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Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu
By Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu January 11, 2024

Federal food assistance recipients are not eligible for free U.S. passports

If Your Time is short

  • The State Department, which issues U.S. passports, says on its website that fee waiver Form I-912 is for immigration services and does not apply to U.S. passports.

Low-income families cannot get free U.S. passports using a specific waiver form, though social media posts are claiming otherwise.

"If you receive EBT, you can get you and your children a free passport," a Jan. 5 Facebook post said. "For fee waiver forms, print, fill out then set an appointment with your local post office," it adds and then links to fee waiver form I-912 on the website of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

EBT stands for Electronic Benefits Transfer, an electronic system that lets families using the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program pay for food at participating retailers. The U.S. Department of Agriculture administers SNAP.

The post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The State Department says in a frequently asked questions section of its website that Form I-912 is for immigration services and does not apply to U.S. passports.

Featured Fact-check

To qualify for federal food assistance, recipients must meet income thresholds determined by the states in which they live. Although the program’s purpose is helping pay for food, other public agencies and private companies consider the benefit a pre-qualification for other discounts and waivers.

For example, in New York City and Washington, D.C., federal food assistance recipients can get half-off public transportation fares. Federal food assistance recipients can visit some museums nationwide for free or at reduced fees and can receive subsidized home internet as part of a federal program.

But getting a free passport is not among such services. First-time passport applications cost $130 for applicants 16 years and older and $100 for minors.

Very few people can receive a free passport; it’s limited to instances such as losing a passport in a recognized natural disaster.

We rate the claim that federal food assistance recipients and their children can get "a free passport" by using a specific waiver form False. 

Our Sources

Facebook post (archived link)

USDA, What Can SNAP Buy?, accessed Jan. 8, 2024

USDA, What is Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT)?, accessed Jan. 8, 2024

Department of State, Apply in Person for a Passport, accessed Jan. 8, 2024

GoodRx, 15 Surprising Things You Can Buy With Your EBT Card (SNAP Benefits), Jun. 7, 2023

WMATA, Metro Lift, accessed Jan. 9, 2024

NYC.Gov, Fair Fares, accessed Jan. 9, 2024

FCC, Affordable Connectivity Program, accessed Jan. 9, 2024

Department of Commerce, Visa and Passport Program, accessed Jan. 9, 2024

Department of State, Replacing Your Passport Through the Disaster Recovery Reform Act of 2018, accessed Jan. 9, 2024

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Additional Information on Filing a Fee Waiver, accessed Jan. 9, 2024

Department of State, United States Passport Fees, accessed Jan. 9, 2024

Museums for All, Visit a Museum through Museums for All, accessed Jan. 9, 2024

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Federal food assistance recipients are not eligible for free U.S. passports

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