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How to fill out Form I-912 for a fee waiver

In this article, we help you understand what Form I-912 is, who is eligible for a fee waiver, and how to file it. 

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How to fill out Form I-912 for a fee waiver

Several immigration forms from the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) charge a fee for filing them. The cost varies and can be exorbitant in some cases. If you’re having a hard time covering the processing fees but would still like to file a form, you may be able to have the fee waived by filling out Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver.

Below, we help you understand what Form I-912 is, who is eligible for a fee waiver, and how to file it. 

What is Form I-912?

Not every foreign national can afford the fees for processing immigration forms, and the U.S. government recognizes this. Because every eligible individual has the right to file for an immigration form, it is possible to request USCIS to waive the fees, and this can be done by filing Form I-912, otherwise known as a Request for Fee Waiver.

So instead of paying the associated fees, you file the form and provide proof that you are incapable of paying and don’t possess the required money for your application or petition. A granted request usually means that USCIS will accept the application, while a denied one typically ends up with the returned application as well as a notice saying they’re unable to process it without receiving the fee.

Eligibility requirements

Of course, not every applicant is eligible for a fee waiver, otherwise everyone would be requesting it. An applicant may be granted a fee waiver if they meet the following requirements:

  • The household income is at or below 150 percent of the U.S. poverty level at the time the application is filed

  • The applicant or qualifying members of his or her household are receiving a means-tested benefit; a benefit that is provided by the government and based on the financial resources of the applicant and/or the amount of the benefit that he or she is receiving. Examples of means-tested benefits include Medicaid, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, previously known as Food Stamps), and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Examples of benefits that are not means-tested and don’t qualify the applicant for fee waiver include unemployment, Medicare, Social Security, Retirement, financial aid/grants/loans for students, and Medicare

  • The applicant is suffering a financial hardship that prevents him or her from affording the filing fee, such as an unforeseen medical expense 

Applicants may also be required to submit evidence proving they meet the above-stated eligibility requirements at the same time they file Form I-912 and the main immigration form they’re requesting a fee waiver for.

When should you file Form I-912?

The Request for Fee Waiver should be filed along with the main application or petition for immigration benefits. For example, if you’re filing for a certificate of citizenship and can’t afford the fee, then you may file a completed Form I-912 instead of enclosing the fee; not after or before the application or petition has been filed. Failure to file Form I-912 with the immigration form you’re requesting a fee waiver for will usually end up with a denied request.

If you’re requesting a fee waiver for multiple forms, you’ll only need to complete and file one Form I-912. In cases where you need to file another petition or application at a later time and would like to request the fees to be waived again, then you usually have to submit another Form I-912 with the application.

Where can you get Form I-912?

You can download and print a copy of Form I-912 that can be found on the USCIS website.

If you don’t have internet access, you can call 1-800-375-5283 and request to have a physical copy mailed to you. 

Filling out Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver

All 11 sections of the form should be completed with accurate information. Below, we provide information to help you do this.

Part 1 – Basis for your request

In this section, you’ll usually find two options that describe your financial situation. Choose the one(s) that describes your case best and complete the parts indicated for the option(s) you have chosen.

Part 2 – Information about you (the requestor)

If you’re filing this form yourself, then you’ll need to provide your information as the requestor for the fee waiver. A parent or legal guardian who is filing the form on behalf of the requestor will have to provide the requestor’s information on the given fields.

  • Item 1. Full name. If the requestor doesn’t have a middle name, you may write “N/A” where it requests for the middle name

  • Item 2. Other names used (if any). Maiden names of the requestor should also be indicated here

  • Item 3. Alien registration number, or A-number (if any). You can find the requestor’s A-number on documents issued by USCIS or the Immigration Naturalization Services (INS)

  • Item 4. USCIS online account number (if any). This is also known as an Electronic Immigration System Account Number (ELIS)

  • Item 5. Date of birth, written in mm/dd/yyyy format

  • Item 6. U.S. Social Security Number (if any)

  • Item 7. Marital status

  • Item 8. List of the different applications and petitions for which the requestor wants a fee waiver

  • Item 9. Indicate whether or not the requestor is applying or has been granted the status as an abused spouse of an A,G,E-3, or H visa holder; an abused spouse or child or a Green Card holder, U.S. citizen under INA section 240A(b)(2); a T nonimmigrant visa holder; a person with a Temporary Protected Status; a U nonimmigrant visa holder; or a VAWA self-petitioner

Part 3 – household income

Information pertaining to the requestor’s inability to pay the processing fee(s) due to insufficient household income will be requested here, such as:

  • Your employment status

  • Information about your spouse

  • Household size

  • The individuals in your household

  • Your annual household income

  • Types of income

  • Other information you feel USCIS should know about your financial situation

Part 4 – Financial hardship

This section will request details that pertain to the requestor’s financial hardship such as debts, income losses, medical expenses, homelessness, victimization, and more. If the applicant’s household income is above the required poverty guidelines, then completing this section is usually required.

To strengthen the applicant’s claim to financial hardship, documentation should also be provided that show the applicant’s income (or lack of it), as well as a list of all assets that may be converted to cash and their estimated value. A total of the applicant’s monthly expenses and liabilities will also be requested. If there are no expenses, you may type or print “0” in the box.

Part 5 – Requestor’s statement, contact information, certification, and signature

The applicant will have to indicate whether he or she has read the form and answered all the questions him- or herself, or whether an interpreter was used. 

Information about the interpreter may be provided in Part 6. Interpreter’s contact information, certification, and signature.

If a preparer was used, more information about the preparer may be provided in Part 7. Contact information, declaration, and signature of the person preparing this request, if other than the requestor.

The section should be signed and dated, and a telephone number and email address (if any) should also be provided. If the requestor is under the age of 14, a parent or legal guardian may sign on behalf of the requestor.

Part 8 – Additional information 

If additional space for other information that pertains to the request for a fee waiver needs to be provided, it can be provided in this section. The requestor’s A-number (if applicable), and the Page Number, Part Number, and Item Number that the additional information refers to should be indicated.

If the space provided in this section isn’t enough, then the applicant may attach a separate sheet of paper containing the requestor’s A-number, if any, and the Page Number, Part Number, and Item Number each additional information corresponds to.

Is there a filing fee? 

No. Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, does not require a filing fee. 

What is the processing time? 

Like other USCIS documents, the processing time for the I-912 varies. Once USCIS reviews the form and the supporting evidence, they will contact the applicant to let him or her know if the request was approved. If the request is approved, nothing further needs to be done. If the request is denied, resubmission instructions for the application(s) or petition(s) will be provided. 

Are there penalties? 

If an applicant provides false information or is found to have hidden important information, USCIS will usually deny the request for a fee waiver. Furthermore, the application(s) or petition(s) may also risk being denied and the applicant may face strict legal repercussions which may include criminal prosecution.

The takeaway

Foreign nationals who are going through financial difficulty may benefit from filing Form I-912. Even though the processing time varies, an approved request usually gives the applicants a much-needed break so they can focus on their immigration case without worrying too much about the associated costs.

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