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Becoming a U.S. Citizen is the goal of many people. Aside from all the regulations involved in this process, there are also costs. The cost to become a US citizen can vary if you use the help of an expert, lawyer, or organization. However, if you are going through this process on your own and you want to understand the fees and costs, here’s the answer to your burning question: how much does it cost to become a US citizen!
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How Much Does It Cost to Become a US Citizen?
It will cost $725 to become a US Citizen based on the current rates that are being offered. This is done as part of the naturalization process, and almost all potential citizens will be responsible for the same $725.
There are, however, a few exceptions where people will have a bit less to pay for their citizenship process. We will get into those exceptions later in this article.
As part of the Form N-400 that you fill out when you are applying to become a citizen, you will see that there are fees associated with the paperwork. The two fees are the application fee and the fee for biometric services. These two fees combine to give you the total $725 fee to become a citizen.
The larger of these two fees is the application fee. This is going to be $640, and the biometric service fee is $85. When you submit your application for citizenship, you will put all the fees together and send them in as one payment.
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What Is the Application Fee For?
When you pay your $640 for the application for citizenship, you are mostly paying for the time that it will take to process your application. As you are likely well aware, this process can be time consuming, and there are many steps that need to be followed. When you submit your final application, you will have to ensure that it is accurate and all paperwork is included.
Then a government employee is going to review the application and decide whether or not you have been granted citizenship in the United States. The application is what will eventually make you a citizen, and for that reason, it is a fee you won’t be able to avoid.
What Is the Biometric Service Fee?
The biometric service fee is the price you pay for photographing and fingerprinting. Biometric services deal with putting together a file on a person that makes them unique and shows who they are for future identification and reference.
The service fee associated with this will help to complete these services and allow for your application to be final.
How Can You Pay These Fees?
As we have mentioned, you will have a hard time getting out of paying the fees for becoming a US Citizen. If you submit your application without the payment, it will be denied. There are four ways to pay these fees: check, money order, credit cards, or debit cards.
Take a look at the form and make sure that there are no fees associated with using a credit card. Since a portion of this money is usually taken from the end-user, there are very often fees associated with credit cards.
Remember that if you are using someone to help you complete your citizenship application, you must ensure that they include the cost of the application in their total costs to you. The last thing you want to find out is that the application fee will be paid out on top of what you have already paid.
Exemptions to Citizenship Costs
There are very few exemptions to the cost of becoming a citizen. People applying for US Citizenship based on their military service will be allowed to waive the application fee and the biometrics fees.
This is really the only full exemption to the cost to become a US Citizen. Certainly, the time, effort, and sacrifice that the military personnel has put in are enough to earn them this exemption from the citizenship costs on the application.
There is one other potential exemption, but this is only for the biometrics fee. For those that are 75 years and older, the biometric fee is not necessary. This means that the total application price will be $640 as opposed to $725.
There are some income-based fee waivers and reductions, but they are typically not for the full amount of the citizenship costs. You will have to check the fee waiver schedule and determine if you qualify; this can be where having a representative could help you negotiate the fees.
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What if I Can’t Afford the Fees to Become a Citizen?
Unfortunately, the application cost is one thing that keeps many people from delaying their citizenship application. Since the fees can be a lot for some people to afford, many people will find a way to finance them.
The problem with financing the citizenship fees is that there will be interest associated with this. Be very careful of the interest rates and ensure that you are not putting yourself into a difficult situation by financing your fees to become a citizen.
Tips for Making Citizenship Application Payment
Now that you have a general idea of the costs associated with these payments let’s look at some of the best tips for making that application payment. Ensuring that you do this right the first time will help prevent your application being sent back to you.
One Method of Payment
When you pay for your fees on your application, you must use one payment method to cover the entire cost. You will not use a check for part of it and the money order for another. Ensure that you are only trying to pay with one payment type, or it will not be accepted.
Multiple Applications at Once
When submitting an entire family application, you must use the same payment method for all people in the family. If you are applying in addition to your children, make sure that you use one money order or bank check to ensure that the fees are appropriately processed.
If your payment is not an exact amount, it will very likely not be accepted. Remember to look at the application and pay the fees exactly. If the amount owed is $725, you will have to pay exactly $725. Even if the amount you include is higher than the amount you owe, it will still not be accepted.
Correct Name on Check
Always read the application very closely and make your money order or personal check out to the proper name. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is what the checks should be made out to. If you abbreviate this name or misspell it, your entire application will be returned.
Check the application and look for the exact directions of who the check should be made out to. Bring this with you to the bank and let the bank employee know what you are trying to do. They can ensure that the checks are made out correctly according to the directions on the application.
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The Bottom Line
Hopefully, you now feel that you have a better idea of what this citizenship project will cost. Remember that if you are having someone help you with this process, you will have to ensure that the fees for the application are included in their total costs. Although this $725 is a one-time cost, it is a significant amount to have to pay.