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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities; Revision of a Currently Approved Collection: Request for Fee Waiver

This document has a comment period that ends in 14 days. (05/06/2019) Submit a formal comment

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AGENCY:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security.

ACTION:

30-Day notice.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will be submitting the following information collection request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comments.

DATES:

The purpose of this notice is to allow an additional 30 days for public comments. Comments are encouraged and will be accepted until May 6, 2019.

ADDRESSES:

Written comments and/or suggestions regarding the item(s) contained in this notice, especially regarding the estimated public burden and associated response time, must be directed to the OMB USCIS Desk Officer via email at dhsdeskofficer@omb.eop.gov. All submissions received must include the agency name and the OMB Control Number 1615-0116 in the subject line.

You may wish to consider limiting the amount of personal information that you provide in any voluntary submission you make. For additional information please read the Privacy Act notice that is available via the link in the footer of http://www.regulations.gov.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

USCIS, Office of Policy and Strategy, Regulatory Coordination Division, Samantha Deshommes, Chief, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20529-2140, Telephone number (202) 272-8377. (This is not a toll-free number; comments are not accepted via telephone message). Please note contact information provided here is solely for questions regarding this notice. It is not for individual case status inquiries. Applicants seeking information about the status of their individual cases can check Case Status Online, available at the USCIS website at http://www.uscis.gov, or call the USCIS National Customer Service Center at (800) 375-5283; TTY (800) 767-1833.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Reason for Changes

USCIS is primarily funded by application and petition fees. Under INA 286(m), 8 U.S.C. 1356(m), DHS has the authority to establish the fees it charges for immigration and naturalization services to recover the full costs of such services, including those provided without charge, and to recover costs associated with the administration of the fees collected. Therefore, the fees are set at a level that is intended to recover the full cost of USCIS operations. USCIS may waive the fee for certain immigration benefit requests when the individual requesting the benefit is unable to pay the fee. See 8 CFR 103.7(c). To request a fee waiver, the individual must submit a written waiver request for permission to have their benefit request processed without payment. The waiver request must state the person's belief that he or she is entitled to or deserving of the benefit requested and the reasons for his or her inability to pay and include evidence to support the reasons indicated. See 8 CFR 103.7(c)(2).

The proposed revision would reduce the evidence required for a fee waiver to only a person's household income and no longer require proof of whether or not an individual receives a means-tested benefit. USCIS policy since 2011 has been to permit a fee waiver where an applicant received a means-tested benefit, even for a short period of time. USCIS has found that the various income levels used in states to grant a means-tested benefit result in inconsistent income levels being used to determine eligibility for a fee waiver. Consequently, a fee waiver may be granted for one person who has a certain level of income in one state, but denied for a person with that same income who lives in another state. Therefore, USCIS has determined that fee waivers should not be based on the receipt of a means tested benefit, and the revised form will not permit a fee waiver based on receipt of a means-tested benefit. It will retain the poverty-guideline threshold and financial hardship criteria. USCIS requested public comments on the revised form and policy and is proceeding with the form revision after considering the public comments. Therefore, USCIS will rescind Policy Memorandum, PM-602-0011.1, Fee Waiver Guidelines as Established by the Final Rule of the USCIS Fee Schedule; Revisions to Adjudicator's Field Manual (AFM) Chapter 10.9, AFM Update AD11-26 (Mar. 13, 2011) and issue new guidance on the documentation acceptable for individuals to present to demonstrate that they are unable to pay a fee when requesting a fee waiver. The applications and petitions that are eligible for a fee waiver are provided in 8 CFR 103.7(c)(3) and will not be changed by this form and policy change.

Comments

The information collection notice was previously published in the Federal Register on September 28, 2018, at 83 FR 49120, allowing for a 60-day public comment period. USCIS did receive 1,198 comments in connection with the 60-day notice.Start Printed Page 13688

You may access the information collection instrument with instructions, or additional information by visiting the Federal eRulemaking Portal site at: http://www.regulations.gov and enter USCIS-2010-0008 in the search box. Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies should address one or more of the following four points:

(1) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

(2) Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

(3) Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

(4) Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.

Overview of This Information Collection

(1) Type of Information Collection Request: Revision of a Currently Approved Collection.

(2) Title of the Form/Collection: Request for Fee Waiver.

(3) Agency form number, if any, and the applicable component of the DHS sponsoring the collection: I-912; USCIS.

(4) Affected public who will be asked or required to respond, as well as a brief abstract:

Primary: Individuals or households. USCIS uses the data collected on this form to verify that the applicant is unable to pay for the immigration benefit being requested. USCIS will consider waiving a fee for an application or petition when the applicant or petitioner clearly demonstrates that he or she is unable to pay the fee. Form I-912 standardizes the collection and analysis of statements and supporting documentation provided by the applicant with the fee waiver request. Form I-912 also streamlines and expedites USCIS's review, approval, or denial of the fee waiver request by clearly laying out the most salient data and evidence necessary for the determination of inability to pay. Officers evaluate all factors, circumstances, and evidence supplied in support of a fee waiver request when making a final determination. Each case is unique and is considered on its own merits. If the fee waiver is granted, the application will be processed. If the fee waiver is not granted, USCIS will notify the applicant and instruct him or her to file a new application with the appropriate fee.

(5) An estimate of the total number of respondents and the amount of time estimated for an average respondent to respond: The estimated total number of respondents for the information collection I-912 is 350,000 and the estimated hour burden per response is 1.17 hours; for the information collection DACA Exemptions the estimated total number of respondents is 108 and the estimated hour burden per response is 1.17 hours; for the information collection 8 CFR 103.7(d) Director's exception request the estimated total number of respondents is 20 and the estimated hour burden per response is 1.17 hours.

(6) An estimate of the total public burden (in hours) associated with the collection: The total estimated annual hour burden associated with this collection is 409,650 hours.

(7) An estimate of the total public burden (in cost) associated with the collection: The estimated total annual cost burden associated with this collection of information is $1,312,980.

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Dated: March 29, 2019.

Samantha L. Deshommes,

Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security.

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[FR Doc. 2019-06657 Filed 4-4-19; 8:45 am]

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