Q. Can we get U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to waive the naturalization application fee?
Stacey Carmona, by email
A. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offers a full fee waiver and a partial fee waiver. And if you don’t qualify for a waiver, you can pay by credit.
Don’t put off becoming a U.S. citizen. Naturalizing is your best protection against restrictive changes in our immigration laws.
USCIS will waive the full naturalization filing fee of $ 680 ($ 595 for applicants age 75 or older) if you are receiving income-based public assistance.
Examples are Medicaid and SNAP. USCIS will also waive the fee if you are facing short-term financial hardship such as recent high medical bills or a layoff.
Finally, USCIS will waive the fee if your household income is no more than 150% of the federal poverty guidelines.
If you don’t qualify for a full fee waiver, you can pay a reduced fee of $ 405 ($ 320 for applicants age 75 or older) if your household income is more than 150%, but no more than 200% of the federal poverty guidelines.
If you don’t qualify for a waiver, consider charging the naturalization filing fee to your credit card using USCIS form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.
Q. I am a permanent resident. I have been working in Peru, my country of birth, since February 2016. My family and I want to return to live in the United States. Will we have a problem reentering the country?
Name withheld, Lima
A. Maybe. After one continuous year abroad, your green card is no longer a valid entry document.
However, if you can prove to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer that you did not abandon your U.S. residence and that your failure to return within one year was beyond your control, the office can nevertheless admit you.
Your choices are to apply at a U.S. consulate abroad for a returning resident/special immigrant visa, or just show up at a port of entry and try to get a U.S. border control officer to admit you based on a claim that you did not abandon your residence.
Allan Wernick is an attorney and director of the City University of New York’s Citizenship Now project.
Send questions and comments to Allan Wernick, New York Daily News, 4 New York Plaza, New York, NY 10004 or email to email@example.com.