Immigration Law

USCIS Reopens Comment Period on Fee Waiver Eligibility Proposal

CLINIC, Apr. 8, 2019

"USCIS announced it is advancing its plan to eliminate receipt of a means-tested benefit as sufficient evidence to receive a filing fee waiver via the Federal Register Notice published April 5, 2019. The notice opens a new 30-day public comment period until May 6, as the Office of Management and Budget simultaneously reviews the proposed changes.
 
CLINIC strongly recommends that affiliates, partners and other advocates submit a comment opposing the proposal during this new comment period. Filing fee waivers are currently available for over two dozen form types, including citizenship and naturalization, work authorization, green card renewals, and certain humanitarian and survivor-based benefits. If implemented, these changes would substantially reduce access to these benefits and make the process for applying for a fee waiver more burdensome.    
 
The proposed changes to fee waivers are part of the administration’s larger agenda to only make the United States open to the wealthy. We must speak out and take action.
 
CLINIC will submit another comment in opposition and will share further analysis and guidance as soon as possible. Current fee waiver resources can be found here.
 
Background: USCIS first announced its proposal to change fee waiver eligibility through the elimination of receipt of a means-tested benefit on Sept. 28, 2018. CLINIC and other advocates submitted comments during the corresponding 60-day period, recommending that the proposal be withdrawn. CLINIC stated that the elimination of receipt of means-tested benefits would cause a substantial and unjustified burden on applicants and their representatives and create operational inefficiency at USCIS. During that initial 60-day comment period, USCIS received approximately 1,200 comments."