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March 20, 2023

Skyrocketing Fees For Green Card Applications

It seems like the cost to submit an application for a green card is going to increase by 130%, as per a new proposal put forward recently.

According to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Green Card applicants interested in changing their status while living in the US would have to pay government fees of more than $3500. Currently, this fee is fixed at $1760.

An increase of 101% to the removal of conditions on applications has also been proposed. Plus, the proposal states that the optional work and travel permit forms that Green Card applicants could file for free until now will also be subjected to separate fees.

Green card costs for families have also increased drastically since there would not be any discounts for children anymore. For example, a US citizen submitting a marriage Green Card application to sponsor their spouse and two stepchildren could be charged a fee of more than $10,000.

There would not be any major spike in the costs of citizenship applications since they would only be increased by 19%, adjusting the fee from $640 to $760. This is being done as Biden’s administration promised to make it more convenient for immigrants seeking US citizenship. After these changes are finalized, filing costs for low-income immigrants submitting applications to avail of specific benefits could also decrease.

Here’s the new fee structure as per the new proposal;

These fee hikes are going to be applied since the agency is supposed to carry out a review of the immigration fee structure after every two years. About 96% of the funding of USCIS comes from filing fees, which have not been changed since 2016. The agency seems to be lacking funds, resulting in more problems like staff shortages and a growing application backlog. According to the USCIS Director, the updated fee structure will help the agency deal with the incoming workload while providing better customer service.

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