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What is happening to immigration fees?

Pat Malone • October 01, 2020

The USCIS (government) is trying to raise the fees for many immigration applications, including citizenship. They would make it hard or impossible to get a fee waiver too. A federal court order stopped the USCIS changes to the fees and fee waiver. The court order is temporary, while the court considers the case. 

Advocates will fight to keep the fees lower. But we don't know if the court will stop the increases permanently or if Congress will change the laws. The safest way to avoid the higher fees is to apply for citizenship now. 


How much will it cost to apply for citizenship?

For now it costs $725 to apply for citizenship. This includes the N-400 form fee ($640) and the fingerprinting, or "biometrics" fee ($85). If the USCIS wins the case in federal court, it will cost $1,170 to apply for citizenship. 


Can I get a fee waiver or pay less if my income is low?

If your income is low and you apply now, you may qualify for a full or partial fee waiver. If the USCIS wins the case in federal court, most people will not qualify for a fee waiver. 

Full fee waiver

You may qualify for a fee waiver now, if your income is below 150% of the federal poverty guidelines.  If you get a full fee waiver, you pay $0 to apply for citizenship. 

Partial fee waiver

You may qualify for a partial fee waiver now, if your income is between 150% and 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. If you get a partial fee waiver, you pay $405 to apply for citizenship. 


If you are ready to apply for citizenship....

  1. Check your eligibility. Try the Citizenshipworks pre-screening
  2. Start filling out the application forms. Citizenshipworks is a free and safe guide to help.
  3. Find out if you qualify for a fee waiver or reduced fee. Try this calculator: https://www.newamericanscampaign.org/fee-waiver/ Click here to read more about the fees and fee waiver. 
  4. Find out if you need legal help. Citizenshipworks will ask questions about your immigration history,  marriage, selective service, taxes, any arrests, or other complications. If you need legal help, Citizenshipworks connects you to our nonprofit legal service partners for free or low-cost legal help.  


Finally, allow enough time for the process. It takes time to find information and documents, and fill out the forms. It takes time to get legal help. If you are ready to apply, start today.

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