The information below is based on the official bankruptcy form instructions booklet for individuals (PDF 119K) that the government is providing for the first time as of December 1, 2015 and updated in 2020.
Before You File Your Case
Before you file for bankruptcy, you must do several things:
- Receive a briefing about credit counseling from an approved agency within 180 days before you file. (If you and your spouse are filing together, each of you must receive a briefing before you file. Failure to do so may result in the dismissal of your case.) You may have a briefing about credit counseling one-on-one or in a group, by telephone, or by internet.
For a list of approved credit counselling providers, go here:
In Alabama and North Carolina, go here:
After you finish the briefing, you will receive a certificate that you will need to file in your bankruptcy case.
- Find out in which bankruptcy court you must file your bankruptcy case. It is important that you file in the correct district within your state. To find out which district you are in, go to County Bankruptcy Court Info:
- Check the local court’s website for any specific local requirements that you might have to meet. Go to County Bankruptcy Court Info:
- Find out which chapters of the Bankruptcy Code you are eligible for. For descriptions of each chapter, review the information contained in the notice, Notice Required by 11 U.S.C. § 342(b) for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy (Form B2010), which is included in this booklet: Instructions for Individual Debtors (PDF).
When You File Your Case
There are several forms and documents that you must give the court at the time you file. Additional forms and documents must be filed no later than 14 days after you file your bankruptcy case, although they may be filed at the same time you file your case.
You must file the forms listed below on the date you open your bankruptcy case. For copies of the forms listed here, go here. (The list continues on the next page.):
Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy (Official Form 101). This form opens the case. Directions for filling it out are included in the form itself.
Statement About Your Social Security Numbers (Official Form 121). This form gives the court your full Social Security number or federal Individual Taxpayer Identification number. To protect your privacy, the court will make only the last four digits of your number known to the general public. However, the court will make your full number available to your creditors, the U.S. trustee or bankruptcy administrator, and the trustee assigned to your case. This form has no separate instructions.
Your filing fee. If you cannot pay the entire filing fee, you must also include:
Application to Have the Chapter 7 Filing Fee Waived (Official Form 103B). Use this form only if you are filing under chapter 7 and you meet the criteria to have the chapter 7 filing fee waived.
- A list of names and addresses of all of your creditors, formatted as a mailing list according to instructions from the bankruptcy court in which you file. (Your court may call this a creditor matrix or mailing matrix.)
- Your credit counseling certificate from an approved credit counseling agency. (See Before you file your bankruptcy case, above). If you have received the briefing about credit counseling but have not yet received the certificate, file it no later than 14 days after you file for bankruptcy. If you have not already received the briefing and believe you are entitled to a temporary waiver from receiving it or that you are not required to receive the briefing, see line 15 of the Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy (Official Form 101).
- For Individual Chapter 11 Cases: List of Creditors Who Have the 20 Largest Unsecured Claims Against You and Are Not Insiders (Official Form 104). Fill out this form only if you file under chapter 11.
- Initial Statement About an Eviction Judgment Against You (Official Form 101A) and Statement About Payment of an Eviction Judgment Against You (Official Form 101B). Use Form 101A if your landlord has an eviction judgment against you. If you complete Form 101A and you want to stay in your residence for the first 30 days after you file, you must indicate that on the form. Use Form 101B if you have completed Form 101A and you want to stay in your rented residence form more than 30 days after you file for bankruptcy.
- Bankruptcy Petition Preparer’s Notice, Declaration, and Signature (Official Form 119) and Disclosure of Compensation of Bankruptcy Petition Preparer (Form 2800). Use these forms if a bankruptcy petition preparer typed your forms.
When you file your bankruptcy case or within 14 days after you file
You must file the forms listed below either when you file your bankruptcy case or within 14 days after you file your Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy (Official Form 101). If you do not do so, your case may be dismissed. Although it is possible to open your case by submitting only the documents that are listed under When you file your bankruptcy case, you should file the entire set of forms at one time to help your case proceed smoothly.
Although some forms may ask you similar questions, you must fill out all of the forms completely to protect your legal rights.
The list below shows the forms that all individuals must file as well as the forms that are specific to each chapter. For copies of the official forms listed here, go to http://www.uscourts.gov.
All individuals who file for bankruptcy must file these forms and the forms for the specific chapter:
Schedules of Assets and Liabilities (Official Form 106) which includes these forms:
- Summary of Your Assets and Liabilities and Certain Statistical Information (Official Form 106Sum). This form gives an overview of the totals on the schedules
- Declaration About an Individual Debtor’s Schedules (Official Form 106Dec)
Credit counseling certificate that you received from an approved credit counseling agency
Copies of all payment advices (pay stubs) or other evidence of payment that you received within 60 days before you filed your bankruptcy case. Some local courts may require that you submit these documents to the trustee assigned to your case rather than filing them with the court. Check the local court’s website to find out if local requirements apply. Go to https://www.uscourts.gov/courtlinks.
If you file under chapter 7, you must also file:
If necessary, Chapter 7 Means Test Calculation (Official Form 122A-2)
If you file under chapter 13, you must also file:
- Chapter 13 Statement of Your Current Monthly Income and Calculation of Commitment Period (Official Form 122C-1)
- If necessary, Chapter 13 Calculation of Your Disposable Income (Official Form 122C-2)
- Chapter 13 Plan (Official Form 113, if in effect). If Official Form 113 is not effective when you file, many bankruptcy courts require you to use a local form plan. Check the local court’s website for any specific form that you might have to use. Go to https://www.uscourts.gov/courtlinks.)
You may also be interested in:
Where to find the local forms required by your bankruptcy court.
In addition to federal forms. Some courts have their own local forms that you must use. Here's where to find them.
An edited list of the main federal forms for use in all courts.