The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services, or USCIS, declared in a statement about implementing a "weighted average" price hike of 21% that would be applied to cover the costs of all-around processing and avoidance of fraud cases.
Any applications filed post December 23rd would be subject to this increased pricing. CNBC states that with the increase in prices, citizenship seeking immigrants will find it extra hard to file applications, than it currently is.
However, Leon Rodríguez – the USCIS director, argues that people were already aware of the incurred price hike’s effects, which is why it even took such a long duration for them to go ahead and administer the price hike.
In any case, the USCIS states that it indeed took into consideration, the immigrants with limited resources who are still looking for U.S. naturalization.
Peter Boogaard, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, told CNBC that USCIS would also be offering "a reduced filing fee for certain naturalization applicants with limited means." He also emphasized that the fee increase was much-needed nonetheless. "These changes are now necessary to ensure USCIS can continue to serve its customers effectively," he added.
Immigrant attorney and Pace University professor, Glenn Martin Miller, is still convinced that the price hike will be "a burden for a family of two" yet this generally results in a boost of applications, as people usually like to apply before the costs are further increased.
As per William Stock, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the USCIS will first want to deal with the backlog of applications, which he believes will get worse with the increase in prices.
He remarks that "Adjudication backlogs are more than just an inconvenience, they have serious repercussions" for applicants, adding that a lot of people "want to become citizens as soon as possible."