Help Immigrants Stay in New York

About U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Filing Fees

Effective October 2, 2020, USCIS will increase fees for a wide range of immigration applications. The agency will also severely limit the availability of fee waivers.

For the first time in its history, the United States government will now charge a filing fee for asylum applications. The new regulations do not provide for a waiver for this fee, even for people who are detained or are otherwise suffering from economic hardship. This means that individuals who cannot afford the filing fee may end up forfeiting their rights to seek protection here in the United States and face persecution, torture, or death because of their inability to pay.

The new fee rules also dramatically increase the cost of applying for naturalization (from $640 to $1,170) and the total cost of seeking a green card through family members. (from $1,760 to $2,860). This is a high cost for anyone and prohibitively expensive for communities and families trying to make ends meet during a global pandemic.

For many Legal Aid Society clients, these new fee increases will effectively bar or delay them from seeking meritorious immigration defenses or benefits. Your donation will help ensure that lack of financial resources does not prevent our clients from applying for immigration defenses or benefits for which they are eligible. For example, a $50 donation would cover the cost of one asylum application and would help us ensure that no one is denied their right to seek asylum simply because of inability to pay.

Thank you for your support of this campaign and for our communities.

About The Legal Aid Society

For over 140 years, The Legal Aid Society has defended the rights of immigrant New Yorkers. Today, we are proud to stand among a growing community of advocates and activists who are pushing back on the Trump administration's actions that threaten the livelihood and stability of immigrant families across the city. From our campaign to keep ICE out of the courts to our defense of immigrant children who have been separated from their parents, we remain steadfast in defense of the rights of all immigrants - regardless of where they come from.

As a provider of wraparound legal and support services for New York City's most vulnerable, The Legal Aid Society understands that the needs of our clients extend beyond legal assistance. 

For clients of The Legal Aid Society's Immigration Law Unit, the cost to file immigration applications can be a heavy burden with fees averaging around $750 per person. This is an unbelievable ask for anyone, but especially for marginalized immigrants who struggle with covering day-to-day expenses for their families. Your support of this campaign will have a direct impact, helping to keep immigrant New Yorkers at home with their families.

Throughout this campaign, we will provide updates on our progress. Our goal of $25,000 will allow us to serve up to 35 New Yorkers - people like JR.

JR is a young client who was abused by her father. Because of the abuse, she qualifies for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS), for which we helped her to apply. Her case was wrongfully denied by USCIS. Although the error was clear, she still needed to file an appeal in order to vindicate her rights. Unfortunately, the $675 filing fee was beyond her ability to pay. With the assistance of our fund, we were able to file the appeal and reverse the erroneous denial. JR is now on the road to obtaining permanent residence (a green card).
  • Naomi Sussis 
    • $20 
    • 8 mos
  • Elizabeth Goodman 
    • $100 
    • 29 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $200 
    • 29 mos
  • Qiao Dong 
    • $1,000 
    • 34 mos
  • Salek Shafiqullah 
    • $50 
    • 34 mos
See all


The Legal Aid Society 
New York, NY
The Legal Aid Society 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.