Am I Eligible for a Fee Waiver or Reduction?
Also, 20% of approved citizenship applications have a fee waiver. We encourage you to explore whether you are eligible for a fee waiver or reduction and whether applying for one is the right choice for you.
Application Fees for Citizenship Are $725
It typically costs $725 to apply for citizenship. That cost includes the $640 application fee for Form N-400 and the $85 fee for your biometrics appointment. If you are in one of the following categories, your costs are less:
- If you are age 75 or older, there is no biometrics fee, only the $640 application fee.
- If you are active-duty military or a veteran, your application is free.
Savings are Possible
When you submit your citizenship application, you can also submit a request for a fee waiver or reduction. If approved for a waiver, your application fee will be $0. If approved for a reduction, you will pay $320 for your application plus the $85 biometric fee. Remember, 83% of requests for a reduction are approved. Also, 20% of approved citizenship applications include a fee waiver. Savings are quite possible!
Consider the Time Added to the Application Process
USCIS application processing time can increase by several months when a fee waiver or reduction request is included. This is not because the government de-prioritizes these applications, but because this documentation adds a few additional steps to the process including:
- Waiver and reduction requests require the N-400 to be filed by mail instead of online.
- The additional documentation must be reviewed and approved by USCIS before they process the N-400 application.
- If you are denied a reduction or waiver, the payment you submitted for the N-400 will be incorrect. In this case, the application will be sent back to you. You will have to start over and resubmit with the correct fee amount.
Are You Eligible?
To qualify for a fee waiver, you must demonstrate one of the following:
- Your total annual household income is at or below 150% of Federal Poverty Guidelines. Check to see the level of your income.
- You have a significant financial hardship, such as medical expenses or unemployment.
- You are receiving a public benefit based on income and resources that USCIS includes in its eligibility criteria, such as Medicaid, SNAP (food stamps), TANF, housing assistance or SSI.
To apply for a fee waiver, you need to file Form I-912 (Request for Fee Waiver) with supporting material at the same time as you file Form N-400 with supporting documents. You do not need to submit the fees associated with Form N-400.
To qualify for a fee reduction, you must show that:
- Your total annual household income is more than 150% but no more than 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines at the time you file. Find out whether your income level meets the criteria.
To apply for a fee reduction, you need to file Form I-942 with supporting material at the same time as you file Form N-400 with the appropriate reduced fees. The total will be $405 if you are age 18-74 ($320 + $85 biometrics fee), and $320 if you are age 75 or older (no biometrics fee).
You will need to supply a copy of last year’s income tax return, a paycheck stub, or a letter verifying income as part of your supporting documentation for a reduction request or a waiver request based on your household income.
Is Filing a Request for a Waiver or Reduction the Right Choice?
If you don’t qualify for a fee waiver or reduction but coming up with the full amount is difficult for you, you may want to consider financing your citizenship application fees. For some applicants, financing is a better choice to help speed up the process. Financing also helps you build good credit. Good credit can provide significant savings when you finance future goals such as buying a car or a house.
We advise you to think carefully about what choice is right for you. Consult a nonprofit provider for information about fee waiver or reduction requests. Also, explore options such as OPA’s low-interest loan if you decide to consider financing. Don’t forget to learn more about the benefits of borrowing. Additionally, don’t let cost and time considerations hold you back from seeking citizenship!
If you are not eligible for a fee waiver or reduction, a One Percent for America loan will allow you to submit your application immediately. Learn more.