People in California who are considering filing for permanent residence or citizenship or doing other immigration-related paperwork may want to do so sooner rather than later as the cost of those services is set to rise. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ budget of $3 billion annually is primarily funded by application fees.
USCIS says that while applications from employers have remained at the same levels, applications by individuals have risen significantly since the previous increase in 2010. Naturalization applications have gone up 25 percent, permanent residence applications have increased 15 percent and applications for expiring permanent resident cards have risen nearly 50 percent.
Under the new fee structure, there will be a 20 to 40 percent rise in the base filing fee for employers sponsoring foreign workers. The fee for permanent residence will rise from $985 to $1,140 while the citizenship fee will go up to $640 from $595. The most significant increases will occur in relationship to the EB-5 visa program that attracts high-net investors. Entities that wish to be designated as EB-5 Regional Centers will pay $17,795, up from $6,230, and investors themselves seeking permanent residence through the visa will see their fee more than double to $3,675 from $1,500. The rule is expected to be finalized later in the summer.
The process of immigration can be both complex and costly. This means that a mistake can be expensive in both time and money, and a person who is seeking to remain in the country as a permanent resident or citizen may want to consult an attorney. This may also be the case for people who work in specialty occupations and are seeking visas. An attorney may be able to make the process speedier by avoiding errors that can delay an application.