The U.S. immigration system has been in a state of flux for some time now. Officials seem determined to change even longstanding, fundamental aspects of the process. One of the latest targets? The cost of immigration.
In 2020, immigrating to the U.S. will likely become much more expensive for most people. Here are some of the biggest expected changes.
A fee for asylum seekers
When the current White House administration announced the proposed fee changes in November of 2019, many people highlighted the impact on asylum seekers. Traditionally, the U.S. has not charged individuals looking for this type of humanitarian help. That is in line with the rest of the world – currently, only three countries require asylum seekers to pay a fee.
The United States may soon make it four. Under the proposed rules, asylum seekers would have to pay a $50 application fee.
A more expensive citizenship form
Another proposed change that raised eyebrows? The new fee for the N-400 form, which green card holders use to apply for citizenship. The current fee is $640, plus an $85 biometrics cost. Under the new rules, the cost would jump to $1,170, an increase of more than 60%.
Other notable changes
If all of these proposed changes are adopted, immigration fees would increase by about 21% overall. Some other significant fee increases include:
- DACA renewal – $725 (up from $495)
- Suspension of deportation – $1,800 (up from a current range of $285-$570)
- Work permit for a spouse seeking a marriage green card from within the U.S. – $490 (up from $0)
- Passport waiver – $2,790 (up from $585)
When these changes might take effect is not known. The public comment period closed at the end of 2019, and experts expect the new fees to be enacted in the opening months of 2020. Once finalized, these increased costs will be another significant barrier for many people simply trying to find a better life.