Immigrants and asylum seekers hoping to call the United States home are about to pay more than ever for the privilege.
On Friday, the Trump administration announced sweeping increases for some of the most common immigration procedures, according to the Miami Herald, which notes an 81% increase in the cost of citizenship for naturalization, as well as a new $50 charge for asylum-seekers.
The fees’ adjustment “to ensure U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recovers its costs of services,” they agency said in a press release, includes a $50 fee in the Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. That will make the United States one of only four countries around the world that charge a fee for humanitarian protection. –Miami Herald
For those seeking to apply for US citizenship through naturalization, the fee will increase from $640 to $1,160 if filed online, and $1,170 if done via paper.
Form I-765, a petition for employment authorization, will rise 34% to $550, while form I-751, which removes conditions on permanent residence obtained through marriage, will rise 28% to $760.
Other fees noted by The Herald:
Current fee: $575. Final Fee: $1,110. Percentage change: 76%.
Current fee: $285. Final Fee: $1,810. Percentage change: 535%.
Current fee: $370. Final Fee: $400 ($390 for online filing). Percentage change: 8% (5%).
▪ I-929, Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant (Victims of Criminal Activity)
Current fee: $230. Final Fee: $1,485. Percentage change: 546%.
Current fee: $355. Final Fee: $1,585. Percentage change: 346%.
Fee waivers are almost entirely eliminated, pricing out lower-income applicants for citizenship & various humanitarian protections.
Fees are imposed on asylum-seekers.
This summary is from the draft rule, but is still on target:
— Doug Rand (@doug_rand) July 31, 2020
The Department of Homeland Security says the fee hikes are due to increased operating costs and a decrease in income required to cover expenses, and claims the weighted average increase is 20%, which will avoid a $1 billion annual funding shortfall.
“USCIS is required to examine incoming and outgoing expenditures and make adjustments based on that analysis,” said USCIS deputy director for policy, Joseph Edlow. “These overdue adjustments in fees are necessary to efficiently and fairly administer our nation’s lawful immigration system, secure the homeland and protect Americans.”
USCIS has told Congress it requires $1.2 billion in emergency funding due to a serious decline in green card and other visa applications, while most services were halted on March 18 due to COVID-19, and resumed on June 4.