Application Fees Increase for Family Immigration

Starting November 14, 2020, the cost of immigrating to the United State in accordance with federal requirements will significantly increase. Recently, the White House announced its plan to increase the cost of obtaining an immigrant visa for close family members who live abroad.

Family-based immigration allows the foreign spouse or child of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident (LPR)—also known as a “green card holder”—to gain lawful entry to the United States to live with their spouse or parent.

Current Application Fees for Family-Based Immigration

Under the White Houses’ new immigration policy, persons seeking to enter the United States and join their families will have to incur significantly more expenses than before. For many, this policy shift represents another attempt by the Trump Administration to significantly limit lawful immigration to the United States.

Previously, the Trump White House tried to impose a rule that would allow the government to deny green cards to persons who are considered “likely to become a public charge” unless they can prove otherwise. However, federal courts stopped the policy from taking effect.

However, the fee increases taking place this year represent an unprecedented hike in the cost of immigrating to America. These application fees will apply to marriages between a U.S. citizen and a citizen of a foreign country.

Foreign spouses who are already in the United States can expect more than a 56% increase in the cost of applying for a green card, as broken down as follows:

  • Family Sponsorship Form (I-130): $535 to $555
  • Green Card Application Form (I-485): $1,140 to $1,120
  • Affidavit of Support Form (I-864): $0
  • Work Permit Application Form (I-765): $0
  • Travel Permit Application Form (I-131): $0
  • Biometrics: $85

The overall cost of getting a green card for a foreign spouse living outside the United States generally will not increase. Additionally, individuals seeking asylum will be expected to pay $50. This places the United States on the shortlist of countries that impose fees for persons fleeing their home country due to persecution and credible threats of violence against their lives: Australia, Fiji, and Iran.

Costs for Obtained Citizenship for Lawful Permanent Residents

This year the processing fees for Naturalization Applications (N-400) will go up from $640 to $1,170. The federal government has not increased application fees for citizenship since 2016. However, the cost of fees in 2016 increased no more than eight percent. The 2020 fee increase represents over an 80% hike.

Acting Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) stated that the recent fee hike is supposed to address an “overextended system,” and that the immigration system would be underfunded by $1.13 billion annually without the increase.

However, many view these increases as signifying a political move favoring greater restrictions against immigrants in general, and opportunities for legal immigrants to obtain U.S. citizenship.

Consult DiPietro Law Group, PLLC for More Information

Immigration policy is one of the most mercurial areas of the law due to it being such a hot-button political issue. Unfortunately, the volatile nature of immigration law has significantly disrupted families of an international nature who wish to pursue the American dream. If you are facing a federal immigration issue and are concerned about keeping your family together, you should contact DiPietro Law Group, PLLC for legal advice.

Please call our office at (888) 530-4374 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation today.

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