Fee Waiver: Difficulty Paying USCIS Fees

People may encounter financial difficulties when it is time to pay fees for applications filed with U.S Citizenship and Immigration Services. In some situations, an applicant may qualify for a fee waiver.

Applying for immigration benefits in the United States generally requires that the petitioner or applicant pay a fee.  U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) processes fees at the time a person submits the form and supporting documents to USCIS.  For example, USCIS charges a fee when filing these common forms:

USCIS fees can vary for some applications depending upon the applicant’s age and immigration category. An applicant can determine the proper fee by using the USCIS fee calculator.

What Can an Applicant Do During Financially Difficult Times?

An applicant may file the I-912 Form to request a fee waiver.  Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) regulation provides the guidance USCIS uses to determine a fee waiver. See 8 C.F.R. § 106.3.  If approved, USCIS may allow an applicant to apply for some benefits without paying the filing fee.

Who Qualifies for a Fee Waiver?

An applicant qualifies for a fee waiver if the household income is at or below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines. Form I-912P provides the income guidelines for fee waiver purposes.  To adjudicate a fee waiver, USCIS considers multiple factors including household size.  See Form I-912 Instructions at page 5 (09/03/21 ed.).

May USCIS Waive Fees for All Benefit Requests?

No.  People, who apply for a benefit without a lawyer, should carefully read the I-912 Form instructions to determine if they qualify for a fee waiver.  If USCIS approves the I-912 Form, the agency will waive the filing and biometrics fee.