Why do USCIS fees change so much?

Most news headlines about immigration these days center on the matter of undocumented individuals. There is no doubt that the issue is a top priority on the political stage. The emphasis in the stories, thus, seems to be on examining how the government is handling removals and deportations.

What doesn’t get much play is the fact that there are still a great many individuals and families seeking to immigrate legally to Kentucky and other states. Numbers seeking to become citizens continue to run high, as well, according to government projections.

Going through the process is not a walk in the park. Nor is it an inexpensive proposition. Indeed, it seems to get more expensive every year. One recent report noted that the fees for completing a broad range of immigration filings and applications rose 21 percent on average as of the end of last year.

In defense of the action, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service said the increases were necessary because the agency is mostly self-funded and Congress didn’t choose to appropriate money to cover rising costs associated with some key initiatives, including the Office of Citizenship.

As a result, fees for various applications, including naturalization, requests for hearings regarding naturalization decisions, background checks and some others have spiked. For example, the cost for applying for Family Unity Benefits has jumped from just over $400 to $600. The fee for a petition by an alien entrepreneur has more than doubled from $1,500.

It’s clear that the cost of naturalization is rising. For many, the increases could be putting the goal of U.S. citizenship out of reach. Waivers of some fees may be possible depending on circumstances. To explore all possible options, consult an experienced attorney first.



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