For the first time since 2010, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has increased many administrative fees for citizenship applications, even doubling the fees in some cases. These increased application fees already are in effect; they apply to any applications for citizenship filed after December 23, 2016. The net result of these fee increases is to make it even more expenses for immigrants who seeking to become naturalized U.S. citizens. In 2016, the application fee for naturalization was $640.00. According to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the average 21% hike in fees is necessary to fund fraud detection, case processing, and other administrative costs. Since USCIS funding is almost exclusively provided by the fees paid by petitioners, the agency claims, the additional fees are needed in order for the agency to continue to operate. While USCIS recognizes the hike in funding may be difficult for some, it also states that it has waited a number of years to implement any fee increases for that very reason. Furthermore, USCIS claims that it will offer a reduced filing fee for some naturalization applicants who have limited means. If an immigrant household has an income below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, then it would qualify for the reduced fee. However, that is a very low income threshold that will eliminate many households from the reduced fee program. For instance, of the 650,000 New York residents who are currently eligible for naturalization, only about 110,500 will qualify for the reduced application fee. This is not an insignificant number; immigrants filed over 700,000 applications for naturalization. The deportation defense lawyers of Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. have handled countless deportation defense claims on behalf of individuals who are charged with removal. We know how devastating it can be for individuals to face potentially being forced to return to a country where they previously were persecuted, where they no longer have family or a home, or where they will experience significant violence and unrest. We care about you and your family, and we want to help you remain in the country. Call our office as soon as possible to set up your legal consultation.