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Cost of some immigration applications are going up

A recent U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announcement indicates that the cost of citizenship applications will increase to $1,170 from $640. That's an 83% rise in the cost of citizenship applications. The USCIS is a federal agency, so the price increase will impact people applying for citizenship in Indiana and all over the country. The agency has proposed a 21% increase in the overall cost of some immigration applications, saying the increase in prices is required to cover costs and pay for applicant reviews.

The USCIS proposal also limits or eliminates the availability of certain fee waiver programs. Some political analysts have opined that the increased prices might keep people who are otherwise eligible from completing the process of legal immigration. The acting director of USCIS said the agency is required to look at incoming funds and expenditures in much the same way a business would have to. The fee adjustments would reportedly minimize subsidies needed to cover applicants' costs.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association had a different point of view, though, and noted that fewer applications are being submitted and processing times at the USCIS are increasing. The AILA looked at data from 2014 to 2018 and found that processing times increased by 46% between 2016 and 2018. Additionally, the USCIS got fewer applications by 17% from the beginning of 2017 through most of 2018. Processing times increased during that period, though, by 19%.

An Indiana resident pursuing citizenship status might want to speak with an attorney about these and other current events in immigration law. An attorney could suggest different avenues to secure a visa or a green card, and they might draft and file necessary legal documents with the USCIS. An attorney may also be able to communicate with government officials on the client's behalf.

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