U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is raising fees for immigration petitions and applications for the first time in six years.
The last time that USCIS raised fees was in November, 2010. Fees are going up on average by 21 percent December 23, after the U.S. election.
“This is our first fee increase since November 2010, and we sincerely appreciate the valuable public input we received as we prepared this final rule,” USCIS Director León Rodríguez said in a press release Monday. One example of a fee increase is the $45 bump for the Form N-400 Application for Naturalization from $595 to $640 — an 8 percent increase.
USCIS is justifying the fee increase because it “is necessary to recover the full cost of services provided,” according to the press release. “We are mindful of the effect fee increases have on many of the customers we serve. That’s why we decided against raising fees as recommended after the fiscal year 2012 and 2014 fee reviews,” Rodríguez stated.
In the event someone has difficulty paying the fees related to certain immigration documentation they are trying to obtain, USCIS “will also offer a reduced filing fee for certain naturalization applicants with limited means.”
Immigration is a central issue in the 2016 presidential elections. GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump proposes building a border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to stop illegal immigration.
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