On April 5, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a proposed change to fee waiver eligibility and process. The April 5 notice announces USCIS’ intention to proceed with a plan, previously published on September 28, 2018, to eliminate receipt of means-tested public benefits as a way to demonstrate inability to pay certain immigration filing fees, and is allowing a second, 30-day period during which the public can submit comments on this proposed change. In addition to narrowing the ways to prove fee waiver eligibility by taking away means-tested benefits, the new fee waiver process would require that fee waiver requests only be submitted using the Form I-912 (instead of a letter or affidavit), and would require new kinds of support documents including a federal tax transcript from the IRS (instead of copies of tax returns or pay stubs). If finalized, these proposed changes will discourage eligible individuals from filing for fee waivers and immigration benefits and place heavy time and resource burdens on individuals applying for fee waivers.
We urge you and your agency to submit comments detailing your opposition to the proposed changes. The comment period closes Monday, May 6th, 2019.
Below, please find a template comment to aid in your advocacy. Please use this template comment to register your opposition to these proposed changes. While the template is a great starting point, we strongly encourage you to include your unique perspective about the detrimental effect of these proposed changes when submitting your or your agency’s comment. The goal is to maximize the number of unique comments to have the greatest impact. ILRC’s comment is also linked below.