Essential facts about USCIS fee waivers
Applying for a change to your immigration status in the U.S. typically involves a process of completing applications, submitting them to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and possibly attending interviews. For nearly every immigration status change, applicants will also have to pay the required USCIS application fees, which can range from a few to several hundred dollars.
There are, however, exceptions, as USCIS recognizes “that some applicants cannot pay the filing fees” and, therefore has “established a fee waiver process for certain forms.” In general, the only eligibility requirement for obtaining a USCIS fee waiver is “demonstrated inability to pay.”
Here are a few more crucial facts to know about USCIS fee waivers:
- How to request a USCIS fee waiver – To request a USCIS fee waiver, applicants need to complete Form I-912 and file this form with their immigration status request form (i.e., with the action for which they are seeking a fee waiver). USCIS will not process fee waivers sent by themselves.
- E-filing & fee waivers – USCIS will not accept fee waiver requests for application requests submitted via tis e-Filing system. In other words, to qualify for a fee waiver, your immigration status change application must be submitted as a hard copy form.
- Establishing eligibility for a USCIS fee waiver – According to USCIS, applicants can verify their eligibility for a USCIS fee waiver in one of the following three ways:
- By proving that they are collecting a “means-based benefit,” which generally refers to benefits paid based on individuals’ limited resources and/or income
- By proving that their household income is “at or below the 150% poverty level”
- By proving that they are enduring a “financial hardship” that precludes the payment of the filing fee (Examples of such financial hardships can be unexpected medical ailments and expenses).
- How personal info submitted for fee waivers is used and shared in the future – According to USCIS, the personal information applicants provide to authorities in order to obtain a fee waiver can be used by “Federal, State, local, and foreign government agencies” including “law enforcement authorities” “in accordance with approved routine uses.”
Contact a Los Angeles Immigration Lawyer at the Hanlon Law Group, P.C.
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