Fee Waiver (IFP)

If you cannot afford to pay court fees and costs, you may be able to have these fees and costs waived. Under the law, the court can waive these fees and costs if certain conditions are met.

What is a Fee Waiver (In Forma Pauperis)

There is usually a fee to file documents with the court. If you have a low income and cannot afford to pay the fee, you can ask the court for a waiver. A court fee waiver is often called an "IFP" which stands for "In Forma Pauperis."

You may qualify to file for a waiver 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. The judge can waive all or part of the court fees in a case, and the waiver only applies to costs specifically stated in the IFP Order. NOTE: Getting a fee waiver does not mean you will never have to pay any costs or a judgment in the case.

How to Request a Fee Waiver

These are the steps to ask for a fee waiver in District Court. If you are handling a case at the MN Court of Appeals, please visit the MN Court of Appeals Self-Help Center to learn about fee waivers in the Appellate Courts.

STEP 1:  Get the IFP forms

Before you can request a fee waiver, you must first complete the documents for the legal action you want to file (and make copies of your legal documents). Then, fill out the fee waiver forms and bring them to court along with the legal documents you want to file.

You can download the Fee Waiver Court Forms from this website or get them at the courthouse.

STEP 2:  Fill out the forms

Fill out the fee waiver forms and make copies of all of the legal documents you plan to file with the court.

STEP 3:  Take the forms to court

Take these things to the courthouse:
  • Your completed "Affidavit for In Forma Pauperis";
  • The documents (original and copies) for your legal action that you need to file (Petition, Complaint, Motion, Answer, etc.);
  • Proof of your financial need, such as your paycheck, tax return, or other proof;
  • Proof of public assistance (if you receive it), such as an MFIP card, canceled check from a government agency or other proof.

STEP 4:  Judge reviews fee waiver request

Your court will tell you the procedures for having a judge review your fee waiver (IFP) request. Procedures may be different from one court to another.

STEP 5:  Order for IFP granted or denied

If the judge does not grant your IFP request, you will have to pay the court fee. If the judge does grant 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 legal documents
FormsDownload and print Fee Waiver court forms or click on the I-CAN! Forms tab to fill out the Fee Waiver court forms online.

If you need help filling out the forms, contact Us @ the Self-Help Center or visit Legal Advice Clinics & Self-Help Centers to see if walk-in help is available at your courthouse.

Contact Court Administration where your case is or will be filed for questions on how to request a fee waiver in that court.
Rules & LawsIf you are representing yourself in a court case in Minnesota, you are responsible for following the same laws and rules as an attorney. Read Rights and Duties of Self-Represented Parties.


Laws & Rules on Fee Waivers (IFP)

The following is a list of some of the laws and rules that relate to handling a court case without paying certain court fees and costs, also known as "In Forma Pauperis."

See Laws, Rules & Legal Research.You can get more help with your legal research at Law Libraries throughout Minnesota. County law libraries are open to the public, but hours will vary.

You should talk with a lawyer to learn how the laws and rules may affect your case.