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US immigration fees set to rise

The increase, which has been under consideration for months, would raise nearly $1 billion for US Citizenship and Immigration Service.

india Updated: Feb 03, 2007 16:47 IST

The US government is expected to announce a more than 80 percent hike in immigration application fees, said officials.

The increase, which has been under consideration for months, would raise nearly $1 billion for US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), according to the Washington Post.

Once the increase comes into effect, the cost of applying for naturalisation would rise from $330 to $595, and a required fingerprint check would go from $70 to $80.

The troubled $2 billion a year agency faces a budget crunch because of an increase in the number of applications and because US Congress does not fund it with tax money but gets funded by user fees.

Critics have warned that the fee increase will keep lower-income and less-educated people from becoming US citizens.

"The money will allow USCIS to recoup its business costs, provide future services, enhance national security and to modernise a totally outdated business infrastructure," said an agency official speaking on condition of anonymity.