USCIS Changes Fee Waiver Requirements


Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") announced changes to the eligibility criteria for fee waivers and published a new version of Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver.

In its announcement e-mail to stakeholders, USCIS explained it is removing the means-tested benefit criterion as a basis to qualify for a fee waiver. "USCIS has determined that receiving a means-based benefit is not an appropriate criteria in reviewing fee-waiver requests because income levels used to decide local assistance eligibility vary greatly from state to state." Under the new policy, fee waivers are available if the applicant's annual household income is at or below 150% of the federal poverty level or if the applicant demonstrates financial hardship. USCIS' instructions for Form I-912 list the applications which are eligible for fee waivers.

The edition date of the new version of Form I-912 is 10/24/2019. USCIS, however, will accept previous editions of the form until December 2, 2019. USCIS will continue to adjudicate fee waiver requests postmarked before that date under the previous fee waiver policy.