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Rate increase coming for immigration applications

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There are many ways that a hike in immigration fees can affect residents of Maryland or those considering a move to the state. A notice of coming increases was published by USCIS on May 4, and final approval is expected later in the summer. The agency operates with the fees that are paid by those filing various types of applications, and the last increase occurred in 2010. The reason for the latest planned increase is the need to enhance technology and processing systems as well as to recover costs related to providing its services.

The increases in costs will vary greatly for different types of applications. On the lower end of the spectrum, applicants seeking citizenship in the United States will see an increase of 8 percent. At the higher end, organizations applying for a designation as an EB-5 Regional Center will see their fees nearly triple. Fees for EB-5 investors will also more than double.

Statistics from USCIS indicate that applications for replacing an expiring green card have increased by approximately 50 percent since the last fee increase. Those filing an initial green card application have increased by 15 percent, and those seeking citizenship have increased by approximately 25 percent. Individuals who are faced with the need to file such applications may decide that it would be economically advantageous to submit their materials and fees prior to the finalization of the new fee schedule.

A rushed application for legal residency, naturalization, or another immigration status could create challenges if it contains errors or lacks complete information. An individual who is not familiar with the language used in the application might find it helpful to work with a lawyer to complete the paperwork accurately and in a timely manner. A lawyer may also be helpful in assisting an individual with a complicated immigration case.

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