As previously described, USCIS published a new fee rule which increases prices for many common forms and benefit types. Not all prices are going up – USCIS states that fees will increase by 20% overall – but it turns out that fees are decreasing mostly for uncommon application types and increasing for the most common and important benefits.
In particular, the fees for those wishing to become US Citizens through naturalization will increase from $725 ($640 + $85 required biometrics fee) to $1,200 ($1,170 + $30 biometrics fee). That’s an increase of 83% for the N-400 form. This fee increase begins on October 2, 2020, and forms filed between now and that date will still only require the $725 filing fee, if one does not qualify for the mid-tier price or for a complete fee waiver.
USCIS is making some other big changes to the naturalization fees. First, it is increasing the mid-tier price, which used to be $405, to $880. That price is available to those who have a lower income and who submit an additional form, I-942 Request for Reduced Fee, which is somewhat uncommon but an important savings for people who qualify. Second, USCIS is eliminating many options for fee waivers which used to allow people to file for naturalization without a fee if their income is very low. This will prevent many people from becoming citizens.
Despite the pandemic, USCIS is still accepting new applications. It is now starting to schedule biometrics appointments for fingerprints, which are often essential for processing an application, and slowly starting to schedule in-person interviews.