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Tips for Filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver

When filing Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, it is important to fill out the application completely and provide all required information with your initial filing. Please read and follow the filing tips to ensure proper processing.

Complete the Form Fully and Accurately

  • Use the most current version of Form I-912, if possible. We will also accept a written request.
  • Carefully and completely read the Form I-912 instructions.
  • Be aware that, in Form I-912, under section 3, Basis for Your Request, you can check more than one box. In this section, please check all boxes that apply to your situation. If possible, provide evidence to verify each box checked.
  • File your Form I-912 with the form for which you are requesting a fee waiver. Please file a paper application.

Documenting Means-Tested Benefits

  • A means-tested benefit is one for which your income/resources determine eligibility and/or the benefit amount.
  • Please reference page 2, step 1, sub-step 1b of the Form I-912 instructions for examples of what is considered a means-tested benefit. If you don’t see the benefit you are receiving there, please contact the agency that is granting your benefit for more information and ask what criteria they used in granting the benefit.
  • Please note that Medicare, Social Security Retirement (SSA) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are not considered means-tested benefits. However, Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI) is considered a means-tested benefit.
  • If you’re receiving a means-tested benefit that is not well known outside of your area, please provide as much information as you can about of the benefit. This may include a brochure, contact information or the website of the agency granting the benefit. Also include information about the benefit on page 3, section 6, line 12 of Form I-912. This information should include the name of the benefit you are receiving, why you are receiving it, and any other details that would be helpful to USCIS in the review process.
  • In general, USCIS classifies a benefit granted based on income criteria as a means-tested benefit.
  • You will not qualify for a fee waiver based on your child’s receipt of a means-tested benefit. You must also be receiving the benefit. However, you may still qualify for a fee waiver based on your household income or a financial hardship. Please reference steps 2 and 3 of the I-912 instructions.

Income Below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines

  • You may qualify for a fee waiver if your household income is at or below 150 percent of the poverty level at the time you file. Check the current poverty levels for this year at Form I-912P, HHS Poverty Guidelines for Fee Waiver Requests.
  • “Head of household” is a filing status option when filing an IRS Form 1040. More information about head of household can be found at http://www.irs.gov/publications/p501.
  • If you are requesting a fee waiver based on a household income below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and your spouse lives overseas, your spouse’s name and income should be included in the total household income. If your spouse living overseas is not employed and is supported by you, write a statement on page 3, section 6, line 12 of your Form I-912. This statement should indicate that your spouse is not employed, and explain why.
  • We will consider homelessness when reviewing a fee-waiver request. Please include a currently dated letter from the homeless shelter where you are residing. The letter should have a letterhead from the shelter, a statement that you receive services from the shelter, and a signature of a shelter employee attesting to your situation. If you are homeless but do not reside in a shelter, please include an affidavit from a member of good standing in your community attesting to your situation.

Documenting Financial Hardship

  • You should include a description of the reasons surrounding your financial hardship on page 3, section 6, line 12 of your Form I-912. Be as specific as possible, and include statements from other people verifying your situation, if possible.
  • If you cannot provide evidence of financial hardship, your description should include why. It is always advisable to include an affidavit from a member of good standing in your community attesting to your situation. Please reference page 5, step 3, sub-step 2 of the Form I-912 instructions for more information.
  • If you lost all forms of evidence in a natural disaster, fire, robbery, or other means, please state this in your description. Please provide a copy of a police report, if available, to support claims of fire, robbery, etc.

Marital Status

  • Legal separation is a marital status, and is formalized through a court order. If you are requesting a fee waiver based on income below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines and are citing legal separation for not including evidence of your spouse’s income, please provide a copy of the court order that formalized your legal separation. Please see the Form I-912 instructions for more information.
  • If you are separated from your spouse, but not legally separated, your spouse’s income should be included under household income.
  • If your spouse is not working, or if you do not know the location of your spouse, note this on page 3, section 6, line 12 of your Form I-912.
  • If you need more information about legal separation, please consult with an attorney.

Common Reasons for Fee-Waiver Denials

  • The form for which you are making the request is not eligible for a fee waiver. (Please see page 1 of the Form I-912 instructions for a list of forms eligible for a fee waiver.)
  • You did not sign your Form I-912. (Please see page 7, section 7 of the Form I-912 instructions for signature requirements.)
  • You did not provide evidence that you are currently receiving a means-tested benefit. (Please see page 2, step 1 of the Form I-912 instructions for more information about means-tested benefits.)
  • You did not provide evidence that your household income is below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. (See I-912P, HHS Poverty Guidelines for Fee Waiver Request. See page 3, step 2 of the Form I-912 instructions for more information about household income.)
  • You did not provide evidence that you are currently experiencing a financial hardship. (Please see page 5, step 3 of the Form I-912 instructions for more information about financial hardship circumstances.)
  • You submitted evidence in support of your fee-waiver request that is not in English, and did not supply a certified English translation. (Please see page 6, general instructions of the Form I-912 instructions for more information about translations.)
  • If your fee waiver was denied and you’re not sure why, please read the denial notice (Form I-797, Notice of Action). If after checking the denial notice you are still not clear as to why USCIS denied your fee-waiver request, you may inquire via email at lockboxsupport@uscis.dhs.gov.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/15/2014