Generally, the automatic stay goes into effect immediately upon filing your case and against acts taken towards you personally until you receive your discharge. Stays against actions towards property you own may last longer or shorter depending on what happens to that property during your case (e.g. it is sold by the Trustee or not, etc.).  Note:  For cases filed on or after October 17, 2005, there are several limits to the length of the automatic stay:  1.  If you had a prior bankruptcy case dismissed under any chapter within one year prior to the filing of your present case, the automatic stay will terminate 30 days after your new case is filed, unless you obtain a court order extending it, for cause and a showing of good faith as to why the prior case was dismissed.  2.  If you had more than one prior bankruptcy case dismissed under any chapter within one year prior to the filing of your present case, the automatic stay does not go into effect at all unless and until the court orders it into effect, after a noticed hearing.  There are other new limitations on the automatic stay, but you should check with your attorney as to whether they will affect you.