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US immigration: Drastic increase in citizenship applications

British Columbia residents who were planning applications for naturalization or citizenship in the United States may want to reconsider. U.S. immigration announced massive increases in the fees charged for such applications. Reportedly, this was another step in limiting low-income foreign applications for legal immigration to the U.S.

Along with the new immigration fees, asylum seekers will have to pay a fee. In the future, the Application for Asylum and Withholding of Removal will no longer be free. A fee of $50 must accompany such applications. This makes the United States the fourth country in the world not to offer free humanitarian protection.

However, a fee that will have a more significant impact on people in British Columbia is the filing of an application for U.S. citizenship by way of naturalization. Online applications have increased from $640 to $1,160, and paper filings will now cost $1,170. Other increases include the new fee for filing a petition for authorization of employment will now be $550, an increase of 34%. Applications to remove conditions for those who obtained permanent residence through marriage will increase by 28%, going up to $760 from the previous fee of $595.

U.S. immigration laws have been amended several times over recent months. Therefore, it may be useful to consult a lawyer with significant experience in dealing with U.S. immigration applications. Legal counsel will not only be up to date on the applicable laws, but he or she can assist throughout the application process to ensure the requirements are met, and the necessary documentation accompanies the applications.