As a general matter, pro se litigants are expected to pay the filing and docketing fee for an appeal just like anyone else. The fee is currently $505.00. An indigent pro se appellant may in some circumstances be excused from paying the filing fee at the time the notice of appeal is filed. To be granted this form of relief, the appellant must file a motion in the district court seeking leave to proceed on appeal without prepayment of the filing fee. Such motions are sometimes referred to as motions seeking leave to proceed in forma pauperis (“in for muh paw per uhs”).
The Prison Litigation Reform Act applies to persons who are incarcerated who initiate civil (as opposed to criminal or habeas) appeals. In that circumstance, the filing fee will likely be deducted from the appellant’s prison trust account in a series of payments over time. The process still begins with the filing of a motion in the district court seeking leave to proceed on appeal without prepayment of the filing fee.
Each district court has its own form for motions seeking leave to proceed without prepayment of the filing fee. Please check the applicable district court’s website or with the district court to obtain the proper form.
If the district court denies or does not act in a timely manner on the motion, the pro se appellant will be required to file a renewed motion with this court on our form.
The appellate filing and docketing fee is due regardless of whether the appeal is dismissed for lack of jurisdiction, lack of prosecution, or any other reason. The filing of the notice of appeal triggers the fee obligation, not the outcome of the appellate proceedings.