Naturalization and Fee Waiver Naturalization, Fee Waiver, US Citizenship, immigration
The Cost of Naturalization prevents a vast majority of the 8.8 million people qualified to apply for US Citizenship. In an effort to Mak the Naturalization Process More Affordable USCIS is currently proposing to offer a partial, 50 percent waiver of the naturalization application fee (for a total cost of $320, plus the $85 bio-metric fee) for immigrants earning between 150 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level.44 Still, more could be done to make the N-400 naturalization application amount if multiple family members are naturalizing at the same time. In addition to the proposed partial fee waiver, the naturalization fee could be assessed on an income-based sliding scale. Such a sliding scale could take into account an area’s cost of living. Congress also should appropriate funding for the processing of refugee and asylum applications, as well as other applications for which fees are waived.
The United States is home to 8.8 million immigrants who are eligible to naturalize — more than the population of Virginia or Arizona.46 While this number continues to grow every year, fewer than 800,000 have naturalized each year for the last six. Many who desire to do so face significant barriers on the road to naturalization, including the high cost of applying for citizenship, language barriers, unfamiliarity with the naturalization process, and other obstacles. Our country should ensure that the naturalization process is more accessible to eligible immigrants because it is important for the nation’s economic and civic health. Studies show that naturalization provides significant economic benefits to our nation and helps immigrants reach their full potential and contribute fully to their communities. Making the naturalization process more affordable can address one of the most significant barriers. Informing more LPRs about the naturalization process would increase the number of individuals who become citizens. Finally, administrative processing delays in the naturalization process should be addressed. Naturalization is an important part of the American story. Almost all Americans have an ancestor and/or a relative who was an immigrant. Much of our country’s success stems from our ability to incorporate immigrants into our society and our willingness to embrace people who are different from ourselves and consider the new ideas and approaches they bring. Active and informed new citizens strengthen our communities and our democracy. We should continue to encourage more eligible people to become U.S. citizens.
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