U.S. Law Center

Study: fees discouraging many permanent residents from seeking U.S. citizenship

The process of applying for U.S. citizenship involves many things. One thing it involves is the paying of fees. Reportedly, currently, there are around $700 worth of fees associated with applying for U.S. citizenship. A recent study has indicated that the current amount of the application fees for U.S. citizenship may be discouraging many permanent residents from seeking U.S. citizenship.

The study was conducted by the University of Southern California's Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. In this study, researchers looked at what things led permanent residents who are eligible for U.S. citizenship to not seek such citizenship.

Reportedly, the study found that 20 percent of permanent residents who are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship are opting not to pursue citizenship due to the costs associated with applying for it. According to the study, cost was the second most common reason for not seeking citizenship.

There are some options available for those for whom the cost of applying for citizenship is prohibitive. For example, one could apply for a fee waiver. However, it has been argued that the current fee waiver system does not sufficiently address the issue.

The study's results give rise to some important questions. Is the current level of application fees for citizenship making it so U.S. citizenship is primarily something for wealthier immigrants? Is the current level of fees depriving poorer immigrants of the chance to become U.S. citizens? Would a decrease in application fees lead to a significant rise in the number of permanent residents seeking citizenship? Should the government lower the amount of the fees associated with applying for citizenship? These questions give rise to many different opinions.

What do you think of the study's results? Should the U.S. consider lowering the fees associated with applying for citizenship?

Source: The Seattle Times, "High fees may block path to U.S. citizenship," Lornet Turnbull, Feb. 14, 2013

Our firm handles a wide variety of immigration law matters, including matters involving citizenship and naturalization.

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