Applying for Fee Waivers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Applying for Fee Waivers from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
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Last updated: May 2012

When you file forms with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), there are usually fees for filing. For example, the fee to apply for a green card is currently $930 for an adult.

There are exceptions. For some forms, such as applying for asylum, there is no fee. For some forms, you can apply to have your fees waived if you meet certain requirements.

For which forms are fee waivers available?

USCIS now says that it will only accept fee waivers for these forms:

  • Biometrics
  • Form I-90 (for a replacement green card)
  • Form I-485 (for a green card)— but only for applicants with U and T visas, asylum seekers and refugees, and former VAWA self-petitioners
  • Form I-751 (for a conditional resident who obtained status through marriage to apply to remove the conditions on his or her residence)
  • Form I-765 (for a work permit)
  • Form I-817 (for benefits under the “Family Unity” program)
  • Form I-821 (for applying for temporary protected status)
  • Form I-881 (for applying to suspend deportation)
  • Form N-300 (for a permanent resident to apply for a Declaration of Intention to become a U.S. citizen)
  • Form N-336 (to request a hearing on an unfavorable decision on a naturalization application)
  • Form N-400 (for naturalization)
  • Form N-470 (for a permanent resident who must leave the United States for certain employment purposes and wishes to preserve his or her status as an immigrant in order to pursue naturalization)
  • Form N-565 (for Replacement Naturalization/Citizenship Document)
  • Form N-600 (for an individual to document U.S. citizenship status based on citizen parentage)
  • Form N-600K (for a child who regularly resides abroad to claim U.S. citizenship based on parentage)
  • Form I-290B (to appeal or seek to reopen or reconsider a USCIS decision) with respect to one of the above applications

There are a few other limited exceptions, which you can find on the USCIS’ Fee Waiver Guidance Sheet.

How do I apply for a fee waiver?

USCIS introduced a form for fee waivers. It is Form I-912, “Request for Fee Waivers.” There is no fee to file for the waiver. Make sure to read the instructions for filling out the form carefully.

For more information and to get Form I-912, go to the USCIS website.

How will USCIS decide if I qualify for a fee waiver?

USCIS uses a 3 step process to decide whether they will waive your fees.

Whether you get any means-tested benefits such as SNAP or Supplemental Security Income. If you receive means-tested benefits your fee waiver will usually be approved. You will need to send in documentation that proves that you receive the benefits. This is usually an official letter from the agency giving you the benefit.

If your household income is 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or lower. If your income is at or under that amount, your fee waiver will usually be approved. You will need to send proof of your income. A copy of your most recent Federal tax return is best.

If you have a financial hardship. If you are recently unemployed, have high medical costs, or other large expenses you may qualify. You will need to provide evidence if you want a waiver based on this reason. This includes things like bills or receipts.

What happens if USCIS rejects my fee waiver application?

If USCIS rejects your request, it will return your application to you. You will need to reapply and pay the fee.

What if I am in the Immigration Court or the Board of Immigration Appeals?

If you are applying for an immigration benefit while you are in removal proceedings, you will need to submit your fee waiver request to the immigration judge (or, if you are on appeal, to the Board of Immigration Appeals). The Board of Immigration Appeals has a special form, the EOIR-26A, which the Immigration Court also generally uses. Click on the title below to view and print this form.

Fee Waiver Request

 

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