Filing Form I-942 for a Fee Reduction

Filing Form I-942 for a Fee Reduction

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) requires fees that are usually hundreds of dollars for nearly every application or petition. Those costs can be a massive barrier for some applicants.  Form I-942 can help offset some of the costs. 

What is Form I-942? 

Form I-942 is the USCIS fee reduction form to request a reduced fee for certain immigration applications and petitions. If you are approved for a USCIS fee reduction, you will be allowed to pay a reduced fee.

The Form I-942 is available to those who cannot afford the full fee for these forms:

  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status
  • Form I-862, Notice of Intent to Deny or Revoke Petition
  • Form I-864, Affidavit of Support Under Section 213A of the INA
  • Form N-600, Application for Certificate of Citizenship.

What Financial Help Does Form I-942 Provide?

The high cost of naturalization is significant for most people. The costs start at $640 just to file an application and $85 for the biometrics fee. Form I-942 can help alleviate this financial barrier for those whose income is less than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines and no less than 150%, which reduces the cost of the naturalization application to $320 instead of the full $640. Those who are approved for the reduced fee will still need to pay the biometrics fee. For those who qualify and are approved, there is still the possibility of a full fee waiver through Form I-912. 

Other Important Form I-942 Information

When you are filing for your fee reduction with Form I-942, you must include the form in the same package as your N-400 application for naturalization, in addition to your check or money order made out for the reduced fee amount. Be sure to include all supporting evidence to give you the best chance of being approved for the fee reduction. 

There is no need to fill out a separate Form I-942 for each family member. As long as you list each family member on the form, you will be considered for fee reduction using the same form.

Who is Eligible For a USCIS Reduced Fee for Naturalization?

Those with an annual income no less than 150% and no more than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines according to household size. 

To request a fee reduction, you must complete and submit Form I-942 along with Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization.  If you are approved for a fee reduction, you will only be required to pay $320 as well as the biometrics fee. If your household income is below 150%, you may be eligible for a fee waiver which you can request through Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver.  

The Difference Between Form I-912 and Form I-942

USCIS provides two routes for those who may need assistance with fees associated with their naturalization application.

Form I-912 is the USCIS Fee Waiver Request form and is used when requesting a fee waiver for any USCIS form or application. This will waive the entirety of the application fee. 

Form I-942 is the USCIS Request for Reduced Fee form for the filing fee associated with Form N-400, the naturalization application. If eligible, this will result in the applicant paying a reduced rate of $320 instead of the normal $640.  If you are unsure which USCIS fee assistance form you need to submit, you can consult with an experienced immigration attorney who can help you determine which form is most appropriate for your situation.

Common Reasons a Request for Reduced Fee is Denied 

USCIS may deny a request if the applicant: 

  • Has not provided documented evidence of falling within 150% and 200% of the Federal Poverty Line 
  • Has not provided enough evidence of annual income
  • Submitted evidence that is not in English, and you did not provide a certified English translation
  • Did not sign the form
  • Falsified information in order to misrepresent their income to meet eligibility requirements

If USCIS denies a fee waiver request, you can find out why by reading the denial notice (Form I-797, Notice of Action).  After a denial, you’ll be required to pay the full USCIS filing fees in order to continue with your application for naturalization.

How to Fill Out Form I-942

USCIS Form I-942 requests information about your immigration history, financial circumstances, and whether you have received a fee waiver in the past. USCIS may deny your request for a fee reduction if they find that you have the ability to pay the USCIS filing fee or if you have previously received a USCIS fee waiver.  

Form I-942 Instructions Line by Line


Part 1. Information About You

This part of your form will ask you about your name, date of birth, and marital status. You will also be asked for your alien registration number which can be found on your permanent resident card, also known as your “green card”.

Part 2. Information About Your Family

Here, you will list members of your family that are also seeking a reduced fee. If no family members are filing with you then simply leave this section blank.

Part 3. Household Income

This will be the most robust portion of the application and is the most important. Make sure that all information is accurate and clear. 

  • Part 3-Section 1 will ask you about your employment status. Simply fill in your information here as prompted. If you are a student and also employed, say “other” and explain your situation in the box provided.
  • Part 3-Section 2 asks about your marital status and whether or not your spouse is contributing to your total household income.  
  • Part 3-Section 3 will have you list the members of your household, including you and all others dependent upon your income. If you are not the household’s main income source, ensure that whoever is the main source of financial support is included. Your most recent IRS tax form should reflect what you submit in the form.
  • Part 3-Section 4  will ask you to input your adjusted gross income from your most recent U.S. tax return. In the case where you have not filed a tax return, then you will estimate the annual income of the last 12 months.
  • Part 3-Section 5 has you list the income of any other member of your household. If someone is a dependent who does not provide income, do not list them here.
  • Part 3-Section 6 is for any other source of income you may be receiving along with documentation of each source of income. An example of this could be receiving alimony. In this case, you would submit a copy of the court order which shows the amount of money received.
  • Part 3-Section 7 will have you add all the dollar amounts from sections 4, 5, and 6 and write the total.
  • Part 3-Section 8 is for you to explain any possible change since your last tax return such as a change in income or household size. Give as much detail as possible along with supporting evidence.

Part 4. Requestor’s Statement, Contact Information, Certification, and Signature

In this part of the form, you and any family members who are applying for the fee reduction will sign.  Signing here will indicate that you and everyone else understand what you are signing, that the information is true and accurate, and that you are willing to take part in the biometrics appointment.

Part 5. Family Member’s Statement, Contact Information, Certification, and Signature

All family members included will need to sign and date here, including their contact information and whether or not they used an attorney or interpreter to assist with the form. 

Part 6. Interpreter’s Contact Information, Certification, and Signature

If any applicants did use an interpreter, the interpreter would provide their contact information, certification, and signature. 

Part 7. Contact Information, Declaration, and Signature of Person Preparing This Request, If Other Than the Requestor

If a preparer or attorney prepared this form for you they will complete this section for you.

Part 8. Additional Information

This section provides additional space if you run out of room while filling out the form. List the part and section numbers that this information pertains to while filling it in.

If you have any questions about how to fill out Form I-942 or what supporting documentation to submit with your form, please consult an experienced immigration attorney for assistance.

Contact an Immigration Attorney Today

If you are applying for citizenship in the United States and need financial assistance with required forms or help navigating all the required forms, you can benefit from the support of an experienced immigration attorney. The legal team at Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C. are here to answer questions you may have regarding your eligibility for citizenship. Contact us today at 312.444.1940 or fill out our online contact form.

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