USCIS, Genealogy Program
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed a fee increase to access immigration records from the first half of the 20th century. (Photo credit: Everett Historical/Shutterstock.com)

Citizenship and Immigration Services Proposes Fee Increase to Access Genealogy Records

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed a fee increase to access immigration records from the first half of the 20th century.

The Washington Post reported that the fees to access citizenship and alien registration files, visa applications and other records about immigrants from the early 1900s will nearly triple. In some instances, it might increase by 500% from $130 to $625 to obtain just one piece of paper from the government’s Genealogy Program. The program is run by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

“USCIS is required to examine incoming and outgoing expenditures, just like a business, and make adjustments based on that analysis,” the USCIS said in a brief statement in response to criticism regarding the fee increases.

There is no set date for the fees to take effect but the window for public comment closes on Dec. 16.

Related Article: In 2018, More Than 60% of People Convicted of Smuggling Immigrants Were American

Jennifer Mendelsohn, a Baltimore journalist and genealogist, has extensively used the records from the USCIS Genealogy Program to learn more about her family’s immigration path from Russia to the U.S. in the 1800s.

Mendelsohn told the Post the fee hikes are indicative of the Trump administration’s “antagonist stance” on immigration and worries this move means the White House could place fee hikes on more recent records.

“What’s frustrating to me is that we have no other recourse,” Mendelsohn told the Post. “There is no other way to get this information. … If they can do this to these records, they can do this to any records. It’s incumbent upon us to speak up and try to stop this.”

The Post reported that the fees tripled back in 2016 in order to cover the costs of the Genealogy Program, puzzling many genealogists as to why the fees would increase again.

“What could possibly have changed in three years to warrant such a huge increase?” Rich Venezia, a Pittsburgh-based professional genealogist, told the Post.

Latest News

Georgia Power, Georgia Power Foundation Invested More Than $20 Million To Help Meet Community Challenges in 2020

Originally published at southerncompany.com. Southern Company ranked No. 20 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Georgia Power and the Georgia Power Foundation today released their annual Citizenship Report highlighting how the company, its employees and retirees gave back to Georgia communities last year, helping to build…

Toyota Financial Services Issues New Asset-Backed Green Bond, Highlighting Toyota’s Ongoing Commitment to Sustainability

Originally published at pressroom.toyota.com. Toyota Motor North America ranked No. 7 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Toyota Financial Services (TFS) issued its latest Asset-Backed Green Bond, reinforcing the company’s longstanding commitment to the sale of environmentally friendly vehicles. Net proceeds from the $1.6…

ADP Recognized as a Customers’ Choice in 2021 Gartner Peer Insights ‘Voice of the Customer’

Originally published at mediacenter.adp.com. ADP ranked No. 8 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Industry analyst firm Gartner recognized ADP as a Customers’ Choice with category distinctions in Midsize Enterprises and North America in its 2021 Gartner Peer Insights ‘Voice of the Customer’: Cloud HCM Suites…

Cigna building

Cigna and New York Life Expand Eligibility for ‘Brave of Heart Fund’ Grants Supporting Families of Healthcare Workers Who Lost Their Lives in the Fight Against COVID-19

Originally published at cigna.com. Cigna ranked No. 33 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   On June 17, the foundations of New York Life and Cigna announced that the Brave of Heart Fund, which provides monetary grants to the families of heroic health care workers…

Cox Auto Study on Dealerships Thriving in Digital

Originally published at coxenterprises.com. Cox Communications ranked No. 32 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Cox Automotive has released a new study — “How to Thrive: ​Best Practices for an Accelerated Digital Landscape” — examining effective strategies dealerships are adopting to find profits and thrive…

Hershey Named To The Civic 50 And Recognized As Consumer Staples Leader For Commitment To Empowering Communities

Originally published at thehersheycompany.com. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   The Hershey Company has been named a 2021 honoree of The Civic 50 by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. In addition to being recognized…