Witness Fee Calculator for U.S. District Court


Formula used: {($40.00) (days)} + {($1.07) (one-way miles) (days)} = Witness Fee

What is the Witness Fee for U.S. District Court Subpoenas?

$40.00 per day + 53.5¢ per mile round-trip
When a witness’s attendance is required by a federal court subpoena, they receive $40.00 per day plus 53.5¢ per mile round-trip, to the place of attendance from their place of residence, per 28 USC §1821 and IRS standard mileage rates for 2017.
  • A witness traveling by common carrier shall be paid for the actual expenses of travel.
  • Toll charges, taxicab fares and parking fees shall be paid when incurring such expenses.
  • A subsistence allowance shall be paid when an overnight stay is required.

Additional Resources

United States Code, Title 28, Part V, Chapter 119 - Evidence; Witnesses

Section 1821 - Per diem and mileage generally; subsistence

(a)(1) Except as otherwise provided by law, a witness in attendance at any court of the United States, or before a United States Magistrate Judge, or before any person authorized to take his deposition pursuant to any rule or order of a court of the United States, shall be paid the fees and allowances provided by this section.

(2) As used in this section, the term “court of the United States” includes, in addition to the courts listed in section 451 of this title, any court created by Act of Congress in a territory which is invested with any jurisdiction of a district court of the United States.

(b) A witness shall be paid an attendance fee of $40 per day for each day’s attendance. A witness shall also be paid the attendance fee for the time necessarily occupied in going to and returning from the place of attendance at the beginning and end of such attendance or at any time during such attendance.

(c)(1) A witness who travels by common carrier shall be paid for the actual expenses of travel on the basis of the means of transportation reasonably utilized and the distance necessarily traveled to and from such witness’s residence by the shortest practical route in going to and returning from the place of attendance. Such a witness shall utilize a common carrier at the most economical rate reasonably available. A receipt or other evidence of actual cost shall be furnished.

(2) A travel allowance equal to the mileage allowance which the Administrator of General Services has prescribed, pursuant to section 5704 of title 5, for official travel of employees of the Federal Government shall be paid to each witness who travels by privately owned vehicle. Computation of mileage under this paragraph shall be made on the basis of a uniformed table of distances adopted by the Administrator of General Services.

(3) Toll charges for toll roads, bridges, tunnels, and ferries, taxicab fares between places of lodging and carrier terminals, and parking fees (upon presentation of a valid parking receipt), shall be paid in full to a witness incurring such expenses.

(4) All normal travel expenses within and outside the judicial district shall be taxable as costs pursuant to section 1920 of this title.

(d)(1) A subsistence allowance shall be paid to a witness when an overnight stay is required at the place of attendance because such place is so far removed from the residence of such witness as to prohibit return thereto from day to day.

(2) A subsistence allowance for a witness shall be paid in an amount not to exceed the maximum per diem allowance prescribed by the Administrator of General Services, pursuant to section 5702(a) of title 5, for official travel in the area of attendance by employees of the Federal Government.

(3) A subsistence allowance for a witness attending in an area designated by the Administrator of General Services as a high-cost area shall be paid in an amount not to exceed the maximum actual subsistence allowance prescribed by the Administrator, pursuant to section 5702(c)(B) 1 of title 5, for official travel in such area by employees of the Federal Government.

(4) When a witness is detained pursuant to section 3144 of title 18 for want of security for his appearance, he shall be entitled for each day of detention when not in attendance at court, in addition to his subsistence, to the daily attendance fee provided by subsection (b) of this section.

(e) An alien who has been paroled into the United States for prosecution, pursuant to section 212(d)(5) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1182(d)(5)), or an alien who either has admitted belonging to a class of aliens who are deportable or has been determined pursuant to section 240 of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1252(b)) 1 to be deportable, shall be ineligible to receive the fees or allowances provided by this section.

(f) Any witness who is incarcerated at the time that his or her testimony is given (except for a witness to whom the provisions of section 3144 of title 18 apply) may not receive fees or allowances under this section, regardless of whether such a witness is incarcerated at the time he or she makes a claim for fees or allowances under this section.

AMENDMENTS

1996—Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 104-208 substituted “section 240” for “section 242(b)”.

1992—Subsec. (d)(1). Pub. L. 102-417, §2(b), struck out “(other than a witness who is incarcerated)” after “paid to a witness”.

Subsec. (d)(4). Pub. L. 102-417, §2(c), substituted “3144” for “3149”.

Subsec. (f). Pub. L. 102-417, §2(a), added subsec. (f).

1990—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 101-650 substituted “$40” for “$30”.

1978—Pub. L. 95-535 increased the daily witness attendance fee from $20 to $30, substituted provisions relating to compensation for the actual expenses of travel based on the form of transportation used, to a travel allowance equal to the mileage allowance under section 5704 of Title 5 for a witness travelling by privately owned vehicle, and to tolls, taxi fares, and parking fees for provisions that a witness would receive 10 cents per mile and that mileage computation would be based on a uniform table of distances regardless of the mode of travel employed, provisions relating to a subsistence allowance in amounts not to exceed those which Government employees receive for official travel for provisions that such subsistence allowance would be $16 per day, provisions relating to a witness detained for want of security for his appearance being entitled to the daily attendance fee in addition to subsistence for provisions that such a witness would be entitled to $1 per day in addition to his subsistence, and inserted provisions defining “court of the United States” and relating to travel expenses being taxable as costs and to certain aliens being ineligible to receive fees and allowances.

1968—Pub. L. 90-274 increased the per diem allowance from $4 to $20, increased the mileage allowance from 8 cents per mile to 10 cents per mile, increased the daily subsistence allowance from $8 to $16, and directed that witnesses in the district courts for the districts of the Canal Zone, Guam, and the Virgin Islands receive the same fees and allowances provided in this section for witnesses in other district courts of the United States.

1956—Act Aug. 1, 1956, substituted “, or before any person authorized to take his deposition pursuant to any rule or order” for “or person taking his disposition pursuant to any order”, increased the payments for mileage from 7 to 8 cents per mile and subsistence allowance from $5 to $8 per day, and authorized the computation of mileage on the basis of a uniform table of distances adopted by the Attorney General.

1954—Act Sept. 3, 1954, struck out language which had restricted section’s applicability to those depositions taken pursuant to order of the court.

1951—Act Oct. 31, 1951, substituted “residences” for “residence” in that part of second sentence which precedes first proviso.

1949—Act May 24, 1949, inserted last par.

Act May 10, 1949, increased witnesses’ fees from $2 to $4 per day, mileage allowance from 5 cents to 7 cents a mile, subsistence allowance from $3 to $5 per day, and inserted provisos.

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