Thursday, June 20, 2024

Number of Applications for U.S. Citizenship Drops 62%

According to a study released on Friday by the National Council of La Raza, the number of immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship dropped 62 percent last year. This may be due, in part, to the application cost alone having increased from $330 to $595 in 2007 and an $80 computerized fingerprinting fee being added. In 2007, right before the price increase, 1.38 million people filed applications; this number fell, last year, to 525,786 – the lowest since 2003. The largest number came in 1997, 1.41 million applied right before a 76 percent fee increase.

The report found a decline in real median income among non-citizens in recent years and “eligible applicants face mounting economic pressures that threaten to place naturalization out of reach.”

Doris Meissner, a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington-based think tank, said that a rise and fall in applications is typical when the price increases. She also added that the 2007 rise in applications can also be due to efforts by immigrant groups attempting to increase the number of voters before the 2008 elections.

According to a Homeland Security Department report released in March, the largest numbers of applicants live in California, Florida and New York. Last year, however, the Washington and Miami-Fort Lauderdale areas saw the largest increases in naturalizations.

Eliseo Medina, executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union, which represents a large number of immigrants, said the government needs to work to make the transition smoother. He explained, ‘The nonprofit sectors — churches, community organizations and unions — have stepped in, but it shouldn’t be just put on their back.”

Meissner agreed with the report’s suggestions for new pricing models but she said that she does not believe the fee increases will stop many citizenship-seekers. “Citizenship is a very, very valuable commodity,” she said. “People do what they can to become citizens, and they will make every effort, including saving up the money that’s needed.”

The Washington Post


  1. Hahaha, this is funny because it cost me 690 dollars and I just became a citizen a month ago. This was probably the reason why I kept putting it off. I must say that they are a lot more efficient and they were really fast in processing my application so I guess the increase of cost has been used effectively.