The immigration process can be complex and confusing, and those applying for visas or permanent resident status may find it challenging to reach their immigration goals. Because of application backlogs, complicated application processes, changing immigration laws and other factors, entering the country and securing a visa may be a frustrating endeavor. In addition to the complexity of the application process and other factors, immigrants may face other barriers when pursuing their immigration goals.
Studies find that the high costs associated with the naturalization process are a barrier for most low-income immigrants. The fee to apply for citizenship in the United States is $725, a price that many cannot afford. Lowering the fees or providing financial assistance could simplify the process for many applicants. If you are applying for citizenship or pursuing another immigration goal, it may be helpful to know what fees could be associated with your specific objectives.
The high costs of citizenship
Those who want to become citizens of the United States want the privilege of voting, participating in democracy and being involved, contentious citizens, but some may not be able to afford to even apply for this step. In order to combat this problem faced by low-income individuals, one state started a lottery program. Applicants could enter the lottery, and the funds were used to cover the expensive citizenship application fees.
A study of the lottery program found that the number of naturalization applicants jumped by 41% among those who received vouchers through this program versus those who did not have a voucher. Immigration supporters say that these numbers indicate that the high costs may be the primary barrier standing between immigrants and their goal of becoming lawful citizens. Some have suggested a multi-tier payment structure could be beneficial, meaning that lower-income applicants would pay lower fees than wealthier applicants.
Reaching your immigration goals
If you are hoping to apply for citizenship or achieve another specific immigration-related goal, it may be in your interests to learn more about what to expect from the process ahead. When you understand the fees you will have to pay and the steps required along the way, you may face fewer unexpected challenges along the way. It is also in your interests to know your rights and what you may need to do to navigate any complications that arise.