February 22nd, 2017 by Romona Paden
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) now assists low-income naturalization applicants with a reduced application fee of $320 plus an $85 biometric services fee. The discounted rate applies to qualified applicants with a demonstrated need for the cost reduction.
USCIS offers the fee reduction to immigrants with a documented annual household income that’s greater than 150 percent– but not more than 200 percent– of the Federal Policy Guidelines at the time of filing. To request the fee reduction, immigrants file Form I-942, Request for Reduced Fee.
It’s also important to note that Form I-942 is entirely different from Form I-912, Fee Waiver Request. The request for a reduced fee lowers the cost of the application fee. The request for a fee waiver eliminates the cost altogether.
USCIS directs immigrants to determine their eligibility to file Form I-942 by looking at the agency’s page titled Form I-942P, Income Guidelines for Reduced Fees.
Savings for the naturalization application is especially welcome to those in need considering USCIS instituted an increase on most of its filing fees in December. For those who don’t qualify for the fee waiver, the current cost to file Form N-400, Application for Naturalization is $640– up from the previous $595– plus $85 for the biometric service fee. The total adds up to $725.
With the reduced cost, the combined cost of the application fee and the biometric services fee total $405. Total savings over the standard price is $320.
Besides low-income applicants, USCIS also gives savings to older naturalization applicants as well as to certain military applicants. Naturalization applicants who receive savings include:
Applicants who are 75 years old or older save the $85 biometric services fee and only need to pay the $640 filing fee.
Military applicants filing under section 328 or 329 of the Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) aren’t required to pay any fee.
USCIS established the reduced fee process for the naturalization application in October 2016. The agency began accepting the reduced fee applications with the introduction of fee increases in December.
“We recognize that some applicants cannot afford to pay the full filing fee but can pay a reduced fee,” according to a release from the agency.