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You'll soon need to shell out more to become a US citizen

Doubling costs
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Doubling costs

The cost of becoming a US citizen will soon see a 61% jump under a proposal the Trump administration contends reflects the true cost of the process.

For marriage-based green cards filed within the United States, application fees would increase by 56%, from $1,760 to $2,750.

The Federal Register is slated to announce the new chages on November 14, which would then be followed with a 30-day period of open public comment.

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Record breaking
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Record breaking

The Department of Homeland Security is looking to increase the application fee to $1,170, and also end a program that secures reduced fees for low-income applicants. The agency also wants to impose a fee, for the first time, on some asylum seekers; only Fiji, Australia and Iran do that now.

Under the proposal, the cost to naturalize would rise from $725 to $1,170 for a single application, hitting a level that totals about a month’s worth of gross income for an immigrant making the federal minimum wage — its highest level on record. Had the application fee risen with the pace of inflation, it would be $85 today.

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Filling a $1.3 billion gap
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Filling a $1.3 billion gap

US Citizenship and Immigration Services said that the proposed adjustment would ensure more applicants cover the true cost of their applications and minimizes subsidies from an already over-extended system. Under the current fee structure, the agency claimed it is underfunded $1.3 billion a year.

USCIS also said the current fees do not recover the full costs of providing adjudication and naturalization services. An average annual shortfall of $1.2 billion is predicted for the agency if funding — primarily from fees assessed to applicants and asylum seekers — is not increased.

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Hitting-out at an Obama initiative
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Hitting-out at an Obama initiative

The announcement comes the same week the US Supreme Court heard arguments to decide the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, an Obama-era initiative the White House would like to scrap. DACA shields from deportation some undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children.

The proposed rule would also increase the two-year renewal fees for participations in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA recipients would pay an additional $275 to renew their status, in addition to the $495 required for filing.

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Rules on work permits too
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Rules on work permits too

Another proposed rule by the USCIS would double the time asylum-seekers must wait for a work permit to a year and bar those who crossed a border illegally from applying for work permits at all.

Currently, asylum-seekers can obtain permission to work in the United States once their cases have been pending for six months.

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