The price for naturalization will jump to $1,170 or $1,160 for online applications. The rule will also lower the income threshold to qualify for a fee waiver and eliminate the partial subsidy for the application.
Almost all other exceptions that allowed immigrants to waive the fee will be eliminated, including extenuating financial hardship and means-tested public benefits, like food stamps. Only some protected immigrants, including victims of domestic violence and human trafficking, will remain eligible.Quinn Owen at ABC:
The federal government agency that handles United States asylum requests, processes visa applications and grants citizenship is preparing to furlough most of its employees while would-be citizens remain stuck waiting to get naturalized ahead of the November election.
Originally planned for the beginning of August, the furloughs were bumped back to the end of the month after Democrats and independent immigration experts questioned whether such action was necessary amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Joseph Edlow, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' deputy director, told lawmakers at the end of July that the agency was able to catch up on its backlog of 100,000 pending naturalization ceremonies delayed by the pandemic. However, the average number of monthly naturalizations still trails far below prior years by tens of thousands, according to data from the Department of Homeland Security.
"All USCIS operations, including naturalization ceremonies, will be impacted by a furlough," spokesperson Joe Sowers said in a statement. "At this time, we do not have the number of naturalization ceremonies that will be impacted. In the event of a furlough, we will continue to conduct naturalization ceremonies, but we anticipate it will be on a more limited basis."
An analysis from the Migration Policy Institute found budget problems at USCIS -- which is almost entirely funded by the immigration application fees it collects -- were apparent well before the pandemic and likely the result of ... "extreme vetting" of applicants.