EduvigesUSCIS charges a filing fee of $725 to apply for citizenship. However, if you have very low income, you may qualify to apply for citizenship for free, or at a discounted rate of $405. To do so, you must apply for what is called a “fee waiver.” There are two different fee waivers; a full fee waiver and a partial fee waiver. There is a different application form for each. Please read this information carefully to determine which fee waiver you might qualify for and how to apply.

Full Fee Waiver (you can apply for citizenship for $0)

You are eligible for the Full Waiver if ONE of the following applies to you:

A. You (or your spouse) receives public benefits (like food stamps/EBT, Medicaid, SSI (Supplemental Security Income), TANF, Section 8 housing)

B. Your household income is less than 150% of the federal poverty level (about $36,000 for a family of 4). Click here for exact income guidelines.

If you receive a public benefit AND your household income is less than 150% of the federal poverty level, you should apply for the fee waiver under Option A, based on your public benefit.

Option A: Applying for the Full Fee Waiver if You Receive a Public Benefit

  • Complete the I-912 form.
  • You must obtain an award letter from the agency giving you the benefit (for example, Department of Health and Social Services or DSHS). You can request this letter from the office where you originally applied for the benefit, or any affiliated office.
  • The letter must be recent (within the last 6 months), have the agency logo, and show you are currently receiving the benefit. Click here for a sample letter.
  • Attach a copy of the letter to your completed I-912 form. Submit I-912 and attached letter with your N-400 application for citizenship.
  • If your fee waiver is approved, you will receive a receipt confirmation letter from USCIS within 1-2 months.
  • If your fee waiver is denied, you will receive a denial letter from USCIS and your application will be returned. You will need to fix the errors on your form, or resubmit with the $725 filing fee. Seek help from an accredited nonprofit organization to correct the errors on your form. It is common for fee waiver applications to be returned for problems that are fairly easy to fix.

Some things that may be confusing:

  • If your children receive a public benefit, but you do not, you do NOT qualify for the waiver. You or your spouse must receive the benefit.
  • Only Medicaid (for low-income people) qualifies as a benefit for the fee waiver. Medicare (for anyone over the age of 65) does NOT qualify.
  • Only SSI (Supplemental Security Income for the elderly, blind or disabled) qualifies as a benefit for the fee waiver. Social Security income for retired people does NOT qualify.

Option B: Applying for the Full Fee Waiver if you Do NOT Receive any Public Benefit, but your Household Income is less than 150% of the Federal Poverty Level:

  • Verify that your household income is within the guidelines.
  • Complete the I-912 form.
  • You must prove your income for the past year by submitting last year’s tax return. If you don’t have it, you can also submit all paycheck stubs, and/or a letter from your current employer stating your income. The household size and filing status on your tax return must match what you write on your I-912 form.
  • Attach copies of these documents to your completed I-912 form, and submit this together with your N-400 application for citizenship.
  • If your fee waiver is approved, you will receive a receipt confirmation letter from USCIS within 1-2 months.
  • If your fee waiver is denied, you will receive a denial letter from USCIS and your application will be returned. You will need to fix the errors on your form, or resubmit with the $725 filing fee.
  • NOTE: Fee waivers based on household income are often denied because applicants do not submit enough proof of their annual income. If your application is returned to you, a nonprofit organization can help you fill out I-912 form correctly. However, since it is easier to qualify for the USCIS fee waiver if you receive a public benefit, it is also recommended to apply for public benefits. If you are approved for food stamps (also known as SNAP or EBT), you can apply for the fee waiver based on that.

For more information on full fee waiver eligibility and how to complete the I-912 fee waiver form, click here for a 25-minute video training.

Request for Reduced Fees (also known as the partial fee waiver; you can apply for citizenship at a discounted rate of $405 instead of $725)

You are eligible for the Request for Reduced Fees if your household income is between 150% and 200% of the federal poverty level (approximately $36,000-$48,000 for a family of 4). Instead of paying the full $725 fee, you will pay a discounted filing fee of $405. If you are older than 75 years old, you will pay $320. Click here to see if your household income qualifies.

How to Apply for the Request for Reduced Fees if your Household Income is between 150%-200% of the Federal Poverty Level:

  • Verify that your household income is within the guidelines.
  • Fill out the I-942 form.
  • You must prove your income for the past year by submitting last year’s tax return. If you don’t have it, you can also submit all paycheck stubs, and/or a letter from your current employer stating your income. The household size and filing status on your tax return must match what you write on your I-942 form.
  • Attach copies of these documents, and a check for either $405 if you are under 75 years old, or $320 if you are over 75 years old, to your completed I-942 form.
  • Submit the I-942 form with attachments together with your N-400 application for citizenship.
  • If your fee waiver is approved, you will receive a receipt confirmation letter from USCIS within 1-2 months.
  • If your fee waiver is denied, you will receive a denial letter from USCIS and your application will be returned. USCIS will not cash your check; they will return it to you. You can fix the errors on your fee waiver application and submit it again. Or, you can resubmit with the full $725 filing fee ($640 if you are over the age of 75)
  • NOTE: Fee waivers based on household income are often denied because applicants do not submit enough proof of their annual income. If your application is returned to you, a nonprofit organization can help you fill out I-942 form correctly.