Immigration Law Is All About Family

The impact of money on naturalization rates

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2018 | Naturalization/Citizenship

Colorado naturalized citizens may have rights that permanent residents and other non-citizen immigrants do not. For instance, they are allowed to vote, may have greater access to jobs and may be able to sponsor family members looking to live in the country as well. However, despite these benefits, the naturalization rate in the United States has been falling in recent years. One reason may be the cost of going through the naturalization process.

A study conducted by the Immigration Policy Lab in conjunction with other groups found that reducing the cost could increase naturalization rates. Specifically, low-income individuals who were given vouchers to cover application costs were 41 percent more likely to apply for citizenship. Currently, the naturalization fee is $725. The fee was only $60 back in 1989, which would be equivalent to $120 in 2018.

The study examined 863 people who made an average of $19,000 a year. At this income level, they were ineligible for a fee waiver. Of those, 366 were given a fee voucher. The study found that 78 percent of those individuals applied for citizenship. Researchers tried to use other incentives to apply for citizenship on a control group of people who were eligible for the fee waiver. None of those efforts were as successful as the financial incentive was.

Those who are want to apply for naturalization may want to consult with legal counsel. An attorney may be helpful in answering any questions an individual may have as well as helping with paperwork. Individuals who need financial assistance may be able to inquire as to whether they are eligible for help paying naturalization fees. This may make it easier to complete the process in a timely manner and allow a person to enjoy the benefits of doing so.