Form I-942: Understanding Reduced Fee Request Process for Naturalization


Form I-942 is a document issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) meant to facilitate a reduction in application fees for eligible individuals. It serves those who demonstrate financial hardship and are unable to afford the full cost associated with certain immigration forms. By completing Form I-942, applicants can request a fee reduction, which, if granted, lessens the financial burden of processing immigration-related applications.

Eligibility for a reduced fee through Form I-942 hinges on the applicant’s ability to prove inability to pay the full fee. This process requires systematically providing personal information, such as name, marital status, alien registration number, and date of birth—as these details are pertinent to considering the request for a reduced fee.

The form becomes part of a broader application package, which must include supporting documents that substantiate the claim of financial hardship.

USCIS carefully evaluates each Form I-942 submission, taking into account the provided evidence before rendering a decision on the fee reduction request. Applicants must ensure that the form, which has an expiration date as noted by the OMB control number—currently 12/31/2023—is fully and accurately completed to avoid any delays or rejections in the review process. Once all parts of the form and supporting documentation are compiled, the applicant submits their request for a reduced fee to USCIS and awaits the agency’s response.

Eligibility Criteria

The Form I-942 is different from I 942p and its is designed to assess an applicant’s eligibility for a reduced fee based on specific criteria. An individual’s income level, qualifications for fee reduction, and special provisions for applicants under the age of 14 are critical to determining this eligibility.

Income Level Requirements

An individual must have an annual household income greater than 150 percent and not more than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG) to be eligible for a reduced fee.

  • 150% FPG: Indicates the minimum income threshold.
  • 200% FPG: Marks the maximum income cap for eligibility.

Fee Reduction Qualifications

Eligible applicants must demonstrate economic hardship and the inability to pay the full fee. Their financial situation should align with the following:

  • Employment status (full-time, part-time, seasonal, self-employed, unemployed, retired, or other).
  • Family members included in the request must be specified.

Eligibility for Applicants Under 14

For applicants under 14 years of age, the eligibility to apply for a reduced fee through Form I-942 is contingent on whether they are filing with the application of a parent or guardian or filing separately. Requirements may differ based on these circumstances.

Application Process

The application process for Form I-942 includes precise steps to ensure an individual can successfully request a reduced fee for eligible USCIS forms. Careful attention to completing the form, gathering the necessary supporting documents, and following the designated submission guidelines is essential.

Form Completion Instructions

Applicants must provide accurate personal information in Part 1, which includes their full name, marital status, alien registration number (A#), and date of birth. Part 2 requires information about family members who are included in the reduced fee request. It’s important that all fields are filled out completely and legibly to avoid processing delays.

Supporting Documents

Evidence of financial hardship is a vital part of the application. Applicants should include all necessary supporting documents to substantiate their inability to pay the full fee. This often includes tax returns, proof of income, or other financial records. Each document should clearly relate to the criteria set by 8 CFR 103.7(b)(1)(i) for reduced fees.

Submission Guidelines

The completed Form I-942 must be submitted concurrently with the application for which a reduced fee is sought, such as Form N-400 for naturalization. It’s vital that applicants ensure their package includes all required forms and supporting evidence. The entire packet should be mailed to the address provided by USCIS for the specific form being submitted. Applicants should keep copies of all documents for their records.

Fee Reduction Calculations

The key points of “Fee Reduction Calculations” involve understanding how to ascertain an individual’s adjusted gross income and evaluating the household size relative to income thresholds set forth by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Determining Adjusted Gross Income

To calculate the fee reduction for USCIS services, an applicant must first determine their adjusted gross income (AGI). The AGI is a measure of income calculated from an individual’s total income minus certain allowable deductions. For the purpose of Form I-942, the applicant needs to refer to their most recent federal income tax return to find their AGI as reported to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Household Size and Income Thresholds

An applicant’s eligibility for a reduced fee is also dependent on their household size and the corresponding income threshold. The USCIS adheres to the Federal Poverty Guidelines to set income thresholds which stipulate that an individual’s household income must be greater than 150 percent and not more than 200 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. The income thresholds vary by household size. Below is a simplified representation of how the household size affects the income thresholds:

Household Size 150% of Federal Poverty Guidelines 200% of Federal Poverty Guidelines
1 $19,320 $25,760
2 $26,130 $34,840
3 $32,940 $43,920
4 $39,750 $53,000
*For each additional person, add $6,810 $9,080

*The above figures are based on the 2021 Federal Poverty Guidelines and are for illustrative purposes only. Current figures should be referenced when determining eligibility.

After Submission

After submitting Form I-942, applicants should be aware of the procedures that follow which involve receiving confirmation, understanding processing times, and responding to any additional requests.

Receipt Notice

Upon receipt of Form I-942, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) sends a Receipt Notice to the applicant. This notice serves as proof that the USCIS has received the form. It contains a receipt number which is essential for tracking the status of the submission.

Processing Times

The Processing Times for Form I-942 vary and are influenced by the workload at the USCIS and the completeness of the application. Applicants can check current processing times using the receipt number on the USCIS website’s processing times page.

Request for Evidence

Sometimes, USCIS may require more information to make a decision on a request for a reduced fee. In such cases, a Request for Evidence (RFE) is issued. Applicants must respond to an RFE within the timeframe specified by USCIS, typically providing additional documentation to support their application.

Special Circumstances

When applying for a reduced fee with Form I-942, applicants may encounter specific needs such as disability accommodations or language translation assistance. These are evaluated on a case-by-case basis to ensure that every individual has equitable access to the application process.

Disability Accommodations

Applicants with disabilities may request accommodations to ensure the request for a reduced fee does not present undue hardship. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) works to make reasonable adjustments for individuals with a wide range of disabilities. For instance, an applicant may submit a separate sheet of paper along with Form I-942 detailing the specific modifications required for their disability.

Language Translation Assistance

USCIS does not directly provide translation services for Form I-942 but acknowledges the necessity for non-English speakers to accurately complete the form. Applicants may seek assistance from certified translators to ensure the integrity of the information provided. Accurate translation is crucial, as any errors due to language misunderstanding could affect the outcome of the reduced fee request.

Addressing and Mailing the Payment

The payment and accompanying documents should be sent to the address listed on the specific USCIS form instructions that the applicant is submitting. It is critical that they use the correct mailing address, which may differ depending on whether they are using the United States Postal Service (USPS) or a courier service such as UPS, FedEx, or DHL. Ensure that the address is clear and legible, with the correct postage, to prevent misrouting or return of the mail.

Legal Considerations

When it comes to Form I-942, Request for Reduced Fee, an applicant must be aware of specific legal considerations. These considerations encompass the privacy of information submitted and the subsequent usage and retention of that data by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Privacy Policy

USCIS takes the privacy of applicants seriously. Any personal information provided on Form I-942 is protected under the Privacy Act of 1974. This implies that the personal identifiable information (PII) such as full name, address, and Alien Registration Number (A#) is handled with confidentiality. The release of this information is limited to entities or individuals based on need-to-know criteria as stipulated by law.

Data Usage and Retention

The information submitted on Form I-942 is used primarily to assess eligibility for a fee reduction. The USCIS retains this data for the time necessary to fulfill the stated purpose of verifying the applicant’s income level and ensuring compliance with the Federal Poverty Guidelines. Retained data is stored securely and disposed of in accordance with the records retention schedule as mandated by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).