Immigration fees may soon see an increase

Immigrating to the United States can be expensive. After all, not only must individuals finance a new life, but they typically also must pay steep immigration-related expenses. Even worse, new immigrants may not have the authorization to work in the United States while their immigration matters are pending.  Just before the Thanksgiving holiday, the Trump administration proposed raising fees for many immigration applications and petitions. The suggested change increases many already expensive immigration costs considerably. While the following is not a complete rundown of every proposed fee increase, it highlights some major changes to the current fee structure. Asylum  Currently, there is no filing fee for asylum applications. This makes sense, as asylees often have limited resources. If the proposed rule becomes final, though, some asylum seekers will have to pay $50 to file their applications. The fee makes the United States one of only four countries to charge a fee to adjudicate asylum. Naturalization  If you have been thinking about applying for citizenship to take advantage of the many benefits it confers, you may now have an additional incentive to act quickly. That is, the proposed rule raises the fee for naturalization applications from $640 to $1,170. This represents an 80% increase. Marriage-based permanent residency  The total cost for seeking a marriage-based green card from inside the United States is currently $1,760. This fee covers the cost of the immigrant visa, adjustment of status, work and travel permits and fingerprinting. While many related forms had been free when filed as a one-step packet, that will no longer be true after the proposed rule becomes final. Instead, the cost for marriage-based permanent residency will be $2,750 – nearly $1,000 more than it is now. The proposal to increase many immigration-related filing fees is in the comment phase. Therefore, the final rule may have different numbers. Because proposed rules often become final with no changes, though, you may have to pay more in immigration fees in the not-too-distant future.

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