US Citizenship and Green Card Fee Increase

U.S. Raising Citizenship and Green Card Fees by 66% on average starting July 30. The step made final an increase first proposed in January 31 what they do now under a plan that immigration officials promised will make the nation's chief immigration agency more efficient.

Among the many fees that will rise:

  • United States citizenship increases 66%, from $405 to $675
    (Including the $80 required for electronic fingerprints, an increase of $10).
  • Legal permanent residency increase 155%, from $395 to $1,010.
  • The cost of work permits would rise 88%, from $180 to $340.

Immigration officials defend the fee system, saying it provides spending flexibility, since revenues go up in proportion to any rise in applications. They say that previous fee hikes have not resulted in drastic reductions in applications for residency or citizenship.

The agency said it would use the additional revenue to improve service efficiency, upgrade its buildings, improve offices, hire 1,500 workers, and for computer equipments and systems to allow the agency to move from a paper-based to electronic system to process applications, and officials promised to reduce the average time for processing visa applications by 20 percent by the fall of 2009.

Agency Director Emilio Gonzales, said the fee-dependent agency needs the cash infusion to improve services, and he promised ''substantial reductions'' in the time it takes to process an application."This agency is fee based, 99 per cent of our budget comes from user fees. We need to be the agency people expect us to be. We need to undertake reforms.... The only way to get from there to here is to have the financial resources to do that," CIS Director Emilio Gonzalez said Tuesday.

The agency also said it would waive fees for victims of human trafficking, for refugees who are granted asylum in the United States, for some teenage immigrants and for immigrants fleeing domestic abuse who seek residency under the terms of the Violence Against Women Act.

"We are seeing coyote [smuggler] fees go up to $1500 to $2500 per person,” said Mr. King. “I do not see any fees levied by USCIS that were that high. So if it is cheaper to have access to becoming a citizen than it is to be transported [illegally] to the United States, then, no, I do not think those fees are too high by comparison."

That's quiet an increase; glad we are not affected that much, case has been pending that long though, maybe it will be sooner. It's ok.

The new fees were to be published this week in the Federal Register and also were posted on the Citizenship and Immigration Services Web site.

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