRCP 21a which authorizes eService through efile.Texas.gov
- Your local court rules and procedures