How to file a fee waiver request

Filing various forms with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services can be expensive, since most require a fee. USCIS is largely funded by immigration form fees. However, if you cannot afford to pay the fee, you may request a waiver.

The waiver
If you are unable to afford the fees required to file various immigration forms, you may fill out the I-912, Request for Fee Waiver.  When you’ve determined that you are eligible, file the form and fill out the supporting documentation in English. This waiver has detailed instructions you need to follow, which can be found here. After you have completed the steps, send the form to a USCIS office. The fee waiver request cannot be sent online.

Eligibility for the fee waiver depends on your income and how many people you have in your household. If you are living below the 150 percent poverty line – as specified by the Department of Homeland Security – you are eligible. The line takes into account your income in proportion to the size of your household.

You are also eligible if you are going through a period of financial hardship. A prolonged medical illness that leaves you or a family member in the hospital is an example, as it is an unexpected expense.

You can also qualify for a Request for Fee Waiver form if you are receiving a means-tested benefit. Like the 150 percent poverty line, the means-tested benefit is where a person’s individual income or resources determines the amount of relief he or she receives. When filing the request, provide proof you have been receiving a means-tested benefit.

You can file the I-912 for other members in your family as well. However, the information included should pertain to them, and the form will require their signature.

When determining the size of your household, you must include your spouse, any children under the age of 21, and any legal wards or parents who are living with you. If another person is staying in your home, and you provide 50 percent or more of the money he or she needs to live, you may include him or her in your count.