SAN DIEGO - The Obama administration says it will begin charging $US465 ($F831) this month for temporary work permits for many young illegal immigrants, as it laid out details of one of its signature new policies on immigration.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services will begin accepting applications on August 15 for the two-year permits it announced on Friday.
It will consider a limited number of fee exemptions but expects costs to be shouldered by applicants, not taxpayers.
Under the program, which President Barack Obama announced in June, immigrants must have arrived in the US before their 16th birthday, be 30 or younger, lived in the US at least five years and be in school, graduated or served in the military.
They are ineligible if convicted of a felony, three misdemeanours or one "significant" misdemeanour.
Significant misdemeanours, as defined by Homeland Security, are any offences that result in more than 90 days in jail, and some offences regardless of the sentence, including domestic violence, burglary and gun and drug crimes.
Minor traffic offences, including driving without a licence, will not be counted at all against applicants. Driving offences are an important point because all but three states - New Mexico, Utah and Washington - deny licences to illegal immigrants.
Applicants, who must attend an appointment and submit to background checks, might have to wait several months for a ruling. The wait will depend on the backlog.
The agency said the number of applications will determine how many employees it hires, and it did not provide an estimate for the total cost of the program. The Associated Press reported last month that Homeland Security Department internal documents estimated hundreds of employees may be hired and that the total cost could top $US585 million ($F1.0 billion).