PRICE HIKE: U.S. Immigration Services Fees Set to Increase Oct. 2

As the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) claims it needs at least $1.2 billion in taxpayer funding to avoid furloughing about 70 percent of its workforce, the agency chose the last day of July 2020 to announce an exorbitant increase in fees for some of the most common immigration procedures.

Come Oct. 2, immigrants looking to enter the U.S., adjust within or file for citizenship or family members, will have to shell out a lot more for immigration services, including 81 percent more in fees to become a naturalized citizen.

The reason? The immigration agency cited the increase in operating costs and a decrease in its income. According to a statement, the Department of Homeland Security agency adjusted the rates by a weighted average increase of 20 percent to recover its operating costs and thus avoid a funding shortfall estimated at $1 billion annually.

NEW FEES

* The fee to apply to become a U.S. citizen or receive U.S. citizenship through naturalization will increase from $640 to $1,160 if filed online or $1,170 in paper filing.

* The fee to file for petitions for employment authorization — Form I-765 - will go up by 34 percent to $550.

* The fee for removing conditions on permanent residence obtained through marriage (Form I-751), will go up by 28 percent, from $595 to $760.

For the first time, asylum applicants will have to pay a $50 fee in the Application for Asylum and for Withholding of Removal. That will make the U.S. one of only four countries around the world that charge a fee for humanitarian protection.

▪ I-131A, Application for Travel Document (Carrier Documentation). Current fee: $575. Final Fee: $1,110. Percentage change: 76 percent.

▪ I-881, Application for Suspension of Deportation. Current fee: $285. Final fee: $1,810. Percentage change: 535 percent.

▪ I-539, Application To Extend/Change Nonimmigrant Status. Current fee: $370. Final fee: $400 ($390 for online filing). Percentage change: eight percent (five percent).

▪ 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 percent.

▪ N-470, Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes. Current fee: $355. Final fee: $1,585. Percentage change: 346 percent.

* 129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker A 75 percent increase – from $460 to $805.

* I-193 Application for Waiver of Passport and/or Visa. An increase from $585 to $2,790.

Immigrants applying before Oct. 2 will not have to pay the new fees. As long as the application is postmarked before the final date, the costs will be the current fees.