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Immigrants Will Face Fee Hike for U.S. Citizenship Application Starting Dec. 23

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From our partner, the New Americans Campaign:

SAN JOSE – For the first time in six years, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will increase the fees required for many immigrant applications and petitions, including the application for U.S. citizenship. Lawful Permanent Residents are encouraged to apply for naturalization now to avoid the fee hike.

Currently, it costs $680 to apply for naturalization. Beginning December 23, 2016, the application fee will increase to $725. Additionally, the application fee for the Certificate of Citizenship will nearly double from $600 to $1,170.

“With the pending fee increase, we strongly encourage qualified lawful permanent residents not to delay in taking the important step toward becoming a U.S. citizen,” said Ketaki Srivastava, Immigration Caseworker at the International Rescue Committee in Northern California.

While citizenship will have a higher price tag for many immigrants, UCSIS is introducing a new partial fee waiver for lower-income applicants at the same time.

“We applaud UCSIS’s recognition that immigrants who are struggling to get by still have a strong desire to become American citizens and the high cost of application fees should not be an insurmountable barrier for them,” Srivastava said. “We suggest that immigrants who qualify for the partial fee waiver wait to apply until it goes into effect on December 23.”

Under this reduced fee program, applicants whose household income is between 150 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level guidelines qualify to pay half the application fee, which is $320. A family of four, for example, with a household income between $36,450 and $48,600 will benefit from the new fee reduction. Households that earn below 150 percent of the federal poverty level will continue to benefit from a full fee waiver. 

A 2015 report by the Urban Institute reveals that 20 percent of the over 400,000 immigrants in San Jose are eligible for naturalization. Of these, the majority of eligible immigrants originate from Mexico, Vietnam and India.

The International Rescue Committee is a member of the New Americans Campaign, led by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center. The Campaign is a nonpartisan, innovative and unprecedented effort that brings together a coalition of funders, leading national immigration and service organizations, and over 100 local service providers across 18 different cities, including San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, and Turlock to help aspiring Americans reach their dream of citizenship. The New Americans Campaign, with its partners, sponsors the site Citizenshipworks to help immigrants complete the immigration process. 

Aspiring citizens in need of advice or assistance are encouraged to contact:

IRC in San Jose: (408) 277-0255 ext 17 or sanjoseimmigration [at] rescue.org (subject: Immigration%20Inquiry, body: Name%3A%20%0A%0AContact%20Number%3A%0A%0AEmail%3A%0A%0AMessage%2FQuestion%3A%0A) (email) 

IRC in Oakland: call (510) 852-8914 or Manal.Alli [at] Rescue.org (subject: Immigration%20Inquiry, body: Name%3A%20%0A%0AContact%20Number%3A%0A%0AEmail%3A%0A%0AMessage%2FQuestion%3A%0A) (email)

IRC in Turlock: call (209) 667-2378 ext 1 or Monica.Contreras [at] Rescue.org (subject: Immigration%20Inquiry, body: Name%3A%20%0A%0AContact%20Number%3A%0A%0AEmail%3A%0A%0AMessage%2FQuestion%3A) (email)

IRC in Sacramento: call (916) 473-5964 or Assadullah.Hanif [at] rescue.org (subject: Immigration%20Inquiry%20, body: Name%3A%20%0A%0AContact%20Number%3A%0A%0AEmail%3A%0A%0AMessage%2FQuestion%3A) (email)