Immigration Topics Explained:

Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver

Form I-912 Explained

What is Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver?

Individuals requesting immigration benefits with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) may use Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, to request a fee waiver for certain applications, petitions and services based on a demonstrated inability to pay.

When filing Form I-912 with USCIS, you must establish a financial need. In other words, you must clearly demonstrate that you are unable to pay the USCIS fees. Generally, you must also be filing an application or petition that is covered by the fee waiver. A fee waiver is not available for all USCIS forms. There is an exception for certain individuals, particular victims of violence.

Fee Waiver Eligibility

Who can file Form I-912?

To qualify for a fee waiver, you must demonstrate that you are unable to pay the required fee. USCIS will generally review Form I-912 in three different steps. First, they will evaluate if you're receiving a means-tested benefit. If not, USCIS will also consider low income and financial hardships as qualifying factors for an immigration fee waiver.

Means-Tested Benefits

One of the easiest ways to demonstrate eligibility for a fee waiver (Form I-912) is to provide proof of receiving a means-tested benefit. It requires less work preparing the form and less supporting documentation. If you receive federal, state, or local benefits based on your income, it may qualify as a means-tested benefit.

A means-tested benefit is a public benefit where a person’s eligibility for the benefit, the amount of the benefit, or both, is based on the person’s income and resources. USCIS will consider means-tested benefits that are federally, state, or locally funded and granted by the benefit agency. Examples of means-tested benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • Medicaid
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) [also known as food stamps]
  • Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP)
  • Any other state or local benefits based on your income

To qualify for a fee waiver based on a means-tested benefit, the evidence that you provide must demonstrate that you are currently receiving the means-tested benefit. This evidence can be in the form of a letter, notice, or other agency documents that indicate that the benefit is being received. Documentation must contain: (1) Your name (or the name of the person receiving the benefit); (2) The name of the agency granting the public benefit; (3) The type of benefit; and (4) An indication that the benefit is currently being received (for example, a recently dated letter or document with effective dates, date of renewal or period the approval ends, if available).

If you are not sure, contact the agency that provides your benefits. Ask if the benefit you receive qualifies as a “means-tested benefit.”

Low Income

If you have low income or no income, you may also be able to qualify for a fee waiver. You'll need to show that your household's income is below 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. USCIS uses these guidelines, as provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to make decisions about a person’s financial ability to pay the fees. If you provide sufficient documentation, USCIS will typically approve the request and no further information is required.

The guidelines are based on household income, the number of people in your household, and the state where you live. If your income is below 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, you’ll also need to submit evidence with Form I-912. Supporting documents generally include income tax returns, but it may be possible to use other documentation if you don’t have tax returns.

Financial Hardships

Finally, you may also qualify for a fee waiver if you can demonstrate that you have a financial hardship due to extraordinary expenses or other circumstances affecting your financial situation to the point that you're unable to pay USCIS fees. A financial hardship may include, but is not limited to:

  • Medical expenses (for yourself or family members);
  • Unemployment;
  • Eviction;
  • Homelessness; or
  • Marital separation or divorce.

Because USCIS will consider a financial hardship as a basis for a fee waiver, it’s possible for people who earn more than 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines to qualify for Form I-912. If you believe you have special circumstances that warrant a fee waiver, a financial hardship basis may be appropriate.

It will be necessary for you to demonstrate how this situation has caused you to incur costs or loss of income. In the request for a fee waiver, you’ll need to specify the dollar amounts of the expenses, debts, and income losses in as much details as possible.

Form I-912 Instructions

How do I fill out the fee waiver request?

General Guidance

  • Type or print answers in black ink only. 
  • Enter “N/A” if an answer is not applicable and "NONE" if your answer is zero.
  • Foreign language documents must be accompanied by a full English certified translation.
  • Submit photocopies for all supporting documents unless an original document is specifically required.

Parts 1, 2, and 3

  • For Basis for Your Request, indicate how you may qualify for a fee waiver based on the eligibility criteria described above. You may select more than one option if you believe you qualify.
  • For Information About You, provide your name and other details such as alien registration number and Social Security number. Make sure this information is consistent with the information that you provide on the primary application or petition.
  • For Applications and Petitions for Which You are Requesting a Fee Waiver, provide the full name and details for each person and form you are requesting a fee waiver. If you are only requesting a single fee waiver for yourself, provide your information. However, you may include other family members who are requesting the fee waiver at the same time.

Parts 4, 5, and 6

  • For Means-Tested Benefits, fill out this section only if you selected Part 1, Item 1. Provide the name of any person in the household who is receiving a means-tested benefit and all other details.
  • For Income at or Below 150 Percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, fill out this section only if you selected Part 1, Item 2. Provide details regarding your household members, your income, and income from any other household members. Confirm that your household income is below 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines.
  • For Financial Hardship, fill out this section only if you selected Part 1, Item 3. If you or any family members have a situation that has caused you to incur expenses, debts, or loss of income, describe the situation. Be specific about the amounts. Provide information about any other assets you own that may be converted to cash.

Parts 4, 5, and 6

  • For Requestor's Statement, provide the requested information and important contact information so that USCIS may contact you during the process. Sign your request with black ink.
  • For Family Members' Signatures, if you identified family members in Part 3, those persons should sign and date here with black ink.
  • For Interpreter and Preparer, provide information if applicable. If you prepared your Form I-912, it’s only necessary to sign as the “requestor.” If another person translated or prepared the form for you, be sure Parts 9 and 10 are filled in and signed appropriately.

This is an abbreviated list of Form I-912 instructions. Download the USCIS instructions for more detailed directions.

Where to File

Where to mail Form I-912?

Currently, requestors cannot file Form I-912 online. If you are requesting a fee waiver, you must file a paper version of the form along with the application or petition for which you are requesting a fee waiver.

To file your completed Form I-912, attach it and all supporting documentation to the application or petition for which you are requesting a fee waiver. For example, if you are requesting a fee waiver for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, you must mail your Form N-400, Form I-912, and supporting documentation to the address listed in the Form N-400 instructions.

Do not submit your Form I-912 without a completed application or petition. For example, if you are requesting a fee waiver for Form N-400, you cannot submit Form I-912 after USCIS receives your Form N-400.

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