USCIS Removing Means-Tested Benefits as a Way to Get a Fee Waiver
Certain immigration forms, such as the application for U.S. citizenship, or the application to replace a green card, allow an applicant to apply for a fee waiver if he or she cannot afford the application fee for the requested immigration benefit. Currently, fee waivers are granted to those who receive a means-tested benefit (such as SNAP or Medicaid), have household income at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, or those who have a financial hardship. Applicants applying for a fee waiver on any of these grounds must clearly demonstrate that they are unable to pay the application fees.
Yesterday, USCIS announced that it is proposing to remove the means-tested benefit as a criteria for a fee waiver. Between this policy change and the recent proposal regarding the public charge ground of inadmissibility, this administration aims to make it harder for low-income immigrants to obtain legal status in this country.
If you or someone you know wants to apply for an immigration benefit using a fee waiver, you should probably do this soon before this proposal becomes final. Feel free to contact my office for help with your applications.