Claim Form for Seized Assets

If your property was seized by a federal agency, the only way to challenge the seizure is to file a verified claim for court action. The claim form acts as an application for the release of seized cash or other property in a forfeiture action.

Filing a timely claim stops the administrative forfeiture proceeding. It requires the agency that seized the asset to forward the claim to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for further proceedings.

Click here to download a sample claim form for assets seized for forfeiture to apply for the release of your property.

The forms sent by some federal agencies are intentionally misleading because they do not provide any space to describe the asset or explain the claimant’s interest in the seized property.

Although you do not necessarily need an attorney to file a claim, the requirements are so complicated that most people would benefit from hiring an experienced attorney to represent them in filing a claim and negotiating the return of the property.

Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 983(a)(2)(D), the claim need not be made in any particular form, although it must meet the requirements listed in 18 U.S.C. § 983(a)(2)(C) which require:

  • a description of the seized property;
  • an explanation of your ownership or other interest in the property; and
  • the claimant’s signature under oath, subject to the penalty of perjury (or otherwise meeting the requirements of an unsworn statement under penalty of perjury).

Although the agency that seized the asset might encourage you to file a petition for remission or mitigation, read more about why those procedures rarely work. Failure to file a claim by the deadline date will result in the property being forfeited to the United States.

How to File the Claim for Assets Seized for Forfeiture

To file the claim, you must deliver it to the agency that gave notice of the seizure and intent to forfeit at the appropriate address which is listed in the personal notice that should be mailed to you or the address listed on the notice posted online on the website.

You do NOT have to wait for 60 days after the seizure to receive the notice BEFORE filing the claim. In fact, you can file a premature claim immediately after the seizure.

The claim must be sent to the notifying agency’s address which is identified within the notice. For some agencies, like Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the claim will be sent to one of their regional offices. For other agencies, like DEA, the claim is sent to one location at the DEA headquarters.

The claim can be “filed’ online, by mail through the  U.S. Postal Service, or by a commercial delivery service such as UPS or FedEx. Keep in mind that the claim is not actually “filed” until it is received by the agency (in their hand).

Strict timelines exist for filing the claim. For example, 18 U.S.C. § 983(a)(2) requires that if you actually receive the personal notice, then you must file the claim by the deadline listed in the notice. Otherwise, the notice posted online contains the deadline to file the verified claim.

Additional Resources

Filing a Claim for Property Seized for Forfeiture – Visit the website to find out more about the process to make a claim for any asset seized for forfeiture by any federal agency including ATF, DEA, CBP, HSI, FBI, IRS, USSS, or the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

ATF’s Claim Form for Seized Property – Visit the website of (ATF) to download a claim form that can be used to challenge the legality of the ATF seizing property for forfeiture.

Sample Claim Form to Apply for the Release of Seized Property

You can download the form listed above. The language in the claim form is listed below. You must deliver the form to the exact address listed in the notice of seizure.

If you did not receive your personal notice of seizure, check the website to find the published notice. You only have 35 days to file the claim form and if you are one day late, then you might forever lose your right to contest the seizure.




NAME: _______________________________    Seizure No.: _______________________________

MY ADDRESS: __________________________     Case No.: _______________________________ ____________________________________.

City & State of Seizure: ___________________

TELEPHONE NO.: (____)________________


List the items in which you claim an interest. Include sufficient information to identify the items, such as serial numbers, make and model numbers, tail numbers, photographs, and so forth. Additional space is provided on the back of the form. You may attach additional sheets of paper if more space is needed. [If applicable, I have attached a copy to this form a copy of the receipt I received when the property was seized which also lists the property as “Exhibit “A”].

1. _______________________________________________________________________________________

2. _______________________________________________________________________________________

3. _______________________________________________________________________________________

4. _______________________________________________________________________________________

5. _______________________________________________________________________________________

6. _______________________________________________________________________________________


State your interest in each item of property listed above. Please provide any documents that support your claim of interest in these items. Supporting documentation includes titles, registrations, bills of sale, receipts, etc. Additional space is provided on the back of the form. You may attach additional sheets of paper if more space is needed. [For example, you might explain that “The property belongs to me because I own it and it was seized from me.”]

__________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________

PART I (continued)

7. _______________________________________________________________________________________

8. _______________________________________________________________________________________

9. _______________________________________________________________________________________

10. ______________________________________________________________________________________

11. ______________________________________________________________________________________

12. ______________________________________________________________________________________

PART II (continued) __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________________________________



I attest and declare under penalty of perjury that my claim to this property is not frivolous and that the information provided in support of my claim is true and correct, to the best of my knowledge and belief.


Name (Print)






This article was last updated on Monday, September 19, 2022.