Saturday, August 1, 2020

USCIS Increases Fees


Facing a budget shortfall and possible furloughs, the Department of Homeland Security announced a final rule (PDF) that adjusts fees for certain immigration and naturalization benefit requests to ensure U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services recovers its costs of services.  According to DHS, fees collected and deposited into the Immigration Examinations Fee Account fund nearly 97% of USCIS’ budget.

CNN summarizes the USCIS fee increases as follows:

"The Trump administration is dramatically increasing fees for dozens of immigration and work applications, including a more than 80 percent increase on naturalization applications and a first-time fee for asylum applicants. . . . 

The agency increased the cost of online naturalization applications from $640 to $1,160. . . . 
There will also be a $50 fee for asylum seekers.
Historically, asylum seekers around the world are not subject to application fees, according to the Migration Policy Institute. The US will join only three other countries -- Australia, Fiji, and Iran -- imposing asylum fees.
The new fees take effect October 2." (bold added). 
Voice of America offers a similar assessment, stating that the new fee schedule "would dramatically increase U.S. immigration fees in multiple categories, including a first-ever fee for asylum applicants and an 80% increase for naturalization services."

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