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How can applicants obtain a Fee waiver?

30th November 2011
By Jessica Potter in Immigration Law
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USCIS is funded mainly by the application and the petition fees that are collected from the applicants. Some individuals will be in a situation wherein they cannot afford to pay the stipulated fee. Obtaining a Fee waiver is an option that has been introduced by the USCIS to help these applicants. Getting a Waiver implies that the cost of processing applications and petitions for free is being transferred to the others by levying higher fees.

Getting a Fee Waiver

Form I-912(Request for Fee waiver) is the form that is to be filed while requesting a waiver. USCIS provides instructions for completing and submitting to those who are using this form along
The USCIS will follow the below mentioned steps while reviewing an I-912 before considering him/her to be eligible for a fee waiver.

Step 1: This requires information as to whether the applicant is receiving any means-tested benefit. The applicants are instructed about the various acceptable means-tested benefits and the evidence that can be used to document this for proof. Additionally, conditions for eligibility of family members of the applicant to get a fee waiver based on the primary applicant’s receipt of means-tested benefits. When an applicant has followed this step properly, then his/her I-912 will be approved without any further delay.

Step 2: This step instructs the applicant regarding the acceptable income that would be considered for the waiver. If the applicant’s house hold income is at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty guidelines and the applicant has provided sufficient proof for it, then the fee waiver will be granted.
Step 3: This step is for the applicants to list any special circumstances (extraordinary expenses and any liabilities) that should be considered by the USCIS
What are the forms that are eligible for Fee Waiver?
Applicants who are using any of the following USCIS forms can become eligible for getting a fee waiver.

Forms on General Fee Waivers:

The following Forms on I and N series are eligible to get a general fee waiver.
•I-90,191, 751, 765, 817, 821, 881,
•N-300,336,400, 470, 565, 600, 600K

Forms on Humanitarian Fee Waivers:

The forms under this are I-212,485,539 and 601 which are not otherwise eligible for a waiver or eligible only for a conditional waiver. Fees associated with an alien requesting a T or U visa, battered spouse on A, G, H or E-3, battered child or a spouse of a Legal permanent resident

Forms on Conditional Fee Waivers:

When an overseas applicant who is trying to get an Advance Parole Document is filing in I-131 for humanitarian parole, then a fee waiver may be requested even if it is not listed under any of the above mentioned two cases. Also an applicant filing in I-290B can get a waiver if the underlying application was fee exempt

Also, an applicant who does not have the need to indicate that he or she will not become a public charge in any way may request a waiver of the following form fees – I-192,193, 485 and 601.Applicants can also get a waiver from the biometric fee with any USCIS application or petition and there are no conditions for it.

Applicants who are trying to get an exemption should first read the instructions given by the USCIS before proceeding to complete the Form I-912. It is also important that the applicants sign in their form and attach all the supporting documentations in English. If they are in any other language, then an English translation by a certified translator should compulsorily be sent. The filing address will vary according to the form for which a waiver is being sought and it will be clearly provided by the USCIS in that particular form’s instructions page.

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