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New immigration laws may make cost of citizenship rise

Many South Carolina residents expect to pay when they buy something or when someone performs a service for them. Whether it is eating out at a restaurant or having a contractor rebuild a kitchen, almost everything that a person wants costs some amount of money. Gaining US citizenship for an immigrant is no different.

Currently individuals seeking to apply for US citizenship must pay several hundred dollars to have their applications accepted and processed. While many are able to pull the money together through working extra jobs or utilizing the services of banks and credit unions that offer loans for such purposes, others are unable to retain enough cash to make their citizenship application dreams come into fruition.

Things might be getting even harder for those struggling to cover the current application price. Under some of the proposed immigration reform bills circulating through Congress, prices for citizenship applications may rise to $2,000 with costs and penalties are factored together, nearly tripling the amount people are expected to pay today.

A survey found that among Hispanic immigrants able to apply for citizenship less than half had started the process. Noting that costs and language are two of the biggest barriers that prevent individuals from applying, the potential rise in cost may deter even more eligible immigrants from making their US citizenship dreams come true.

While many factors can conspire to keep a person from seeking US citizenship, many individuals are willing to assist to make a citizenship journey happen. Immigration attorneys here in Charleston can work with interested individuals on their citizenship applications and can guide them through the intricacies of becoming an American.

Source: Peoria Journal-Star, "Immigration reform might raise price of citizenship," Christopher Sherman and Ramit Plushnick-Masti, Feb. 2, 2014

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