5 Things You Can Do to Afford USCIS Filing Fees


5 things you can do to Afford USCIS Filing Fees

 

Many people are intent on immigrating to the US. But successfully doing so takes resources. Not just time, but money as well.

Let’s admit it. It doesn’t cost pennies to go through the immigration process. On top of the charges of your lawyer, you also have to deal with the USCIS application processing fees. These can already put a dent in your pocket.

Today, let’s talk about how you can pay your USCIS filing fees without breaking the bank.

Tip #1: You can DIY your application

Admittedly, the immigration process is not a walk in the park. But getting a lawyer is not a requirement in pursuing your American dream.

If you’re eligible to get a visa, green card, employment authorization, or any other immigration benefit AND don’t have a criminal record or other factors that can complicate your immigration application, you may want to consider filing online on your own.

It may be a bit complex to navigate the forms to use, the requirements you may need, and the steps to take as soon as you’re ready to file.

The USCIS website provides some helpful instructions and tips to avoid mistakes throughout the process. From filing your application up to the payment of the fees.

Tip #2: Apply for a fee waiver

When to request the fee waiver

All you need to do is to request the fee waiver using Form I-912. You can apply for a waiver of fees if you qualify under the following conditions:

  • You are currently undergoing financial hardship that takes a toll on your capability to pay for the filing fees as well as medical expenses and other emergencies.
  • Your household income is below 150% of the Federal Poverty Level at the time of filing. To determine your household income, you need to count all the individuals in your household. These are:
    • You, your spouse, or the head of household living with you, who are currently receiving a means-tested benefit;
    • Unmarried children or legal wards under 21 yrs old;
    • Unmarried children or legal wards aged 21-24 who are still studying;
    • Unmarried children or legal wards who have physical or developmental disabilities or are mentally impaired.

Just understand that depending on what you are applying for, one of the requirements may be that you won’t need government assistance.

If you present that you earn less than the poverty guidelines, you may find yourself disqualified. It really depends on what you are applying for. If you are uncertain, call an immigration attorney before filing anything.

Once you are granted the fee waiver, your fees are considered paid.

Applicable forms for a fee waiver

You do need to know that the fee waiver applies only to specific immigration forms, as listed on the USCIS website. Examples of forms where you can request a fee waiver are:

  • Form N-400, Application for Naturalization
  • Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization (“EAD”) unless you are a DACA recipient
  • Form N-600, Application for Certification of Citizenship
  • Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card
  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status

Tip #3: Ask for help from your community

Ask family and friends

Your family and friends are the ones who can see firsthand how the immigration process can take its toll on you. Ask them for help in paying the fees. You can do so by writing letters or emailing friends or family members you can rely on for support.

You can also be creative in asking for help. Say, for example, your birthday is coming up. Instead of gifts, you can ask for money to help pay the fees.

Don’t worry. A lot of immigrants who successfully completed their USCIS filings started with a little help from friends and family.

 

Check government organizations

Another way to get financial assistance is through government organizations whose objective is to help immigrants. You can check out the USCIS website for the list of organizations in your area.

 

Seek assistance from your employer

If you are presently employed, seeking assistance from your employer is also a great option. Besides, it will work to their advantage if you get status that will make it easier for them to keep you in their employ. It will be more cost-effective to keep you than to hire new staff to replace you.

 

Consider your church or faith group

Your church or faith group can also help in raising funds for fees. You never know until you ask.

 

Tip #4: Try crowdfunding sites

Many people get inspired to help with stories they see on crowdfunding sites.

If you are open to sharing your immigration journey with the public, people you don’t even know can help by donating to your cause. Sites like GoFundme and GoGetFunding are popular for personal fundraisers.

A lot of people raising immigration funds have relied on the kindness of strangers through these sites.

Tip #5: Use your credit card

If you are short on cash to pay your USCIS fees, you can just take out that plastic and fill out a Form G-1450 – Authorization for Credit Card Transactions with your USCIS forms.

There you have it. You can get around to saving yourself the expense of your USCIS forms just by trying the tips I shared above.

 

Seek Expert Legal Advice

You can call us today if you want to discuss your case or need help on your green card or immigration journey, and we will let you know if and how we can help.

Remember, every case is different, and we won’t take your money if we can’t help you.

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