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    US immigration service publishes new fees

    By Noreen Bowden | May 30, 2007

    The US Citizenship and Immigration Services has confirmed that immigrants will pay an average of 66% more for green cards, citizenship and other services. The price rises were finalised yesterday, following a period of public discussion.

    To become a citizen, an individual will have to pay a fee of $595, up from $330; plus, the applicant will need to pay $80 for electronic fingerprints, up from $70. To apply for legal permanent residency, the cost is increasing from $325 to $1,010.

    The agency says the increases are need to improve services and hire additional workers. “This agency is fee-based; 99% of our budget comes from user fees. We need to be the agency people expect us to be. We need to undertake reforms… The only way to get from here to there is to have the financial resources to do that,” said CIS Director Emilio Gonzalez yesterday.

    Immigration advocates have criticised the move, saying the new fees will be a major obstacle for immigrants. The Coalition of Irish Immigration Centres in the US has urged member centers to encourage anyone who is eligible to send in their application as soon as possible.

    The new fees come into effect on July 30 and will apply to applications or petitions filed on or after that date.

    More information is available on the USCIS website.

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