Immigration fees set to be much higher in 2020

Andy Uhler Jan 3, 2020
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In this file photo, immigrants await their turn for green card and citizenship interviews at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Queens office on May 30, 2013 in the Long Island City neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. John Moore/Getty Images

Immigration fees set to be much higher in 2020

Andy Uhler Jan 3, 2020
In this file photo, immigrants await their turn for green card and citizenship interviews at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Queens office on May 30, 2013 in the Long Island City neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. John Moore/Getty Images
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Fees for applying for a green card, citizenship and asylum are likely going up soon –– by a lot.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is required to review its fees every two years. According to Stephen Yale-Loehr, professor of immigration law at Cornell University, the fee hikes under consideration this year are historically high.

“It’s normal to come out with a proposed fee increase, but the percentage increase on a lot of these fees is just much higher than it has been in the past,” he said.

The proposed increase on green card applications is 79%. A citizenship application fee is set to go up by 83%, from $640 to $1,170.

“Plus they’re eliminating some of the waivers that low-income immigrants have to be able to file for citizenship, even if they can’t afford it,” said Sandra Feist, an immigration attorney based in Minneapolis.

“These fees are a penalty to make it hard for people to file for their green cards and other benefits that they’re eligible for,” she added.

USCIS attributes the proposed hike to the rising cost of processing applications and fighting immigration fraud. The agency said fees need to fall in line.

The Trump administration has said it will also use this extra revenue to help ICE bolster border security.

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