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Understanding the new fee increase for immigration applications

Whenever immigrants who wish to live in Riverside County apply for citizenship or for a green card, they must fill out an application and pay a fee. According to USA Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services falls within the purview of the Department of Homeland Security. However, unlike many government agencies, USCIS is not funded by money collected from taxpayers. The required applications fees are scheduled for an increase for the first time in many years.

While the fee increases are not hefty ones, many people may still struggle to make the payments. Therefore, there has been a rush to file applications before the fee increase takes effect. The fees will increase for those applying:

  • For a waiver of unlawful entry
  • For a green card renewal
  • To bring a family member into the country
  • For one-year work permits

The fee increase is intended to help alleviate the costs of refugees who have no money to pay fees and to help with USCIS operating costs.

Financial relief may be obtainable for some who are eligible for naturalization, reports NBC News, as waivers are available for those who do not meet certain income limits. This is important, advocates argue, since citizenship should be available for everyone and not just those who can afford it. A full waiver is available for those who earn less than 150 percent of the federal poverty guideline. Partial waivers are available for those who are between 150 and 200 percent of the federal guideline. For a family of four, that would mean a total income of no more than $48,600.

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