Judicial Branch Home >
SHC Home >
FIND HELP WITH: >
Fee Waiver (IFP) >
Basics on Fee Waivers
What is a Fee Waiver (In Forma Pauperis)
If you have a court case and you need to file papers with the court, you usually have to pay a filing fee. For people with low income, there is a way to ask for a "fee waiver" order from the court. The Judge can waive all or part of the court fees. The courts refer to fee waiver by its Latin term "In Forma Pauperis" (IFP).
You may qualify to file "In Forma Pauperis" if your income is at or below 125% of the Federal poverty level; if you receive public assistance; or if you can show that you do not have enough money to pay the filing fee. CAUTION: The "fee waiver" does not mean you will never have to pay any costs or judgments in your case. It applies to costs specifically stated in the IFP Order.
The steps below describe how to ask for a fee waiver at the MN District Courts. If you are filing an appeal, go to the MN Court of Appeals Self-Help Center to learn about fee waivers at the Appellate Courts.
Before you may ask for a fee waiver, you must first complete the paperwork for your legal action. After completing the paperwork, then you fill out the fee waiver forms.
You can download the fee waiver forms by clicking Court Forms - Fee Waiver. You may also get them at the filing counter at the courthouse.
Complete the fee waiver forms. Do not sign them yet! Make copies of all of the papers you plan to file with the court, including the papers you need to start or answer the lawsuit.
Go to the Courthouse and take these things with you:
(Click Courthouses and Locations for directions to your local courthouse)
- The forms you filled out for your case that you need to file (Petition, Complaint, Motion, Answer, etc.);
- Copies of those forms;
- Your complete "Affidavit for In Forma Pauperis" --do not sign it yet!
- Photo ID, such as a driver's license or passport;
- If you get public assistance, bring proof that you get it (such as your MFIP card, canceled check from a government agency or other proof); or
- Proof of your financial need, such as your paycheck, tax return, or other proof.
Bring all of your papers to Court Administration. Tell the court staff that you want to ask for a fee waiver or IFP. They will ask for your "Affidavit for In Forma Pauperis." (They may give you a blank one to use if you need it.) Then you sign your Affidavit in front of a notary or court administrator. They must watch you sign the documents, and then they sign and stamp them. CAUTION! You must tell the truth on your Affidavit; it is a sworn statement under oath. If you do not tell the truth, the Court can fine you.
Court staff will tell you the procedures for having a judge review your IFP request. Procedures may be different in each court. If the judge does not grant your IFP request, you will have to pay the court fee(s).
If the judge grants your IFP request, he or she will sign an IFP Order that waives all or part of the filing fee. Keep your copy of the IFP order in a safe place until you are ready to file your paperwork. NOTE: You should always keep a copy of any papers you file with the court.
« Back to Fee Waiver Home
« Back to SHC Home