Citizenship Application Fee: Learn How To Pay Less
If you want to become a citizen of the United States, you have to fill out an application and pay a fee. You will also need to provide some documents. This article will help you understand how much the fee is, what documents you need, and how you can pay the fee and get a waiver.8 min read updated on February 01, 2023
Applying for citizenship can be a long and challenging process. And even after your application is successful, there's still much to do and challenges to overcome.
For starters, you may not know how much the application fee is or what documents you need to provide.
If that's the case, don't worry. In this article, you'll find out how much you have to pay for the citizenship application fee and what documents you will need to provide. More importantly, you'll learn the methods you can use to pay the filing fees and how you can get a fee waiver.
How much does a US citizenship application fee cost?
The citizenship application fee is $725. This includes the $640 filing fee for Form N-400, Application for Naturalization, and the $85 biometrics fee. The biometrics fee covers the cost of your fingerprints, photos, and signature captured during your appointment at a USCIS Application Support Center.
You may also have to pay an additional $85 fee for the citizenship test and interview. This fee is not required if you're 75 years of age or older or are exempt from the citizenship test because of a disability.
You can request a fee waiver if you need help paying the citizenship application fee. Fee waivers are available for applicants who cannot afford the citizenship application fee.
How do I pay the citizenship application fee?
You can pay the citizenship application fee online, by mail, or in person.
You'll need to create an account with USCIS Online Payment System for online payments. Once you've created an account, you can log in and pay.
If you choose to pay by mail, you should include a check or money order for the citizenship application fee. Make the check or money order payable to "The US Department of Homeland Security."
You can also pay in person at a USCIS office. When you go to pay, you'll need to bring a check, money order, or credit card. Should you choose to pay with a credit card, you'll have to use form G-1450, Authorization for Credit Card Transactions.
Things to keep in mind:
- You should only use one mode of payment for the application fee and biometrics fee.
- When submitting several applications together (perhaps the applications of your spouse and children), use the same payment method.
- Make payments of the exact amounts for all applications. Failure to do so will see your application for naturalization rejected by the USCIS and your payment refunded, forcing you to resubmit both.
- Make sure you spell the payee as "US Department of Homeland Security." Also, do not abbreviate the department's name in any way, such as 'DHS' or 'USDHS.'
- If you're using Form G-1450 (credit card payments), ensure you fill out all three sections, sign the form, and place it on top of Form N-400.
The above steps only apply to applicants doing their naturalization process from within the US If you live abroad, get in touch with your local US embassy or consulate for specific instructions on paying the citizen application fee.
Is there any possibility of reducing my fees?
Yes, there is. Low-income applicants may request a fee waiver. If you can't afford to pay the citizenship application fee, you can fill out and submit Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver.
To have your fee waived, you must meet one of the following criteria:
- Your household income is at or below 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines for your family size.
- You receive a means-tested benefit such as food stamps, supplemental security income (SSI), or Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).
- You cannot afford to pay the citizenship application fee and have financial hardship.
- You're enrolled in certain government assistance programs, such as the WIC or Medicaid.
- You cannot pay the citizenship application fee because you're homeless.
- Your spouse or co-parent is deceased, and you cannot afford to pay the citizenship application fee.
- You're a battered spouse, child, or parent who cannot afford to pay the citizenship application fee.
If you have any questions about citizenship application fees or need help paying the fee, you can contact USCIS for assistance.
How to apply for a fee waiver
To apply for a fee waiver, you must complete and submit Form I-912, Request for Fee Waiver, or another written request. You can find instructions on requesting a fee waiver on the USCIS website.
In general, you'll need to provide evidence that you cannot afford to pay the citizenship application fee. This can include things like tax returns, pay stubs, bank statements, or other financial documents. You'll also need to explain why you're requesting a fee waiver.
Once you submit the form, the USCIS may approve or deny your request for a fee waiver at any time during the citizenship application process.
If your request for a fee waiver is approved, you will not have to pay the citizenship application fee. However, if your request is denied, you will have to pay the fee if you want to continue with your citizenship application.
What determines the fee for US citizenship?
The US government has set the citizenship application fee at $725 currently. This fee covers the cost of processing your application and includes the biometrics fee, which is used to capture your fingerprints, photo, and signature.
The citizenship application fee may change at any time, and it's essential to check the USCIS website for the most up-to-date information.
How long does it take to get US citizenship?
The citizenship application process usually takes between 6 and 12 months, but it can take longer if there is a backlog of applications. Once you've submitted your citizenship application, the USCIS will send you a receipt notice.
The notice will list the date your application was received and your case number. You can use this case number to check the status of your citizenship application online.
After the USCIS has received and processed your citizenship application, they will send you a notice to appear for an interview. The interview is usually scheduled 4 to 8 weeks after the USCIS receives your application.
During the interview, a citizenship officer will ask questions about your application and citizenship test. They will also check your identity and run a background check.
If the citizenship officer is satisfied that you meet all the requirements for citizenship, they will approve your application and schedule a ceremony for you to take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.
After you take the Oath of Allegiance, you will officially be a US citizen.
What do I need to remember before I pay my citizenship fees?
As you prepare to pay the US citizenship fees, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Be sure to include all the required documents and fees when you submit your citizenship application
- The citizenship application fee is non-refundable, so be sure you're eligible to apply before you submit your application.
- The citizenship application process usually takes between 6 and 12 months, but it can take longer if there is a backlog of applications.
- If your citizenship application is approved, you must attend a citizenship ceremony and take the Oath of Allegiance to the United States.
What if I can't afford the fees?
There are many immigration benefits available to naturalized citizens. These include the ability to sponsor certain family members for citizenship, vote in US elections, and hold a US passport.
However, the citizenship application fee may be a barrier for some applicants. If you can't afford to pay the citizenship application fee, you may be eligible for a fee waiver. Should you qualify, you will not have to pay any filing fees.
But what if you do not qualify for the waiver?
Don't panic. You still have some options. You can:
One. Ask organizations for help with your filing fees
It's a well-known fact that the immigration process can be challenging, more so raising the citizenship application fee. This is why several government-funded organizations actively help US citizenship applicants cover the costs. You can find a list of such organizations on the USCIS website.
Beyond this, if you are a committed member of a faith group or other organization, you can ask them to sponsor your citizenship application fee.
Two. Talk to family and friends
Your friends and family can be a great resource if you struggle to pay citizenship application fees. They can help you by loaning you the money or cosigning for a citizenship application fee loan.
You can also raise the citizenship application fee through crowdfunding platforms like GoFundMe or Kickstarter.
To make your campaign more successful, share your story and explain why becoming a US citizen is vital to you. You can also ask friends and family to share your campaign on social media.
Four. Payment plans
If you can't afford to pay the citizenship application fee all at once, you can set up a payment plan with USCIS. To do this, you will need to submit a request for a fee waiver and include evidence of your financial hardship.
USCIS will review your request and decide whether or not to approve it. You can make monthly payments toward your citizenship application fee if your request is approved.
Five. Use a credit card
If you have a credit card, you can use it to pay your citizenship application fee. Just be sure to pay off the balance in full and on time.
Six. Work with a legal aid office
If there's one word that best describes the naturalization process, it's complicated. This is why working with an immigration attorney is advisable, especially if it's your first experience. Understandably, raising legal fees when you can't afford the application fee may not be possible.
Fortunately, you can still get legal support. You can visit a local legal aid office. There you'll find citizenship lawyers that work for free or at very low costs. But they may only be able to take on a limited number of cases.
Therefore, you should contact the office as soon as possible and explain your situation. If the lawyer cannot take your case, they may still be able to offer some guidance.
Remember, even if you cannot afford to pay the citizenship application fee, you may still be able to become a US citizen. There are many options and resources available to help you cover the costs. Research your options and find the best solution for your particular situation.
How much will you actually have to pay to become a US citizen
As mentioned, there are set out citizen application fees that must be paid for citizenship to be granted. The current fee for citizenship and naturalization is $725. This includes a $640 filing fee for form N-400 and an $85 biometrics fee.
There are, however, a few exceptions. If you meet specific requirements, you can get a fee waiver. If you are 75 years or older, you will only have to pay the biometrics fee.
In addition, if you are filing form N-400 on behalf of a child under 14, you will only have to pay the biometrics fee. The same goes for children filing on their own behalf if they are under
There is no fee for citizenship for veterans who have served in the US Armed Forces and have been honourably discharged. The same goes for spouses of veterans who have died in service or due to service-related injuries.
Don't leave anything to chance
The naturalization process is long and complicated, with many rules and regulations that you must follow. If you want to ensure that your application is successful, it's best to work with an experienced immigration attorney.
UpCounsel can help you with this. Our platform is host to numerous top-notch immigration attorneys ready to assist you. Post your job today to get access to the best immigration lawyers.
Frequently Asked Questions
One. What is the citizenship application fee?
The citizenship application fee is the fee that must be paid to apply for US citizenship. The current fee is $725.
Two. Who has to pay the citizenship application fee?
All applicants for US citizenship must pay the citizenship application fee.
Three. What is the citizenship application fee used for?
The citizenship application fee covers the costs of processing citizenship applications.
Four. Can the citizenship application fee be waived?
Yes, in some cases, the citizenship application fee can be waived. For example, if you are 75 or older, you will only have to pay the biometrics fee.