Most applications for a deferred action cost $465 (which includes an $85 biometric fee), but for some, it may be possible to avoid paying those fees. USCIS is careful to say that they do not offer a “fee waiver” for deferred action applications, but instead only offers a “fee exemption.” The difference probably does not matter to the average person. In effect, it means that instead of submitting the usual fee waiver form, each applicant sends a letter explaining the reason they believe they are eligible for an exemption, along with documentation to support the claim. Such documentation should include proof of annual income along with other documents proving the specific exemption.
The applicant then waits for approval of the exemption, and then, after approval, submits the application for a deferred action along with the exemption letter from USCIS.
There are three stated reasons that a person may be granted a fee exemption for a deferred action and all of them require that the applicant earn less than %150 of the U.S. poverty level, which is recalculated each year.
- 1. The applicant is under 18 years of age and homeless, in foster care, or otherwise lacking any family support.
2. The applicant suffers from a serious chronic disability and consequently cannot care for themselves.
3. The applicant, at the time of the request, accumulated $25,000 or more in debt in the past 12 months as the result of unreimbursed medical expenses for themselves or an immediate family member.
Anyone who qualifies for an exemption is in a desperate situation. Some attorneys would be willing to accept your case pro bono or at a discounted rate, and it would be worth talking to attorney to make sure it is done correctly.