How do you access US court proceedings/records if you are not a US citizen? I've tried using the Pacer website, however, they require a verification code, which is posted to you (if you live in the US) or a US bankcard for immediate access to searching. Is there any other website? How do non-us press access court proceedings for example?

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    Which court do you want? Federal court?
    – Putvi
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 17:36
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    Can you indicate a specific step in the registration process that you think limits it to citizens (or US residents), maybe with a screen shot? Commented May 7, 2019 at 17:53
  • Pacer is for Federal courts, so I presume that is what the OP is asking about. Commented May 7, 2019 at 18:15
  • @Putvi I'm trying to get access for a case in the New York Criminal Court. Not sure if that's Federal, District etc. Commented May 8, 2019 at 15:53
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    @garrettlynch normally the transcriptionist is not employed by the court, but provides the service to the court for a fee. You would have to contact the person who hired the transcriptionist or that person and pay them. The transcript doesn't automatically get added to the case. What you see on TV where they read off what was said is in big publicized cases, where they go ahead and make copies because they know people will want it.
    – Putvi
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 16:25

2 Answers 2


I run CourtListener.com and RECAP and I hear this question from time to time. It depends a little on what kinds of data you're after. Some folks need court data in real time as it's published by the courts, other folks just want to follow particular cases, etc.

I think your options are

  1. A commercial provider. Maybe Lexis or Bloomberg? I admit I don't know these options particularly well, but it's probably an option.

  2. You could use our services, depending on your needs. In the RECAP Archive, we have millions of documents. We get a lot of these from journalists that use our RECAP Extensions, so if it's stuff that's in the news, it can work particularly well. We also do bulk downloads of court data for researchers, but I'm guessing that's probably not your use case.

  3. I think the final option is to use a gift card from Visa or another provider. I think if you have a friend in the US, you could buy one, send it there, and they could send you photos of the card to help you out. If this is to gain PACER access and if you need an American address, we could probably lend you our address (we're a non-profit, this is part of our mission, and not a big deal).

  • I'd like to get access to a New York Criminal Court case's transcripts. It's still in process - waiting for the sentencing on the 9th of May. I can see the case on nycourts.gov but no transcripts there. I've searched RECAP and it doesn't appear there (does the case need to be complete?). Not clear on how the extension works. Commented May 8, 2019 at 16:16
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    RECAP only has PACER content, so we won't have stuff from nycourts.gov. For that you'll want to go the route of either the commercial providers or contacting the court directly if it's just a one-off. Transcripts are particularly hard (and often expensive) though, because they're often done by 3rd party stenographers. My advice, if this is "all" you need is to contact the court directly and start working with them. I bet they'd give you the info you needed for the transcript.
    – mlissner
    Commented May 8, 2019 at 20:53
  • Yes reading on the nycourts.gov website I found some details that state I should contact the clerk or the stenographer if that fails. Will try this. Thanks. Commented May 9, 2019 at 11:43

I don't know if they look at your IP and send you to a different site if you are overseas, but you should be able to click next through all the forms and register even if you are not from the U.S.

  • The poster thinks that they will only send the verification code by mail to a U.S. address. Commented May 7, 2019 at 18:25
  • I just went through it online and it worked. I just wondered if they send you to a different site if your IP shows you are outside the U.S.
    – Putvi
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 18:26
  • Just to clarify, registration is fine, however, once you want to search you need to enter the verification code they send you by post or enter a US credit card. Commented May 8, 2019 at 15:33

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