TPS can be obtained without paying fees

People who qualify for the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) program and do not have the money to pay the appropriate filing fees may be able to receive a waiver from the government. So before you go looking for a loan to pay the $$420 ($$80 for the fingerprints and $$340 for the work permit), find out if you qualify for a "fee waiver".

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) uses its discretion to waive some of its fees for people who can prove "inability to pay" - whether for TPS or other immigration proceedings.

Immigration officials evaluate an applicant's documentation related to his or her standard of living and expenses before deciding whether a fee waiver is warranted. Waivers are not automatic. Each case is unique and is considered on its own merits.

Criteria that may determine "inability to pay":

  • In the last 180 days the person has qualified for a public benefit such as food stamps, Medicaid or temporary assistance for needy families..
  • That the individual's household income for the most recent tax year is at or below the poverty level - currently stipulated at $22,050 for a family of four.
  • The person is elderly (65 years of age or older at the time of filing the fee waiver request).
  • The person is disabled (must present verification of disability).
  • The age and number of dependents in the applicant's household.
  • Humanitarian reasons, either temporary or permanent, that justify granting a fee waiver request. For example: the applicant is temporarily indigent (homeless) or cannot afford to pay the fee without substantial hardship.

Documentation to prove "inability to pay":

  • Proof of standard of living and evidence that the applicant's dependents live in the applicant's home.
  • Proof of employment-related receipts, such as W-2 forms and letters from the employer on company letterhead detailing wages paid.
  • Tax returns.
  • Mortgage payment receipts or rent receipts.
  • Receipts for food and clothing, utility bills (such as gas, electricity, telephone, water), receipts for medical care for children or elderly, receipts for transportation expenses, receipts for medical expenses, receipts for other essential expenses.
  • Proof verifying the applicant's disability.
  • Documentation showing bank statements.
  • Documentation showing that you receive financial assistance or subsidies-such as alimony, child support, etc.
  • Documentation of debts and liabilities-how much you owe on outstanding loans, credit cards, etc.

How to request a fee waiver:

  • The applicant must submit an affidavit-or a signed and dated unsworn statement stating: "I declare under penalty of perjury that the following is true and correct"-requesting a fee waiver and stating the reasons why he or she is unable to pay the fee.
  • The affidavit and supporting documents must be submitted with the application or petition for benefits.
  • To facilitate the processing of the fee waiver request, please write in large letters "Fee waiver request"The following information will appear on the envelope in which you submit your application or petition along with the fee waiver request, as well as at the top of your affidavit and on each page with supporting information.
  • If the fee waiver is denied, USCIS will return the entire package including the application. They will give you the opportunity to restart the processing - in this case, TPS - by paying the appropriate fee. The application along with the appropriate fee must be sent to USCIS as soon as possible. Otherwise the agency will determine that you have abandoned your case and will not allow you to re-register for TPS unless you show good cause.