USCIS consider more fee increases

Since the last fee hike in 2007, it was only a question of time until discussion about more Immigration fee increase will be a hot topic. U.S. immigration officials are considering another possible round of fee increases and budget cuts next year, prompting concern among immigrant rights groups.

The agency is facing a $118-million revenue shortfall this year in part because applications for citizenship and skilled worker visas are below projections, according to officials. Citizenship applications plunged to 58,000 last year from 254,000 the previous year in the Southern California district. Most experts blame the decline on a fee increase of 69% to $675 in 2007.

Immigrant advocates said, that any additional fee increase would severely hamper legal immigrants from pursuing citizenship. “Right now the high cost of citizenship is putting the dream of naturalization out of reach of low- and moderate-income legal permanent residents, and any future increase will just make the situation worse,” said Rosalind Gold of the National Assn. of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund in Los Angeles.

We hope that fee increases can be avoided. In any case, the best advice is that if one is eligible to apply for Citizenship or any other benefit, do it now, before any fee changes.