During the past few years, the U.S. immigration system has constantly been in flux. The rules and regulations seem to change almost every day, and with little notice. This has made life more challenging for many people who came to this country to establish a better life.
As of Oct. 2, 2020, a resident hoping to become a citizen must face a new hurdle: a higher naturalization application fee. Here are four things you should know about this change.
1. It’s a significant increase
For a long time, the fee for filing an N-400 Application for Naturalization was $640. The new cost is not just a little bit higher, but significantly more expensive. Under these new rules, the fee is $1,170 for a paper filing (and $10 less if you file online). That is an increase of more than 80%.
2. There are fewer low-income options
In addition to increasing the citizenship application fee, the new rules from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reduce the amount of available financial help. For example, the income limit to qualify for a fee waiver was slashed, meaning fewer people will benefit from this option. On top of that, many exceptions that allowed for this type of financial relief were simply eliminated.
3. Other immigration fees increase too
With these new regulations, immigration fees change almost across the board. While a handful of application fees become less expensive, most increase in cost. On average, immigration fees are going up by 20% with these changes.
4. You should always explore your options
Things are rarely easy. You know this as well as anyone. You have overcome many obstacles, and will continue to do so. While these types of rule changes may make things harder, it is always wise to explore your options. With some creative problem-solving and the right legal support, there is almost always a path forward. It just might look a little different than you had imagined.