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How Expensive is it to Get a Green Card, Become a US Citizen, and Other Immigration Processes? USCIS Has Just Proposed Big Fee Increases for 2020.

Posted by Adriana Mitchell | Nov 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

How Expensive is it to Get a Green Card, Become a US Citizen, and Other Immigration Processes? On November 8, USCIS Proposed Big Increases for 2020. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware Residents Should Apply Before January 2020 to Avoid Risk of Paying Significantly Greater Filing Fees. 

If you are eligible for US Citizenship (Naturalization) or Green Card (Permanent Resident Card), apply before January 2020 to avoid risk of paying significantly greater filing fees.

On Friday, November 8, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed significant fee changes to common immigration processes, among them are substantial fee increases for obtaining:

  • US Citizenship (Naturalization)
  • Green Card (Permanent Resident Card)
  • DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, aka “Dreamers”) status renewal application

In addition to large fee increases proposed by USCIS, the agency is proposing that asylum applicants pay an application fee and additional charges, placing the United States on a list of only three other countries charging asylum-seekers (Iran, Fiji, and Australia).

US Citizenship (Naturalization)

  • $640.00 – Current Fee
  • $1,170.00 – Proposed Fee (an 83% increase, or an additional $530.00)
  • Means based Fee Waiver applications would no longer be accepted

Green Card (Permanent Resident Card)

USCIS is proposing fee reductions, from $1,225.00 to $1,120.00 for the green card application.

However, the USCIS will charge for the Work Permit & Travel Document applications, which now are free.

When one applies for a green card, one often applies for a Work Permit (Employment Authorization Card) which enables the applicant to work while the Green Card application is pending (a process that can take over a year). Also, Green Card applicants often apply for a travel document as well, which enables them to travel outside of the US while their Green Card application is pending.

Last week's USCIS proposed fees will force Green Card applicants, who also want an Employment Authorization Card and a Travel Documents, to pay $2,195.00 instead of $1,225.00, a 95% increase.

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals)

Currently, no new DACA applications are accepted. People who have DACA are only permitted to periodically renew their applications so that they may continue to have status in the US.

On November 8, USCIS proposed DACA fee changes that will forced the DACA beneficiaries to pay $765.00 instead of $490.00 (a 55% increase). The additional expense will present challenges to many Dreamers, especially those who are financing their own education, as they are not eligible for financial aid.

Asylum Seekers

In an unprecedented move, the USCIS is proposing to charge asylum applicants. While the proposed fee of $50.00 may seem low, it is worth bearing in mind that for people fleeing poverty, war, and violence this fee is not insubstantial.

In addition, USCIS is proposing that asylum applicants pay $765.00 for the work permit.

601A Provisional Waiver

USCIS has proposed increases in the fee for the 601A Provisional Waiver.

This is a waiver for people who must leave the US to obtain their Immigrant VISA outside the US. The proposed fee increase is from $630.00 to $960.00 (52% increase).

There are additional proposed fee changes in last week's USCIS proposal. While some fees are decreasing, fees are increasing for many of the most used applications.

My advice:  if you are eligible for US Citizenship (Naturalization) or Green Card (Permanent Resident Card), apply before January 2020 to avoid risk of paying significantly greater filing fees.

Please contact me with any questions or concerns.

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