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U.S. Marshals Service

Service of Process

U.S. Marshals Form 285 - Process Receipt and Return

For the service of any process, this form is utilized by the U.S. Marshals Service and Federal Court.   One complete set of this form (USM-285) and one copy of each writ for each individual, company, corporation, etc., to be served or property to be seized or condemned must be submitted.  The applicable fees for such service(s) (T28, USC Sec. 1921 establishes the fees for service of process by the U.S. Marshal) may be required prior to said service.  For service upon an officer or agent of the United States Government, see additional directions contained with the PDF version of the form.

Criminal Process: 

Historically, the U.S. Marshals Service has taken responsibility for serving most Federal court criminal process.  However, the courts have become more receptive to other law enforcement personnel serving criminal process. For more specific information on types of criminal process served.

Civil Process: 

The USMS is primarily responsible for the service of civil process (except for a summons and complaint or subpoena unless directed to do so by the federal court).  If service of civil process can more easily be effected by someone other than USMS personnel, the court or the U.S. Attorney may appoint or approve an alternative server.  For more specific information on types of civil process served.

Foreign Process:

The USMS is responsible for service of foreign process as assigned by the Civil Division, Office of Foreign Litigation (OFL), Department of Justice. U.S. Marshals are not authorized to travel to foreign countries to deliver subpoenas in either criminal or civil cases. For more specific information.

USM-94, Request for Service Abroad of Judicial or Extrajudicial Documents is a form, accompanying American judicial process, that is recognized by the Central Authorities of many of the foreign countries who are signators to the Hague Service Convention. The form itself is no longer completed by the U.S. Marshals Service, but by the private litigant who wishes to effect service in a foreign country pursuant to the Hague Convention. More information and instructions on completing the form.  For Spanish version of USM-94, use USM-272A

USM-272, Request for Service Abroad of Judicial or Extrajudicial Documents Pursuant to the Additional Protocol to the Inter-American Convention on Letters Rogatory  | USM-272, En EspaƱol


The USMS is responsible for conducting sales under writ of execution, judicial sales, judicial foreclosure sales, and forfeited or condemned property.


The U.S. Marshals, by carrying out federal court orders, becomes involved in admiralty matters of two types: actions that enforce maritime liens or actions against a person or persons.  The U.S. Marshal can be directed by a warrant or writ to arrest, attach, or garnishee the vessel, property, or cargo and to hold it pending further order of the court.  For more specific information on Admiralty.

Note:  The information related to the service of court process that is contained on this web site is general information and not intended to be an exhaustive or definitive explanation or depiction of Federal rules of procedures for the service of process.  Readers are directed to the Federal Rules of Criminal and Civil Procedure; personal legal counsel; the United States Code, Titles 18 and 28; their local U.S. Attorney's Office and District Court for specific, authoritative guidance. is an official site of the U.S. Federal Government, U.S. Department of Justice