US Dangles The Carrot And Reduces Naturalization Fee

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In an effort to promote immigrants to become U.S. citizens, the US administration has proposed a few adjustments to the US immigration fee. The cost of some benefits has been raised; however there has been a reduction in the naturalization fees for certain categories of the lower income immigrants.

The DHS released the proposed US immigration fee changes to the USCIS which is expected to go into effect this fall. The proposed fee changes have been published and is open for comment in the Federal Register (81 FR 26904, 5/4/16) till July 5, 2016.

All costs of the US immigration services provided are not recovered by the current fees

USCIS conducted an all-inclusive fee review and found that the current fees do not cover the cost it incurs for the services it provides, and so necessary adjustments to the fee schedule have been made to sustain a satisfactory level of services. It had been updated last, in the year 2010.

The USCIS fee has been increased by a weighted average of 21 percent and adds one additional US immigration fee. DHS also clarifies that US visa applicants may need to appear for paid biometrics services or an interview.

The US immigration proposed fee changes vary, for instance, there is a $45 fee increase for an application for naturalization and application for a fiancé visa has been increased by $195. The Employment Based Immigrant Visa will cost $3,035 to process the EB-5, Form I-924A.

Low-income immigrants are exempt from the fee increase

Those who wish to become U.S. citizens and belong to the low-income immigrants are exempt from the increase in the fee. They will be charged $320 for the naturalization application. The low-income immigrants must qualify with family income that is not more than 200 percent and not less than 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines.

US immigration fee exemption reduces the current cost of naturalization — $680, plus the $85 biometric fee for the lower income immigrants while those who can afford will pay additional $45 towards the cost of naturalization applications.

Fee change proposed is to increase access to the United States citizenship

Rep. Luis V. Gutiérrez (D-IL), has been promoting naturalization and voter registration against racism. A lot of eligible immigrants will need to make a choice and pay $700 towards US citizenship and earn all rights, duties and honor, or renew their green card for $450 for five years.

The 8.8 million eligible applicants can submit an application for a fee waiver if they fall under the low-income group if they receive means-tested benefits or facing "financial hardship."

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