A full or partial fee waiver is available for those who are unable to pay the $725 filing fee to apply for naturalization. To qualify, you must show USCIS that you are unable to pay. Note that if you apply for a fee waiver and USCIS rejects your request, USCIS will send your application back to you instructing you to submit the filing fee.
USCIS will determine if you qualify for a fee waiver using three main criteria:
1. You receive a means-tested public benefit from a State or Federal agency. This means a benefit awarded on the basis of your income and resources, for example, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Food Stamps, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Evidence that you are currently receiving a means-tested benefit could be a letter, notice, and/or other official document containing the name of the agency granting you the benefit and your name. Your spouse and dependents may also qualify for the fee waiver.
2. Your household income is at or below the 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines at the time of filing. The poverty guidelines are revised annually by the Secretary of Health and Human Services and can be found at aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines.
A household may include the spouse, parents, and unmarried children under 21 (or 24 if the child is a full-time student). To establish that the household income is at or below the 200% level, an applicant may submit pay stubs, IRS Form W2 and tax return transcripts for the most recent tax year, if he/she is employed, and proof of any income such as other benefits (for example child support, alimony, or Social Security) or financial support from family members.
3. You have a financial hardship due to extraordinary expenses or other circumstances which make you unable to pay the fee. The financial hardship must be the result of an unexpected situation that could not normally be anticipated, for example, a sudden illness that leaves you unable to work. You must submit proof of all assets you and your dependents own or control (for example real estate, bank accounts, stocks or bonds but not pension plans or IRA’s) as well as evidence of any liabilities and expenses.
While USCIS suggests establishing any one of the above three criteria will lead to a grant of a fee waiver, an applicant should feel free to submit any additional documentation that he/she believes will be relevant to proving an inability to pay.
If you are coming to one of our citizenship application assistance events, please check the list of documents we need you to bring with you to help you with your fee waiver application.