Expect Fee Increases and Long Delays for Immigration Services
For the past several weeks, almost everyone had their focus on the Coronavirus Relief Package Unfortunately Congress closed for the next several weeks without reaching any agreements. And even though some important reliefs may be provided temporarily through executive orders, most will not.
Among those that were left in a lurch: the USCIS, which provides citizenship and immigration services. Included in the Coronavirus Relief Package was a request for 1.2 billion dollars in relief funds in order for the USCIS to be able to continue to do their job. This agency is supported by the required fees from those applying for green cards, work permits, citizenship and other Immigration Services. They were already facing a serious shortfall even before the pandemic hit, due to a drastic reduction of applications which are a result of the Trump administration’s hardline on immigration applications for the past couple of years. as well as elevated operating costs due to the enhanced vetting processes. The Pandemic has made the problem even worse, however, since, because of the pandemic, the president set new orders that barred entry into the U.S. by foreigners, including a halt on green cards. This also led to a dramatic decline in revenue.
So, when the Stimulus talks broke down ... the USCIS was a critical would-be beneficiary that didn’t receive the needed help.
They have now sent out notices to 13,400 of their 20,000 employees —that’s two thirds— that they will be furloughed as of August 30.
According to Aila.org, the potential impact of these furloughs will be:
• These will halt U.S. immigration, negatively impacting families, U.S. businesses, educational institutions, medical facilities, and churches.
• Immigrants who are in the process of becoming naturalized U.S. citizens will not be able to complete the process in time to register to vote, DACA recipients will not be able to renew their benefits, asylum applicants will face increased delays, and businesses will be unable to hire or retain employees.
• According to the Migration Policy Institute, “For each month the USCIS furlough lasts, 75,000 applications for various immigration benefits will not be processed.”
Fee Increases as of October 2, 2020
More bad news for those planning on applying for citizenship or a number of other immigration services is that the fees are drastically increasing, including:
Citizenship Application: From $640.00 to $1,160-$1,170.00 Asylum Protection: From $0 to $50.00 Employment Authorization: To $550.00
To see other fee increases, go to:
(Scroll down several pages till you reach the tables.)
The expectation is that these fee increases will cover the real cost of immigration services in the future, so that they eventually can get back into full operation.
**For now, the bottom line is: **
• If you already have an application for any Immigration Services, expect delays. • If you are planning on applying for citizenship, or other services covered in the increases, do so before October2. Some estimate it may take up to a year for your citizenship papers to come through, but the important thing is to get them in cue now.