ICYMI: US Immigration fees jump for the first time since 2010, making it tougher for would-be Americans

immigration_fees_jump_for_the_first_time_since_2010__making_it_tougher_for_would-be_americansIn contrast to Canada, US CIS is a revolving fund, with all fees raised used for the citizenship program. In Canada, any increase in fees goes to the Consolidated Revenue Fund (general government revenues), with no direct link to the citizenship program expenditures:

For the first time since 2010, the Department of Homeland Securityhiked a range of administrative fees for citizenship applications — in a few cases more than doubling the costs of key services. Any new petitions filed after Dec. 23 will not be accepted unless they include the higher fees.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency charged with handling immigrant applications, said in a statement the proceeds will help cover detecting fraud, processing cases and a range of other administrative costs, in what USCIS called a “weighted average” price hike of 21 percent.
Experts say the stiffer bureaucratic costs means the path to becoming an American could become a heavier burden for many cash-strapped would-be citizens. However, USCIS justified the price hike by arguing the agency was almost exclusively funded through the fees paid by petitioners, and needed the cash infusion.

Still, USCIS Director Leon Rodríguez said in a statement that the agency was “mindful of the effect fee increases have on many of the customers we serve,” which is why it waited so long to increase fees.

Peter Boogaard, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, told CNBC that along with the new fees, “USCIS will also offer a reduced filing fee for certain naturalization applicants with limited means.”

Still, “these changes are now necessary to ensure USCIS can continue to serve its customers effectively,” he added.

US citizenship ‘as soon as possible’

The new pricing could have far-reaching implications for the vast number of immigrants that vie for U.S. citizenship on an annual basis. Each year, USCIS naturalizes hundreds of thousands of new citizens.

Source: Immigration fees jump for the first time since 2010, making it tougher for would-be Americans

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About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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