Government filing fees are high and many wonder if there is a way to avoid these high fees. Yes, there is a way to avoid fees. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) offer fee waivers for most of the immigration and naturalization applications. But remember, fee waivers are not available for all applications. Also, applicants need to meet certain requirements to qualify for a waiver. They need to submit documentation to prove that they cannot afford the filing fee.
USCIS is an agency that is mostly funded by the application fee it receives. Yet, the agency recognizes that there are many who cannot afford the fees and grants fee waivers for many applications and petitions. The agency will only approve a request for a fee waiver of an applicant who clearly demonstrates his or her inability to pay the fee.
Eligible immigration and naturalization applicants can file Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, along with the application or petition they are filing to obtain a particular immigration benefit. They can apply for a fee waiver if they are filing one of the forms in the list below.
- Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card
- Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker (Fee waiver is available only to applicants filing for E-2 CNMI investor nonimmigrant status under 8 CFR 214.2(e)(23))
- Form I-131, Application for Travel Document (Applicable to those applying for humanitarian parole)
- Form I-191, Application for Advance Permission to Return to Unrelinquished Domicile
- Form I-192, Application for Advance Permission to Enter as Nonimmigrant
- Form I-193, Application for Waiver for Passport and/or Visa (Applicable if the applicant is exempt from the public charge grounds of inadmissibility)
- Form I-1290B, Notice of Appeal or Motion (Applicable if the underlying application or petition was eligible for a fee waiver)
- Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
- Form I-539, Application to Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status
- Form I-601, Application for Waiver of Grounds of Inadmissibility
- Form I-751, Petition to Remove Conditions on Residence
- Form I-694, Notice of Appeal of Decision Under Sections 245A or 210 of the Immigration and Nationality Act
- Form I-817, Application for Family Unity Benefits
- Form I-821, Application for Temporary Protected Status
- Form I-881, Application for Suspension of Deportation or Special Rule Cancellation of Removal
- Form N-300, Application to File Declaration of Intention
- Form N-336, Request for a Hearing on a Decision in Naturalization Proceedings
- Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
- Form N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes
- Form N-565, Application for Replacement of Naturalization/Citizenship Document
- Form N-600, Application for Certification of Citizenship
- Form N-600K, Application for Citizenship and Issuance of Certificate under Section 322
- Biometrics service fee (Applicants filing Form I-601A for a provisional unlawful presence waiver cannot request this fee waiver)
An applicant can file for a fee waiver only if the application or petition he or she is filing is eligible for a fee waiver. They will also need to prove by providing proper documentation that they and those in their household are receiving a means-tested benefit and that their household income is less than 50 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. They also need to prove that their inability to pay the fees is due to the financial hardship they are currently experiencing.
Those eligible for a waiver can also submit a written request for a fee waiver instead of filing the I-912 application. They can submit it with the form they are filing along with documentation to prove their inability to afford the fee.